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some days you are totally alone and the world colours in your eyes

and shows you how beautiful it can be.

I had to do a long run today.  Tomorrow, you see, I’m off to Silverstone to (unofficially cheer on Spartans who I would have run with on Sunday) officially cheer on ‘The Rontec Runners’ at the racetrack as they raise money for RNIB: in case you’re feeling philanthropic and supportive.

What? I’m a fundraiser. What did you expect?

So, I had to run today. Or deal with long-run-envy. (If you’re a runner you’ll understand. It’s not a good thing).

4.20pm. Off I trot from Hertford Tesco towards Ware. On the way out there’s a downy adolescent swan opposite the party house where I used to live. Just before the loch, a couple of cocky yellow legged moor-hens kamikaze across my path. At St Margaret’s a stone heron comes to life and makes a lazy weekend swoop to the other bank. A pair of Canadian geese (only know they’re Canadian because my friend Charlie hates them) honk back-pats at the three lads who’ve landed a half a metre long, 40cm fat, fish.

Gorgeous river perched homes with jetties and slopey gardens dotted with careless deckchairs; adorable little writing rooms jut into the river just ahead of the road-cross at Ware; colourful canal boats ‘Whisper’ and ‘Elusive’ and ‘Lucky Lady’ are quiet inside, occupiers cat napping behind lace effect “curtain” doilies (how long the efforts to find the perfect circumference?). Here that smoke smell reminds you of first ever brownie camp. Reckon that little black chimney breathes enough air inside for warm and cosy?

One day I will live next to the river. Feels like home.

Never predicted I’d be tied to here. More people know me in this spot than anywhere else on earth. “Hello Dawn” from the hood of the guy who I used to live next door to, as he cycles past with his pretty young thing blonde girlfriend. He told me about her on a surprise sit together on a train journey to Seven Sisters a few months ago.

An odd bright orange bubble boat (kind of looks like the canal version of a life boat?!) becomes my 6.5 mile marker. Stop and about-turn: at The Rye House pub.

Sun’s already sinking. Abandon the semi-formed-plan to visit my friends and baby-koala as I run past Stansted Abbotts. (Not a real baby-koala, obviously, but the two of them are collectively know amongst my group of friends as “the koalas” so naturally the new arrival – real name George – is “baby-koala”). Can’t quite work out how to get to their house from the river anyway.

Then… bamm


It’s rosy and mauve and tangerine and its reflection aches back in silky ripples. Shadows from the trees on the other bank chevron across stretches of colour daubed in crayola scrapes (every shade from that giant-loooong-crayon-tin in your 80s childhood). Noises gurgle up from my stomach and make it all the way up and out of my mouth. It doesn’t matter. I’m the only one.

It dips a bit further and dabs the surface at this left-bend with smudges of glow-warm. The island in the cow field pool is surrounded by a wide rim of polished pinky glass. I’m at the open-wide stretch between the flyover and Hertford now and turn my body around on my toes mid-stride: no one else. It’s a film-whoop moment. Rude not to. Everyone should whoop at the sky at some point in their life right?

“Whoop whoop” echoes back. Wonder if they heard me in the house across the way. Would they bother to rouse from the warm fireplace to look out the window? Do they see a curly-ponytail-girl grinning like a loon and holding her arms out like wings as she spins at the sky?

A moorhen squeaks back a reply. “Hear hear…hear hear…….hear…..hear”

It’s a little offering. Only for me. Purer because of it. No camera. No phone. Just me and the world. Generously reaching for my hand. You know those hand-hold moments? When your stomach lurches and the pull goes deep into the core-pit of your stomach.  Yep, that.

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