Year of the Rat

On a morning from a Bogart movie
In a country where they turn back time
You go strolling through the crowd like Peter Lorre
Contemplating a crime

She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running
Like a watercolor in the rain
Don’t bother asking for explanations
She’ll just tell you that she came

In the year of the rat

2020 is the Chinese year of the rat. Makes sense now doesn’t it thanks to the Wuhan clan.

The year started with great expectations but it was to be a Dickens of a job to eventually for fill them.

As usual Christmas 2019 for me was filled with illness and a visit from our paramedics. High temperature, shallow breathing, coughing and lethargy. Things didn’t click until a couple of months later. Had I suffered something greater than my usual chest infection/pneumonia?

The months carried on like a watercolour running in the rain, literally. Well, I was running of sorts and trying to put my best foot forward for The Grizzly at Seaton, Devon in early March. A race I desperately wanted to run and complete but we had storm after storm after storm. The UK was rocked by Storms Brendan, Ciara, Dennis and Jorge.

The race carried iconic status from my Tewkesbury running days of 20 plus years previous. A near 20 miles of the most hideous fell and trail running in the South West but with the most beautiful views and scenery. I had ran the Cub, a mere 9 miles the previous year, and now I was desperate to challenge myself to the full distance. It would be a good marker to my ability to run another full marathon as well.

We all put in great performances considering the terrible conditions, especially Matt Powell and Ian Waude. Tracey Thomas had trained so hard and was running so well so it was a real shame she wasn’t able to convert to the performance she deserved and then go on the smash the Spring races. The mud was more than ankle deep in many places and I’ve never wanted to curl up and die so many times in a race before. It was brilliant. That pint or two that we stopped for on the way home was the most delicious I’ve tasted.

Our AGM was maybe a week or two earlier than this and the electorate voted me as captain and my die was cast for the the year. And, what a year!?!

A headtorch race at Taunton and Pickering golf course the following Saturday and that was it for racing in 2020 and how I miss these post race pictures.

So not that much to report from 2020

Now for The Cliveys, the 2020 awards for the famous and infamous.

So, The Grizzly was my favourite race by a South West country 19 miles. What of the future and 2021? Races will have to to be more localised and organised by tiers and therefore the ensuing travel restrictions. Here in Somerset we may be able to travel soon to Devon to race and if not Gloucestershire. This of course depends on any New Year lockdown which may or not open up more of the country for racing.

I binge watched Line of Duty. This kind of boxset telly is interesting as you can see the disintegration of a franchise from Series 1, Episode 1 until up to date. I did enjoy it though, well written and some great performances and was probably my favourite offering from the tellybox this year..

An avid reader but I rarely found the concentration or patience to read a book, or even a magazine this year. I haven’t bought a newspaper in probably 10 years. I do like and am interested in the news but I like to arrive at my own opinions without being nudged by an editor or newspaper owner. Only one story this year. Garmin going down worldwide for a few days. Favourite book was Everything will work out in the long run by Dave Urwin. Followed closely by a book my son, Elliot, bought me for my birthday, England – a biography by Simon Wilde. It’s about cricket.

Favourite film ? None

Favourite music/album/artist ? None

Biggest disappointment was a three way tie between Charlton Athletic getting relegated, inevitable especially as striker Lyle Taylor refused to play after EFL shutdown during 2019-2020 season fearing injury and therefore scuppering a ‘life-changing’ move to Nottingham Forest(!) but I’m not bitter, the gallant effort by Tampa Bay Rays getting to the World Series but losing to L.A Dodgers 4-2 and not being able to go to Taunton and watch Somerset CCC play.

Zero to Hero Award goes to Tom Brady. When he was with New England Patriots I hated him but strangely he joins the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and it’s like falling in love with someone you haven’t seen in years and finally learn to appreciate them. You do have a second chance to make a first impression and it’s never too late.

Hero to Zero is Lyle Taylor for reasons given in a previous paragraph. I hope Forest recognise his suspect loyalty values.

Like Covid-19, who would I like most to see the back of in 2021? 3rd Laura Whitmore, beautiful but annoying. 2nd Ant and Dec, of course. 1st all the undetected drug cheats who’ll scoop up the medals if the Olympics goes ahead. Special mention for Boris and most of his cabinet especially Priti Patel and Matt Hancock. Rishi Sunak excepted.

What I’m looking forward to most in 2021? Proper mass participation in sporting events, especially running and crowds returning to sporting stadia. Tampa Bay Buccaneers winning Superbowl LV in their home town Raymond James Stadium.

Favourite celebrity/ personality/ comedian? Elis James and John Robins. They have a show on Radio 5live on Fridays and their podcasts are worth a listen .

Award for I’m not a yes man but when Boris says no I say no goes to local Member of Parliament James Heappey for his anti Party Covid recommendations. While waiting at BARB station for a cyclist who was riding from Burnham-on-Crouch to Burnham-on-Sea, he wantonly went into the Bay Cafe through the EXIT door and therefore going against Chris Whitty’s advice and causing me to tut in an aggressively loud manner.

Sportsman for 2021? Tom Lammonby, Somerset CCC batsman/all rounder. England bound.

Favourite quality time? Running the Quantock trails with Ian ‘Yobo’ Booth. A highly knowledgeable man and great fun to run with. A close second was boozy Sunday lunches in the Vic chatting with The Chair, Canvas Bosh.

People who have supported me the most in 2020, apart from Sue and Elliot? Again, Ian and Kelly ‘Petal’ Sherriff. Both kept me buoyant in my lowest and darkest moments in 2020. Nicole, my therapist from Healthshield, was a tremendous help and support. I miss our Friday morning chats where I spoke of things I can never repeat like the fishing trip with Uncle Bryn. I thank my friends from work, especially Sue Ganfield and my bosses Michelle and David, who allowed me the time to get my sh*t back together. Honourable mention for Sophie who showed me the value of not giving a f*ck.

Blog of the year…..? Goes without saying 😉

Happy New Year to everybody who has taken some of their valuable time to read my rubbish and I hope I have some more rubbish to write about in 2021.

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