Friday, 7 December 2012

Portstewart Strand in the Gloom

The greyness of the the sky was already melding into the Stygian darkness of the sea when I pulled up at Portstewart strand. At the far end of the beach the red navigation light at the mouth of the Bann flashed its regular warning. Beyond that I could just make out the pimple on the skyline that was the Earl Bishop's Mussenden Temple. The tide was out and for the moment the waves lolled idly, waiting for their lunar command to move landwards once more. Stretching along the beach like a ragged garland was the spume left by the retreating tide. A slightly melancholy scene.

Viewing this meeting of land and sea would not help me complete my training run. Not having changed into my running kit before leaving home I how had to complete this task within the rather limited confines of my car. I have become quite adept at this over the years, so much so that I am sure that Harry H would have regarded me as a worthy successor. While completing my yoga inspired manoeuvres  I espied a very strange looking cove commencing his run up the beach.

I have to concede that runners tend not to be known for the sartorial elegance of their running gear, but there is what might be described as an accepted and acceptable code of dress. This bunioneer had however developed his own very idiosyncratic style. He had one of those rather silly looking faux fur hats with ear flaps planted on his head. The bobble on the top did not improve the look. His lower body was encased in blue shell suit bottoms the legs of which he had tucked into dark brown, knee length socks. Maybe he adopted a similar garb for cycling, eschewing the use of bicycle clips I mused. As for his footwear it could best be described as solid, - very solid. I hadn't realised that you could purchase leather running shoes modelled on the hobnail boot, but the evidence was now in front of me. His jacket  was I think constructed of canvas, perhaps purchased at the closing down sale of the last Army & Navy Store. The overall look was not good. His running action was little better. His legs only moved from the knee down. It was as if the gusset of his shell suit bottoms was wallowing between his knees. As for his arms these were held rigidly in front of his chest. His back was ramrod straight. There was no fluidity of movement. He was moving, but contrary to all of the principles of forward motion. It did not take me long to overhaul him.

About half way up the beach I came upon two fishermen. They had their fishing rods propped up on tripods and they were busily sucking on their cigarettes. They stamped their feet trying to ward off the coldness of the gloom. At the end of each of their rods was a small red light. From a distance it looked like a gathering  of glow worms. They were still engaged in their lonely vigil on my return. The other runner was however no where to be seen. Perhaps he had become embarrassed by his appearance ? I suspect not. A look like his could only have been developed after deep deliberation.  One could see that he revelled in it. Three people had seen him and his ,"get up." Thus sated he had cut short his exercise and drifted homewards.

I arrived back at the car with  just under thirty minutes on the clock so taking to the roads I headed towards the promenade and completed a lap which took me round the outskirts of the town.  That done I also drifted homewards.

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