Monday, April 28, 2014

Mush away

You don't always need snow to mush a dog.

I am walking on an April day in Phoenix Park training for the city marathon six months hence when I hear an agitated male shouting at a dog.

The sound is behind me and approaching fast.

A dog pulls a man along on Rollerblades.

Perhaps, this muscle-bound Doberman at some stage had been amenable to guidance by his erstwhile master; but those Elysian days have slipped away like the snows of winter past or summers of distant memory.

For now he would create his own
Elysium, it seems, freed from the fool who is even now pursuing him.

The fool is attached to the racing dog by a leash designed to keep the dog in check.

However, he does not wish to be kept in check. The man does not have the strength to restrain the wilful animal.

Besides, the human is
aboard a pair of Rollerblades which looked fine in the shop; but which he is unable to manoeuvre to halt the dog.

The effect is that of a sleigh with a single dog pulling it and an out of control human behind it.

The man tries a nautical tack of steering across the road from the dog's wake; but it is no use, try as he might the dog pulls him along towards a bend in the road and a steep incline below.
When they pass beyond my ken the man has his posterior stuck in the air and his face dangerously close to the road in an effort to reduce drag.

To no avail.

They part company when the animal veers around the bend. The man continues down the grassed incline.


On Rollerblades.

I walk on. I am in training. There is nothing to say, really.


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Monday, April 21, 2014

Collateral damage

Not everybody in attendance at the Battle of Clontarf 2014 went away unwounded.

Some got badly fatigued on the retreat to the city when Dublin bus sent its fleet back from the battle stop full of people.

They were then unable to pick up stragglers on the five kilometre march back to town, though unarmed people waved in vain at the passing ships of the road.

It had been 1,000 years since Brian Boru and his Irish army defeated a heap of Norsemen and their Irish supporters in the area of Clontarf.

Many re-enacters arrived from all corners of the globe from Texas to New Zealand, Denmark and Ballymun to pretend to kill one another in front of thousands of people come to see a re-enactment in scorching sunshine.

There was the nub.

Sunshine on Irish skin is more dangerous than any amount of vaux Vikings roaring their heads off.

The glaring sunshine took many of us by surprise.

Including myself.

I had been chatting to the warriors before they assembled to march into battle.

I became trapped among the marching Dublin warriors and could not escape from within a funnel of people newly opened up to allow the column of fighting men through to the battle ground.

Before long I found myself at the corner of the killing ground where I stayed as my new friends walked on.

I was soon surrounded by several million spectators.

Grand so.

But I could not retreat from the beating sun, no hat, nor sun cream was to hand.

That's how I got my battle burns.

Standing in an Irish park in the broiling sun watching a re-run of a thousand year old battle.

Brian Boru was killed that day, though his army won the savage confrontation.

Nobody ever says whether anyone was sunburnt though.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A knee in the groin

I am in a London airport.

I am mightily vexed with body frisks and repetitive baggage checks visited upon us.

This, in response to people with nothing else to do but attempt to blow up aeroplanes with, or without, themselves on them.

This always strikes me as boredom gone mad.

Anyone who thinks that blowing up other people is a worthy idea needs to meet more personable people than the morose mammals with which they are currently consorting.

A good tickle and a chuckle would not go astray.

I am in a lift when a pained man in running shorts and a full backpack arrives in with his fully clad wife.

Her demeanour is one of a person on a mission. She wears a smart business suit. It's light in colour for it is a Sunday.

But she makes it very clear she is there to protect and preserve her man.

He wears a very large brownish medallion that somehow signifies he did something worthwhile, like completing the marathon, just now.

He is so stiff in walking that I am reminded of a crab moving along with determined motion.

I think to ask him what his time was; but if it was not up to his personal best standards, then he might be distraught and the woman in the nice suit might knee me in the groin.

Then I wonder if I will mention that I am in training to walk the Dublin City Marathon, a few months hence.

Perhaps not: I am fully clad for I need a pocketed jacket to carry my books past the airline's weighing machine.

I remain silent.

Next morning, when I tumble onto the road to walk, I am stiff of limb.

I wonder if the suited woman is waiting for me.


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Monday, April 7, 2014

Training Apaches

The scissors platform is raised high above the swelling mob on the big wide avenue that is the backbone of Phoenix Park.

On it are a man and a woman facing in opposite directions.

The day is warm for a foot race but this pair tell people they will warm them up for the event.

Many seem overjoyed at this news.

Humans jump up and down in response to the shouted commands from on high.

It's hard not to believe that, to a visitor from Mars, humans are a strange species, not to mention to any passing Messiahs, during Lent.

Mass obedience to shouted instructions is the order of the day.

These people have raised funds or paid an entry fee to participate in all of this.

They seem to think it very important to warm up when told to do so.

After all, they will run 10 kilometres around the leafing roads to arrive back here, warmed up and panting, to receive a goody bag of branded goods from various sponsors.

Camera crews are positioned around the course to relay the participants' efforts to a television audience happily sitting down to Sunday roast at home.

Everywhere you look, in hollow or glade, atop mounds of green grass, people gather in bright colours to prepare for the event. They stretch bits of their bodies in different directions to make them more supple.

It is difficult not to think of them as wild Indians preparing to descend in marauding groups on the capitalist intruders all around them.

Would the race entrants move faster if they were told the Apaches were after them? Someone should take a breath and shout a warning.

I may, when the elevated people cannot see who the mischief maker is in the crowd of jumping people.

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