Posts Tagged ‘dark’

Running in the Dark (or A Man and His Dog)

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Every weekday my alarm goes off at 6.10am, the BOOPITY-BOOP! BOOPITY-BOOP! BOOPITY-BOOP! jolting me from my comfort as I thump blindly at my bedside table – evil noise, go away. For five minutes I lie in bed with my eyes closed, my two inner beings having a fist fight and screaming match in my head. Lazy, relaxed Jess thinks lying in is good for me and that I could really do with some extra sleep. Strict, demanding Jess has higher expectations and is insistent that now is the time to get up and go for a run. This second Jess always wins due to copious amounts of guilt, threats of weight gain and promises that the more I run, the more cake I can consume. FINE.

It is DARK in Manchester at 6.10am. The sun currently doesn’t rise above the horizon until 8.22am so I have been for my run, had a shower, eaten breakfast and am leaving for work by the time the sun gets up. There are a few issues with running in the dark:

  1. You can’t see puddles. Manchester footpaths are notoriously bad for pot holes, sloping pavement tiles and for just being generally shocking. If it rains (which it always does) massive puddles form across the footpaths and when there’s no light around they are are particularly difficult to spot. This means you are guaranteed wet and therefore frozen feet by the time you return home.
  2. Your chances of being murdered are greatly increased. Don’t start panicking yet, Mum, but Manchester doesn’t have the greatest reputation for safety. There are a few oddballs and weirdos who like doing things to people in the many dark and dingy streets of the city. This means that I stick to main roads that are well lit and frequented by lots of people and cars and my running routes are therefore really, really boring. I much prefer my summer run that takes me along the canal where I can see water and rowers and evil Canadian geese. I need to devise some more interesting running routes throughout the city but Manchester is so small that it seems like I am back at home before I have even started.
  3. Sleeping when it is dark is much better than being awake. Enough said.

Despite these drawbacks, I do feel much better after I have completed my 45 minute run and there are tears streaming down my face from the cold and I feel like I have been running against tempestuous winds for the entire time. Plus I now have a friend.

I have met this smiling man and his big, friendly dalmatian at the corner of my street and the main drag, Deansgate, three times now. The first time we crossed paths it was as if he was waiting for me – “HELLO!” he said. It felt like we were old friends. I had left the house in a sour mood, stressed by approaching Christmas tasks that I needed to perform and his greeting and enthusiasm at seeing me brightened my mood instantly. Now each time we meet, his dog comes over to have a sniff and say hello. “You can pat him!” said the man the last time we met. After I had explained my allergies to all things with fur, it was as if I had crushed his heart with my bare hands. “Well that’s awful! He is such a good dog! You poor thing!”

Our meetings are only brief – a hello, a how are you, and good wishes for the day. But that brief interaction is enough to bring pure delight to my day and make me run with a lighter step.

As Darkness Descends

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

It is dark outside, it must be dinner time. Oh no, wait a tick, it’s only 4.30pm.

Winter has well and truly arrived in the UK with biting winds, dropping temperatures and an extreme lack of sunlight. The sun set today at 4.12pm, which completely messes with my head and my stomach. For some reason, a lack of sunshine makes my stomach start gurgling and requesting an evening meal. It doesn’t appreciate or realise that it has only just eaten lunch and needs to wait another three hours before being fed. No wonder British supermarkets have such a large supply of snack options.

The leaves on trees throughout the city have been turning over the last few months, creating amazing colour displays in parks and along streets. The soggy accumulated leaves are less pleasant, particularly when they hide large puddles of water that your feet seem to be magnetically drawn to.

Red.

Even trees come in my favourite colour.

The Oddity of Time

Monday, October 31st, 2011

I have fond memories of pointless, rambling, never-ending conversations in my university cultural studies classes where we would discuss a topic of grandiose proportions, ducking and diving between ideas, concepts and beliefs. I used to love these discussions because they would take up the entire two hour class and we wouldn’t really have to do anything. The topics would range from the meaning of life; the impact of gender; religion; whether or not nudity was bad… Strange things, really. One topic of discussion that was quite frequently raised was the concept of time and space, and over the last two days I have had moments of “Time is a weird thing.” Let’s discuss.

In the wee hours of Sunday morning, France changed back into winter time. Before I went to sleep on Saturday night, I turned my clock back and instantly gained an hour! What surprised me was before I went to bed, I googled to see what time the the big all-knowing, official clock would actually change, and discovered that it depended entirely on what country I was in. There wasn’t a single hour where all clocks across Europe and America would shift. It was 3am for France and Germany but 1am for Greenland and some of Portugal. The rest of Portugal changed at 2am. Jordan changed their clocks last Friday. I then read a news article stating that Mr Cameron is contemplating setting Britain’s time to be the same as Central Europe. But England has Greenwich mean time! They can’t change! That would be weird because would Portugal and Spain change as well? How can humans fiddle with time so easily? I guess we invented the idea, so we can decide how it works.

We spent Sunday in a state similar to jet-lag. Now the sun is up at 7am (I could see where I was going this morning on my run) and it sets by 5.30pm. I wanted to eat dinner so much earlier than usual and I had to sit around and wait until it was an appropriate hour. By 4pm, it had started to get dark and I felt the urge to return home. Considering only a few weeks ago, we could sit outside in the sunshine until at least 8pm, this change is quite dramatic. My entire system is confused and I know it will take a few days to get back into a rhythm.

To push things even further, this time fluctuation has clearly played with my mind so much that not only did I gain an hour yesterday, but I appear to have gained a day today. I spent all of yesterday CERTAIN that it was the last day in October and that (Monday) would be the first day of November and I would therefore have to start writing my 50,000 words for Novel Writing Month. Not the case! The old 31st October has crept up on me and surprised me with ghouls and ghosts and pumpkins. Not that I mind. Any extra time is always welcome when long plane flights back to Perth are looming in the distance.