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Dogs and tricks
12 November 2020 18:41


So, I may have to do a sudden trip to a northern town in December to repatriate Youngest Child. Universities are being told to send all students home between 3 and 9 December (subject to negative Covid-19 test results) and, to prevent overloading the cities with parents, some institutions may allocate particular go-home days to students. We were hoping that we would be able to do the northern trip over a weekend or, better still, she could come home by train – but advice is also to avoid public transport.

We will see what turns out. Youngest Child probably isn’t even aware of the repatriation window yet, as she doesn’t pay much attention to national news – I suppose I didn’t at that age.

Youngest Child is catering for the fact that my trusty and simple retro-phone doesn’t do emojis – or when it does, I can’t work out what they are. If she sends a message with an emoji, she follows it with a second text to explain what the emoji is. Who knew there is a “nervous laughter” emoji? Sometimes she doesn’t bother with the emoji at all and just finishes with “(thumbs up emoji)”, or similar.

She sent me a link to a website that contains a list of emojis, but I explained that my phone doesn’t do internet. “You can always type it out on a computer, but it’s pretty easy to find via googling ‘list of emoticons’” I was told. Which pretty much told me. Followed up by “They’re pretty easy to use, once you get used to them, and you can always google if unsure” which is advice to file in the “reassuring advice given to old dog when trying to teach it new tricks” folder.

New lockdown in England which, I have to say, doesn’t appear to be affecting us too greatly as we had no plans to go anywhere anyway. I suppose Christmas shopping might be a bit of a mad dash in December but hey, if COVID-19 means we don’t get to see anyone over Christmas, it doesn’t really matter if we don’t buy their gifts until the new year. I did joke to Mrs B that we will be so unaffected by the lockdown that maybe we will forget it is on, plan go shopping one weekend and find the shops all closed!

At least running isn’t affected. We are keeping up with our regular Saturday morning notparkruns, plus two or three other evenings during the week. Either all this running is having the desired effect on our muscles, or there is something about the autumn climate that makes it easier to run, because we have both been running a lot more quickly – up to 90 seconds faster over 5 km.

We ‘ve entered a few virtual runs, where you run the distance, but on your own route and at your own time. This month are doing a baker’s dozen challenge – 13 runs in the month. The Airport Runway medal was awesome (usually you run on Southampton Airport runway at stupid o’clock in the morning, before it opens). Complete with a moving plane on the medal, and a runway on the lanyard!

We ran a 10-km one morning. I did 15 km in the time it took Mrs B to run 10 km (the route finished with a lap of the park; I just kept on doing laps until she arrived), but we worked out later that the difference was caused by our pace length. We took the same number of steps to cover our respective distances, which mush show that Mrs B’s stride is 2/3 the length of mine, and really, she has put in just as much effort.

On Halloween Day we wore fancy dress for our nonparkrun – I was in a skeleton costume. Luckily, we were running with a minister of religion (the one who married us) so were kept safe from ghosts and ghouls. And on 22 August (tutu day – get it?) we wore tutus, as per parkrun tradition. Imagine our surprise when we appeared in the weekly national parkrun news email! Fame at last! The following weekend someone ran past and said she had seen our photo – she didn’t stop and ask for an autograph, though!

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