Paris, Parkrun, a walk and another new toy.


Ooh, remember good first line for Twitter!

How laggardly am I being with this blogging? I do apologise.


Last weekend I went to Paris with my lovely friend Ruth. It was a mixture of plants and art (with a side salad of running). Had I the space, and you the time I would detail the whole delightful weekend. However, resources are sparse in these recessionary times.

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(c) R Ridley

We went to Courson which is somewhere between our Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and a country house plant fair. This makes it sound as if it is less professional or planty than HCPFS, it isn’t. If you want to go to a flower show to buy plants, talk to growers, see a good range of new and old varieties, go to Courson. The other big selling point is that you can sit down, in peace and quiet and have a picnic away from the crowds. I was lucky enough to meet the charming Sophie who is my work counterpart in France.

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Next day we went to Giverny which is the house and garden of Claude Monet. Which is very beautiful and very, very well maintained. Full marks to the garden staff, it was immaculate in just the right way. It was also big enough that we could take photos without too many people appearing in them.


Giverny (c) R Ridley


Giverny (c) R Ridley

Lost in France (appropriately the morning after Bonnie Tyler lost in Malmo)

The next morning I crept out quietly for a run. Not quietly enough to miss Ruth checking I had the room key, but I did try. I promised to be gone about half an hour…

Well, I had my Garmin. We were in a very recognisable area (see below), and I was just going to do a 3 mile out and back. There were some odd looking chaps (way more than in the evening) hanging around, so I started off quite quickly, saw another runner about 100m ahead and decided I would follow him, within reason. So I did, with just two turnings, to a lovely park which is where all the Parisiens run! No wonder I saw no-one on the street, they appear to run to the park, run laps of the park, and then run home.

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So I did a lap and started back for the hotel. Doing nicely, took some photos, got to the big roundabout which I remembered. Turned down the Avenue de Clichy. Pottered on till I saw signs for the Peripherique (the Paris ring road, not as far out as the M25 here, but really not where I wanted). What I hadn’t been worrying about was that my Garmin had switched itself off (it was drizzling) so I couldn’t do ‘Back to Start’.

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So I begged and pleaded with my phone. It normally hates doing GPS, it takes about 15 minutes to find itself, by which time I have normally worked it out. But my phone loved Paris. It found us in about 10 seconds, and pointed out gently that I had gone the wrong way down the Avenue de Clichy. There were no sex shops where I was going. So I went back, and eventually my phone took me to the Moulin Rouge and then our hotel.

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Nice walk out towards Rusper (also Gatwick, so quite noisy). About 13 miles, lots of nettles, lots of wild garlic. First time I have ever found a bridge with more water in than the stream it is crossing though.

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Went for the SECOND time this morning, it was equally nice. PB by 8 seconds, woo! Multiplicity of baby birds in the lake: ducklings, goslings, soon to be Coots (assumed under Mrs/Mr Coot on nest).

New toy

Due to recent moodiness on part of Garmin, I ponied up for a new one. Tis the new cheapy one, the Forerunner 10 (green). And for very cheap ta muchly to the Runners World forum. It has two major advantages over its more techy uncle the 405 CX so far: I can read the large numbers without my glasses (see my last marathon failure, reading numbers is important), it is waterproof-ish therefore won’t throw multiple wobblies every time it rains. Will report back once I have tortured it a bit more.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. cindysleepspinresearch says:

    Oh France sounds so lovely. I do want to see Giverny and the Monet gardens. I did a huge paper on him when I was in high school and was lucky to see a huge display of his work in Boston like 15 years ago when it came to town.

    If I get more into running I may have to think about a Garmin. I’m just not sure I could manage being out there with my HRM and a Garmin at the same time!

  2. Kate says:

    Ooh, I have the 405 cx and it sure is moody when it comes to being wet!

    Your trip looks beautiful. I would totally get lost in Paris. Thankfully, my phone GPS saves me all the time. It has made me way more confident in taking off on my own knowing (well, believing) it will help me find my way back when my lousy sense of direction gets me lost. One of these days I’m going to get lost somewhere with no GPS signal (probably next weekend in Kansas) and be screwed.

    1. mercyjm says:

      Oh my god is the DK that close?

      1. Kate says:

        Yes, and can I just say how much I love you that you knew exactly what I was referring to?! My husband is barely aware of that race and you know all the way across the Atlantic.

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