I had a real treat this weekend – Grace came to visit from the US! She was in the UK for work and I persuaded her to get on a train and come and stay for the weekend! We bought a guest bed and some bedding, I pored over maps to plan running routes and, as a master stroke, Grace booked an early enough train that she would get into Swindon at 8.30 so she, the Dude and I could do Swindon parkrun. We basked in the knowledge of our own genius.
Until 2am on Saturday morning when my Dude was sick. And then again at 6.30am.
I picked Grace up at the station on a rainy, cold morning and told her the news. The Dude sat sadly in the back seat. We were totally happy to take Grace to parkrun anyway and hang out in the cafe but she pointed out that running in the rain with strangers wasn’t much fun.So we came home, put the Dude back to bed and sat in the kitchen, drinking tea, eating snacks and catching up. Grace had brought good American food that I miss…pumpkin spice coffee, people!…and that made me very very happy.
Later that day, when the Dude had made the miraculous recovery that 7-year-olds make, we went into Marlborough for lunch and an exploration. And when the Husband got back from his epic bike ride in Surrey, we snuck out for a quick run. It was getting dark, the sunset was lovely and we padded along chatting for a 3-mile out and back. As we ran home, we saw a running lady up ahead. ‘We should catch her so I can make a running friend’, I told Grace. Grace charged ahead like a beast, I could barely keep up. We did catch the lady and have a chat so we did well.
That evening, we took Grace to her first British bonfire night in Marlborough. Bonfire, sparklers, hot chocolate and quirky British history.
The next morning, she and I were up early to go for a run before I took her back to the station. We headed out into the beautiful morning – it was absolutely freezing but bright and sunny, we really struck gold with the weather. We ran up the hill and up a new trail into the West Woods, which were golden and peaceful in the early morning.
We headed along a new trail which is part of the White Horse Way. It was an absolute mud-pit, so progress was slow…..
From there, we joined the Mid-Wilts Way up along the ridge with those gorgeous views over Pewsey Downs. The running was easier now and we ran through fields of sheep that scattered as we ran.
As we approached Walkers Hill, we found the final field full of cows. We are both very nervous of cows, so we treated them like bears…talk loudly and calmly, move slowly around them, give them a wide berth. We both breathed a sigh of relief as we passed them and ran on.
We finished on the road, to ensure we got back in time…and then, after breakfast, I drove Grace back to the station and hugged her goodbye.
It was so flipping good to see her and to have a running visitor. I’ve talked a lot about missing my running friends, so you can imagine how good it felt to run with someone, to chat, point things out, share my new trails! Thanks for coming to stay, Ms Grace. You cheered this girl up enormously.