Thursday, 12 March 2009

I Only Wanted A Nice Pair of Plimsolls

The bitter March wind swirled amongst the gravestones, as three Black Watch pipers played the sad lament ‘The Flowers of the Forest’. I was charged with laying the wreath of poppies against the headstone, and then taking three paces smartly backwards and saluting.

Now, they teach you many things in the army. Marching. Saluting. Even marching and saluting at the same time. But marching backwards doesn’t seem to be in the curriculum. Added to the fact that it was the day after my latest little ‘training jaunt’, so could hardly bend my knees or move my hips – I came smartly into contact with an errant gravestone that somehow happened to be in my backwards path – and was only saved from falling by my old Company Sergeant Major. And he’s nearly eighty!

When I looked around, I was the youngest there. (We hold this little ceremony every March at the graveside of a Black Watch Victoria Cross winner, who was buried in a pauper’s grave in Chigwell Church. Something of trying to make amends, I suppose.)
At the obligatory beer-fest afterwards, all the old fogeys fell about laughing at the idea of me trying to run the Marathon.

‘We remember you, you coudnae run across the road!’, was one of the more hurtful comments, amongst many others. Very encouraging.

Then yesterday we had a marathon ‘strategy meeting’, planning the route and all that.
Silly me, I thought it was all done for us. But no, we have to decide where the ‘support team’ are going to be, what we’re all going to wear etc etc.

I was constantly chastised for not appearing to take it all seriously enough.

So, today I went to buy some running shoes. EIGHTY FIVE QUID !!

When they revived me, I said I’d only wanted a nice new pair of plimsolls – the sales assistant seemed bemused. Then they talked of special running shorts. Apparently, they have to made of something called ‘velour’* or whatever – it’s revoltingly shiny anyway. It stops ‘chafing’, they said.

Then there is another – ahem – somewhat embarrassing problem to be addressed.
Because we are likely to take around twelve hours to complete the course, there will, um, be a need to, er, ‘make oneself comfortable’.

“Doing a Paula Radcliffe” is apparently one solution.

I think that is quite enough detail for a Family Website – but I will clearly have to give it all some thought.

Jeremy Hulme

(*We think Jeremy means Lycra…but if he wants velour running shorts it can be arranged. Ed)

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