parkrun Bushy Tails: With added Bushy!

Well now.  Every parkrunner knows the story of how it all began, all those years ago with 13 runners in Bushy Park, London.

Bushy Park London

Not many people know that there are other Bushy Parks.  Including one in Dublin.  Which only recently began a parkrun there!

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So along with quarter/half/fullcowelling, alphabeteering, regionairing, and spelling out words like “parkruncornetto”, parkrun tourists now have new challenge: Double Bushy.  Appropriately in Doublin.

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Last year I’d attended the Dublin Scottish Dance Club’s 50th anniversary celebrations, and used the weekend to visit Marlay Park.

Marlay Dublin

This year, I wanted to try a different parkrun, and was thrilled to discover that Bushy Dublin was a short drive away from where I was staying.

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Access:

The park is in Rathfarnham, and in fact the recommended car parking is at Rathfarnham Shopping Centre, which is what I plugged into my sat-nav.  It got me there, roadworks notwithsatanding, and I parked as requested in the middle, rather than encoraching on the space where the car washing folks are plying their trade.

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After crossing the road, and a wee bridge into the park, I turned right, and was a bit misled by a bootcamp group that were setting up by a shelter.

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But I had an inkling they were not parkun, and continued my usual “wander until you see recognisable signs” meander.  I must have looked particularly puzzled, as a cyclist stopped me and asked if I was looking for the parkrun start.  Yes! I answered enthusiastically, and he replied that so was he.  We set off in search together, allowing me to utter the phrase “Follow that bike!”

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If I’d turned left instead of right at the bridge, I’d have been there in 100m.  But hey, made it in time!

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Crowd:

There were a lot of people arriving by bike, and my new friend offered to let me use his to hold my bag of post run essentials (coat, car keys, water).  A fellow 100 shirt wearer came and chatted to me, he was doing his 170th run and was quite emotional about the journey it has taken him on.  Ther were a good smattering of younger runners too.  I’d had a bit of banter on Facebook beforehand, and they were really friendly and chatty afterwards, and even gave me a name check in the run report!

Lots of parkruns have Duke of Edinburgh award folk doing their bit as volunteers – here it was some great chaps from Terenure Mens Sheds – thanks lads!

Facilities:

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There isn’t anything in the park itself.  Parking as mentioned is in the nearby shopping centre, which is also where the loos are ( I couldn’t find many of these) and also post run coffee in Partners (where customers can use the loos.  Well, Partner’s (sic) customers can use them, it’s 2 yoyos for others).

Course:

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There’s about a km along the side of the Dodder river, which can be quite slippy and has a few water channels to watch out for.  Then it’s into the park itself with 2 laps around the pond, and a little extra leg.  There’s a small bit of this extra leg which has runners going in both drections, and the turnaround point is well indicated with cones. Back out onto the riverside walk, and you know you’re 1 km from the finish line. There’s no real inclines to worry about, and the paths are wide enough to accommodate the current 100ish crowd.  The park allows dogs to be off-lead until 100 am, so that’s a factor to be aware of.

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Gear:

My Garmin is starting to really play up, may need to start looking at replacements.  My 100 shirt was a talking point. No other cow cowls sighted. Although the paths are all tarmc, they were slippy, and trail shoes would be a good option. As the morning had dawned mizzly I hadn’t bothered with sunglases.  So of course the sun came out!  But the mostly tree-lined course made sure this was not a problem.

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Strangely Appropriate Song on Shuffle:

It’s Eurovision Day – I know, what am I doing away dancing and so missing the show! But I’ve been watching the semi-finals, suitably attired, and me and my running chums really enjoyed “Running On Air”.

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Time:

This is a pretty fast course, so run times are good.  Mine not so good, still suffering from some foot niggles, so I had to be content with a sub-32 result.  First in my age-cat, though!

And the rest:

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I was staying in a lovely wee Air Bnb place on Ballinteer Ave.  I enjoyed a super supper on the Friday night at the gastro-pub across the way – fish platter supreme with proper baby Guinness!

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I’d tried and failed to make these during my Euroviz party, to enjoy during Ireland’s performance.  But they wouldn’t stay separated.  Which may be a political prophecy.

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After my parkrun I explored Dundrum Town Centre, which is not the same as the town centre of Dundrum. I had the most lovely pasta dish

IMG_1613in Dunne e Crescenzi overlooking the dancing fountains.

This place ( ie shopping centre) fancies itself somewhat, and is proud of having a branch of Harvey Nicks.  Shame they can’t spell confectionary, though.

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I took a trip to Airfield, a sort of open farm / formal gardens place, and was most impressed by the stunning colours of the flowers.

The evening was taken up with the Dublin dance – 20 well chosen dances, and a fabulous supper, a truly wonderful evening.  I arrived back at my lodgings just before midnight to enjoy…..

Celebrations:

Consensus has it that the suitable celebration for running a Double Bushy is to have a double Bush – a large measure of Bushmills whiskey, from the oldest distillery in the world, and near where I grew up on the North Coast.

IMG_1619  I couldn’t find any Bush, so being in Dublin I settled for local tipple, Jamesons.

Slainte!

All My parkruns

Med Cruise: Day 6 – Toulon

I would find it very difficult to visit somewhere without having done some basic research into it.  I was amazed reading some reviews of our cruise that one passenger gave it a low rating because “there’s nothing to do in Toulon”.  It’s the main French naval base, and having been heavily bombed in WW2 much of its buildings were hastily erected to provide  a lot of housing quickly – in other words its not very pretty architecturally.  The clue for me was the word “gateway”.  Anywhere that styles itself “gateway to blah blah” is usually an indication that you want to getaway from it as soon as possible.  Toulon calls itself “gateway to the Cote d’Azur”.  On top of all that, it was a Sunday when we visited, so many places would be closed.  This was the best day to go for one of the organised shore excursions.

Our first stop was the pretty little post of Sanary sur Mer.  The market there was yet another feast for the senses – I seem to have spent an inordinate amount of time on this cruise blog extolling the joys of the variety and freshness of the local produce, so I’ll try to resist posting yet another picture of glossy tomatoes.  I bought some delicious fresh macaroons, a punnet of sweet and sharp strawberries, and couldn’t resist joining the queue for this local delicacy, Cade.  It was a sort of chickpea flour pancake, cooked in a wood smoke oven, served with a little salt and pepper.  The texture reminded me of potato bread.

A passing local advised us to climb to the top of the tower, accessible behind the hotel.  It’s free to enter, but quite a few steps and ladders to climb.  The view over the little harbour, with the old-fashioned painted boats – pointus, the pointed ones – was just exquisite.

Our next stop was the seaside resort of Bandol, weekend retreat of choice for the residents of nearby Marseilles.  There was a display of classic British cars (Les Anglaises) along the promenade, and the island off the coast belonged to M Ricard, inventor of the eponymous aperitif.  We had a welcome sit-down in the shade and enjoyed tapas of mussels and aubergine, followed by a gentle stroll in the sunshine enjoying delicious ice-creams from a dizzying choice of flavours.  I went for lavender, this being Provence, while Roger tried a salty caramel.  During the ice-cream purchasing process, he managed to drop a 5 euro note, which a passer-by retrieved and returned to us.  Back on the coach, and we were back on board at 13.30.  The trip had cost 32 euros – they’re not cheap, shore excursions, but this was definitely one we were glad we had taken.

I managed a short session in the gym, and then had a GnT in the Lookout Bar as we set sail. At dinner, there was a crepe station set up, so we enjoyed freshly prepared crepes Suzette for dessert.  I even managed to catch the evening show in the Ocean Theatre, which was very good, high professional standard.

Cruise Tip Of The Day: Check where you’re going to be on a Sunday, as shops and other attractions may be closed.  And look out for the words “Gateway to….”

So, that year in summary…

Welll… I’d said it was probably the toughest year of my life. And possibly also the best. Here’s a photo montage of some of the highlights.

Including:

The Gambia, Calum’s Road, leaving in January in heavy snow, heavy laden bike, The Butcher’s Shop restaurant (where we got food poisoning), and a return to the original road on Raasay.

Severe weather conditions, but spring arriving!

Volcanic ash disruption, and alternative ways home. Prince Charles waving to me, and Meet the Meat.
New iPhone!

New abode – planes trains and automobiles.

Bad bananas and mad dogs.

Talented daughter and bf.

Pangalactic gargleblasters on 101010.

Parking fine and flat tyre.

Major work to the Beahive – shed, bathroom, boiler, furniture from IKEA, where I’m now on first name terms with the staff.

The many aspects of me – new hair, new bag, my Trilogettes, dressing up as Doc for a Back-to-the-future-a-thon, Beatrix, working out measurements in the Numbers room, balloons, bingo by the pool, dancing with Chris Hollins….and getting engaged!

I’ve ended the year 1/2 a stone lighter than I began, and I hope 2011 will be as full of adventure and fun !