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Thread: Nine standards 2019

  1. #11
    Nine Standards fell race.

    There’s nothing like starting the new year with a fell race...I can’t think of anything I’d enjoy more. It’s a trip up north to the small Cumbrian market town of Kirkby Stephen for myself and teammate Bill. Whereas my better half headed south with her friend Angela to participate in back-to-back parkruns. Alison said “we’re Fishwicking”. I could feel myself gushing with pride, my wife has caught the running bug! So much so, we didn’t even go out drinking with friends the night before.

    A typical New Year’s Eve...way-back-when.

    I’m in my mates kitchen surveying the impressive food spread. The avocado hummus is my dip of choice, it compliments the finely chopped carrot sticks. I swear I’m sticking my little finger in the air whilst raising my glass...I’ve gone all posh like. I congratulate my mate on the spread, he takes full credit, saying he spent ages preparing the carrots. His wife catches the end of our conversation and calls her husband a “big fibber” and tells me he’s “full of shit”. My mate has been rumbled and sheepishly walks off.

    I’m left dipping the hummus with a complete stranger. The guy in question has a daughter who attends tap dancing classes with my mates I’m later informed. We start engaging in some small talk and he introduces himself as Stanley, but says his friends call him Stan. I decide to call him Stanley as we’ve only just been acquainted and I feel calling him Stan could be considered presumptuous. He tells me he’s a dentist by profession with a better than average golf handicap. I find it strange that he mentions his golfing prowess within his initial introduction.

    It soon becomes apparent that try as I might, Stanley the dentist isn’t going to talk about anything else other than his golfing escapades. I even try and change the conversation towards dentistry but feel like I’m the one pulling teeth. I’m soon bored shitless with his relentless golf spiel. It’s become impossible for me to simulate an appearance of interest. I can’t keep the masquerade up any longer, I make my excuses and leave him at the nineteenth hole.

    I go in search of Alison and bump into my mate. I tell him I’ve met Stanley, my mate informs me about the tap dancing connection. He then asked me if Stanley had mentioned that he plays golf...we both burst out laughing.

    I find Alison, she looks uncomfortable, well and truly out of her comfort zone. It’s karaoke hell in the conservatory with the ladies belting out Wannabe by the Spice Girls. I don’t know which ‘Spice’ my beloved is portraying but her line is “slam your body down and wind it all around”. I feel given the circumstances (Alison’s more of a rock-chick) she sings her part with a demeanour that displays an air of dignity. I tell her my thoughts and call her ‘Old Spice’...she threatens to slam MY body down.

    At the stroke of midnight we’ve all gathered in the garden to sing Auld Lang Syne. We all join hands and form a circle. I’ve got Stanley to my left and Alison to my right, she’s lost her voice...girl power my arse. I noticed that my newly acquired golf buddy had really rough hands, reminiscent of builders hands, certainly not hands you’d associate with a dentist. “Blimey how much golf does he actually play?” what I’m thinking. I don’t ask, even though I feel Stanley would take great pleasure in telling me.

    We walked home that night, Alison was sick on our drive, I walked dog shit into the hallway. I suppose you could say it was an alternative to a piece of coal...muck for luck. Looking back, we don’t miss going out on New Year’s Eve.

    I had a brainwave this New Year’s Eve:

    Nellie our border terrier takes priority. She’s petrified of fireworks and keeping her calm is all that matters. I’d hatched a plan that involved playing heavy metal at volume to drown out the fireworks. Nellie likes rock music, she never flinches when I’m playing some metal. Just before midnight I cranked up the volume (Reign in Blood by Slayer being the album of choice) and went outside to make sure we’re not being noisy neighbours. Game on, our home is displaying excellent soundproofing. Back inside I excitedly tell Alison the good news but she’s got her hands covering her ears and shouts “please turn this shit off”. No more metal it is...we resort to taking shifts covering Nellie’s ears. We finally get to sleep at 4 am.

    New Year’s Day:

    Alison gets her first surprise of the year when she notices me sniffing my underpants...she’s inquisitive. I explained that I’m doing my bit for the environment as Sir David Attenborough says climate change is humanity’s greatest threat. So I’m going to produce less washing and therefore I’ll be saving energy. I’ll Febreze items of clothing that I’d otherwise just place in the washing machine. Alison ponders for awhile and says “Febreze comes in a plastic bottle so you’re being hypocritical as well as bloody stupid”. Alison has a point, I drop my underwear in the washing truth my decision is swayed when she says “change your kecks or start sleeping alone in the spare room”. I submitted, but it was the thought that counts.

    A work colleague once had a disagreement with his wife regarding the washing machine. She’d refused to do his washing as he’d not kept his promise of re-grouting their bathroom. He didn’t know how to use the washing machine so he removed the door. If his washing wasn’t being done then neither was his wife’s. After a few days they reached a compromise. They re-grouted the bathroom together, he replaced the washer door and they now share washing duties after he was shown how to use it. He says they work great has a team. I don’t believe him as recently I’ve noticed his shirts are looking unironed...I look forward to his explanation.

    In Kirkby Stephen my black and white Chorley bob hat was riling the Sunderland football fans as they made their way through town on route to their teams game at Blackpool. I’m presuming I’d been mistaken for a supporter of their rivals Newcastle united. Watching the ‘mackems’ gesticulating towards me was quite amusing, some were literally frothing at the mouth whilst banging on their coach windows. It made me realise why I’d lost heart in football.

    Nine Standards fell race is a straight there and back. It’s got more tarmac than I’m comfortable with but at least the black stuff is undulating. It’s possible to run the full 4 miles of ascent up to the summit. This year we’re rewarded with views of the magnificent nine cairns that adorn the summit plateau, they’re an amazing spectacle. It feels wrong to turn around for the fast 4 mile descent without first fully appreciating the splendour that’s in attendance...but this is a race and needs must.

    Thanks to all concerned...what a great way to spend the opening day of 2019.

    When home Alison says we’ve been invited for a few drinks around at our friends. Writing this ‘race-report’ had brought back memories of Stanley. I asked my mate if he still sees Stanley?...Apparently he’s not seen him in years, he got bored shitless with his relentless golf speil.

    There’s probably been times during 2018 when you’ve been reading my ‘race-reports’ and I’ve annoyed you, disturbed you, irritated you and bugged the hell out of I just want to say I plan to continue in 2019.

    All the best for the new year...happy running one and all.
    Last edited by Tindersticks; 03-01-2019 at 01:45 PM.
    Darren Fishwick, Chorley.

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