Paul’s Blog – A Locked Down Story

I am sure that we have all had a very unusual last 4 months or so & I do understand that many have suffered more than me & Dorina during these difficult times so please accept this blog as simply Dorina’s & my lockdown life for what little it is worth.

Our lockdown started on 23rd March, my 54th Birthday, what a present when only days earlier I thought I would be completing the 2nd day of a planned ‘Slate Trail’ run. I did wake to read a very sympathetic e-mail from Andy Smith encouraging me to get the hurt out of my system & go for an early morning run. Better late than never I had earlier dragged myself out of bed (mid-morning rather than early) & went for that run, it helped a bit as did a pleasant day with Dorina but in truth my head was still spinning at what had happened to us over the previous weekend.

Tuesday to Friday followed, runs were promised & missed as I overdid the Chain Saw, Log Splitter & Log Stacking leaving me simply too knackered to follow these up with those promised runs. Something needed to change, Saturday needed to be different, it wasn’t rocket science, simply run first, garden (i.e. Wood piles) second, a routine was born.

Early memories of the Lockdown are vague in their timings but clear in my feelings: Those hauntingly quiet roads, weekly shops at Porthmadog with the few people seen walking around in visible shock & fear felt almost post-apocalyptic, thoughts of how have we come to this, thank ‘god’ at least for Coed y Brenin’s empty trails & for the weather.

Our routine was simple, Dorina would rise for a coffee before cooking poached eggs on toast for a lazier me. Then I’d go for a run with or without Dorina & upon returning I’d re-fuel with Dorina’s homemade Crumbles & cream (my first lockdown bonus) before a morning session working on the logs whilst Dorina set to work on our Veg. garden. Lunch was Sourdough toast with my homemade Wild Garlic Butter (my second bonus of Lockdown) & Cheese, Dorina’s lunchtime menu was a bit more varied than mine.

Afternoons passed quickly, log piles for me (one day hitting 70 Wheelbarrow loads split & stacked, a sad statistic I know), sowing & reaping for Dorina (well Digging, Weeding………. you get my drift). 

Next I’d cook the evening meal, fish began to dominate as I decided to support Simon our Porthmadog fishmonger as best we could (visit his shop on a Tuesday or Friday & you won’t be disappointed I promise). Wine would flow (here I would trounce Dorina) & books be read before retiring to bed.

Every Sunday I would take Dorina for a long run having earlier recced new routes & paths. It was a delight to both show her the vastness of the CyB, it’s views whilst quickly increasing her capacity to run longer distances over hilly terrain.

Quickly the weeks passed, book reading crept into our Log Piles & Gardening as we began to chill more & more. We’d seen late winter bloom into Spring, swapped photo’s of flowers with friends (Judy always a step ahead) & Spring melted into summer.

It wasn’t of course all bliss, occasional visits to the Cafe for paperwork, payments & cashflow monitoring would bring us back to reality but we snapped back to our ideal with surprising ease, problems could wait for another day.

A chance meeting with Ginger, Paul & team Alfa whilst on one morning run would break my ideal, it was time to break out of my trance & plan the Cafe’s re-opening.

Slowly we moved out of Lockdown but those initial two months were special in a most un-expected way.

We have now been open for over a week, it has been great to see so many familiar & friendly faces, my opinions are pleasingly not alone, that feels good despite the worrying times ahead.

Dorina’s last long run topped out at over 24K with nearly 1,000 metres of ascent. Despite all medical advice, my complete lack of common sense  has seen me clock up 114 Days of consecutive running enough to get me to Chamonix & then run the Tour du Mont Blanc, Steve where has a year gone? My left Achilles is not happy & hasn’t been for 2 months but to get me through Lockdown it just has to put up with it’s owner.

The Karokorum & G2 is now for 2021 not 2020 but what’s in a year when in truth 2020 has given Dorina & me far more than it has taken away.

So thank you to my Angel, I wasn’t always easy to live with but did improve (I think) when I turned the BBC off in week 2. It was Angel who allowed me to serve her with Monkfish & TEN vegetables from the garden last Wednesday, put simply, life doesn’t get much better than that.

Many other highlights can go un-mentioned but ten Deer sightings & being led along a forest trail by a very Cocky Buzzard are among the best.

Despite the Achilles I am about to announce my charity run for Reach Out for Nepal planned for 7th/8th August, please watch this space there will be something in it for the runners among you.

Finally thank you to Iain & Andy for your moral support throughout the last 17 weeks, though it ‘hurts’ me to admit it Iain, no sorry can’t go quite that far!


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