Thursday, 27 January 2011

Being ill.

I properly hate being ill. It's like someone's hit the pause button on your life and you disappear into a weird shadow world where nothing happens except discomfort and sickness and endless parades of expelled mucus of varying shades, colours and consistencies.

And of course I'm not 'really' ill. I just have a particularly nasty cold - and to be fair, it's the first really brutal once since, oh, November 2008 or something, so I can't complain. But I hate the feeling of life rushing by outside as some poxy, microscopic virus pins you to the sofa just hacks me off.

And what does the virus get out of it? Does it multiply to the point where it can read great novels or watch classic cinema? Does it feck, it simply lurks around your breathing passages generating mucus and slyly hoping to get passed on to other victims. Oh, and watches crap satellite TV by proxy because I feel too weak to turn the pages of a book - even Feet In The Clouds, which I'm starting to think is somewhat over-rated and driven by misguided 'soft southern envy of mythical 'ard northern fell runner' stuff.

'Archie Wells was brought up on a hill farm on the highest point of Helvellyn. He grew up sleeping behind dry stone walls with sheep for warmth and ran, off road every day to Ambleside and back to go to school. Except on Sunday when, for a change, he'd run to Penrith for the Sunday service then back again via Kendal where he bought a Sunday paper for his ma....

'At the age of 14, Archie won his class at the classic Tilberthwaite Sheep Dip race, but was disqualified for being a professional on account of once having been given half a Mars Bar for finishing a minor junior's race in Borrowdale...'

'These days Archie is a compact, wiry fellow who lives in a dark, cave near Ireby. As he answers the door, you can see the fire in his eyes is still undiminished, and when he brews a cup of tea for me, it's served up in the 1954 Champion of Champions Muckthwaite Fell Cup...

And so it goes on. All you really need to know is that all the historical runners in the book are ridiculously hard and that part of the reason is that they've never really thought much about what they were doing.

Unlike the author, who as a reaction to living in over-crowded, polluted, urban insanity, somewhere seems to have formed the idea of becoming one of them. Which is fair enough, but it's starting to grate. I know legendary fell runners are massively hard. I know that fell running is a daft, nigh on insane sport and what I want to know is WHY?

But that's the question that never gets asked. The 'what are you running away from?' question, if that's what it is...

Yes, being ill makes me grumpy.


  1. I suspect asking why would be enough to get the author a good shoeing. I've seen a few around the hills and they generally don't seem the chatty type.

    Oh, and I am currently ill/grumpy too. But I don't have satellite TV...

  2. I can thoroughly recommend satellite TV when ill - if you're drifting in and out of coherent thought, endless re-runs of low-rent US comedy staples combined with predictable schmaltzy rom-coms suddenly make an awful lot of sense.

    Of course, if I were a hard northern fell runner, I'd simply ignore the thing and take off on a nocturnal circuit of the Bob Graham with only my whippet for company etc...