Thursday, August 25, 2005

A view from my balcony Posted by Picasa

A summer day to live in memory

In April I boasted about getting into a habit of going for a run most mornings, which I slid out of around May Week and the following rush of family visitors. Recently, with the aid of friendly neighbour K, I’ve been running again. Usually about 2 km.

Most mornings we aim to head out at 8.30, if we’re going, and check if the other wants to come. Rigorous experimentation has now proved we run further and faster with a buddy: not in any competitive spirit, just coz it’s more fun.

This has usually been followed with breakfast at the kitchen-across-the-way. I’m the only resident left in the kitchen in my four-room corner, while the “flat” opposite mine is more inhabited. The habit of breakfast with the neighbours resulted from my fondness for stovetop-made coffee and microwave porridge. My kitchen lacks a microwave, and for a while the stove stopped working. So what commenced as necessity has become a pleasant ritual.

Last Wednesday morning, though, was a little more solitary. I headed out for a run with only the solace of the iPod. A neighbour passed through at breakfast but lacked time to linger.

I got in a couple of decent hours work, and decided to go read articles on my balcony. Shortly before noon the Ruminator called to catch up and discuss details of her impending visit. Lovely. Another call or two back home seemed in order while I was at the phone.

Then, with two hours work under my belt, my resolve cracked. It was 27c outside. The sky was cloudless blue. It was one of those rare days in England worthy of the name “Summer”, one of those moments when the sunlight goes straight to your head, erases the trauma of a grey five-month Winter, and makes you think maybe Ol’ Blighty ain’t so bad after all.

Fortunately, an excuse to abandon work was at hand. Neighbour K and I had an appointment with the Jesus Green outdoor pool. Jesus Green is a devastatingly pretty park, especially when cycling to the pool you pass over the lock.

We swam briefly in bitingly cold water until the blood began to stir and it wasn’t so bad. After a brief bout of exercise, we flopped in the sun and chatted, dipped again and after a pleasant couple of hours headed home for a snack.

For “snack” read “gin and tonic on the balcony”. Another neighbour brought us corn and avocado salad for dinner.

Graduate student life, it’s a tough game.

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