Last week my daughter and I went to Aden park for a training run in the rain. That was when I looked back at my childhood, running in completely different circumstances during the 1970's. Summer holidays were spent outside from morning till night playing the usual games that kept kids fit - football, cricket, hide & seek etc. but a few other activities meant you had to be quick on your feet.
Back then it was popular for gardeners to grow fruit and vegetables in their gardens, patiently waiting for the crops to mature. Unfortunately for them, so were the kids of the neighbourhood who knew exactly when to strike like a plague of locusts. Pea pods and strawberries were highest on the hit list. Some gardeners could be particularly vigilant, turning a well planned raid into a scattered run across the gardens.
The local golf course sometimes required a speedy getaway. The dogleg seventh hole meant players had to hit a blind shot down the fairway. They would play what would be a prefect shot, only to arrive at the area and find nothing there. Golfers new to the course would search for a wee while before giving up and using a new ball but the local and wiser golfers knew about the bermuda triangle that was hole seven. They were the furious ones that would chase kids off the golf course, no questions asked.
Crop fields provided a past time where alien circles were replicated in ripe wheat. Rumours of farmers with dogs and shot guns heightened the senses where even the sound of a barking dog, any barking dog would stop the flattening and start the fleeing.
As well as the added strain on the "grow your own" gardeners, back yard camping meant there was more bounty to be had, delivered to doorsteps all round the neighbourhood. Not so much fast running required this time but silence and stealth to gather milk, orange juice and yogurt.
Ive taken a leisurely run through the area of my upbringing a couple of times lately with a tinge of sadness. The streets are quiet, play park empty, usually no-one to be seen. It's not the same bustling neighbourhood I remember as a child. Sure, if you can be bothered growing your own produce you'll probably reap the whole crop. If you hit a blinder of a shot at hole 7 your ball will be there waiting for you. The farmer will harvest the whole field of wheat and milk is bought in plastic cartons from the supermarket, the doorstep delivery is long gone.
If you come across someone running round the roads of Deershire, you'll know he's being pursued, chased by the memories of his childhood.
Wed 8 miles Thurs 6 miles Sun 12 miles Weekly total 26 miles.