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Wednesday, 17 January 2007

DOVEDALE

My Lejog personal trainer & I leave the village before dawn. We do battle with the A14, the M1, and the A50. (That was just for the people who want to know stuff like that: Worryingly for Britain, there are a lot of us out there) It is pouring with rain. There are more Bulgarian trucks out today. My car passes them full of foreboding and suspicion.

But we arrive safely to have breakfast pasties and cream cakes at Ashbourne and soon we are heading up Dovedale at just past 10am.

It has stopped raining but the water is whooshing down the dale submerging the stepping stones. The car park is virtually empty and we meet only a few hardy elderly ramblers out for a stroll.

We arrive at the Spanish pub with the Japanese hound, just as it opens. Phil explains to me why he is so happy of late. Schadenfreude. He wakes in the morning at normal time and leans on his bedroom window sill and looks out. He sees his neighbours reversing their cars out of their drives, balletically, as they make their way to the office for a day of sweat and toil. Phil then goes back to bed for a snooze and awaits the Teasmaid’s best endeavours.

I have never seen him more relaxed.

Home cured salt-beef sandwiches and a bowl of excellently salty chips with Timothy Taylor’s Landlord. Splendid.

We exit the pub and brave cold winds and head off to the next dale. The day is glorious. We pass ruined halls and ruinous caravan parks and make it safely back to the Izaac Walton Hotel for two huge afternoon teas, that we barely finish.

This is what I call training. 10.7 miles.

(And for those that feel compelled to know, the new boots have now completed 165 miles.)

There, that’s better. Now, relax…

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