For a brief introduction as to how this all started visit Weekends Collected for this related post, Rainy Days And Sundays. You might even want to leave your own posts whilst there
It's four a.m. when the alarm goes off and I crawl out of bed. My body goes through the motions of getting ready whilst my brain plays catchup, but by five a.m. I'm ready, after the usual visits from Captain Paranoia, to head off.
The sat-nav is switched on, with its heavy New Zealand accent forever telling me that there's a Bear left ahead: although for the life of me I never see the creature for myself.
I'm heading for the coast, for a meeting in one of our larger offices with a colleague and our clients. If I were to go via train I would still have to leave this early, but wouldn't arrive until at least 11am - most likely missing the meeting.
After an hour and a half on the road, and just before I leave the motorway onto the smaller roads that will mark the rest of my journey, I realize that I am dangerously tired and stop at a soulless service station for a cup of bitter coffee served by an ever-so-slightly more bitter employee.
I sit in the car sipping the resultant brew and thinking about the Bruce Springsteen CD I've been listening too (Wrecking Ball - definitely a return to form, I decide) and briefly about the meeting ahead (like most sane people I try to spend as little of my free time thinking about work as possible) before finally switching Mr Sat-Nav back on. The New Zealand accent is Herself's choice and is no more grating than any of the other options. I've never really been tempted to change it, for example, to Mr T forever telling me to "turn left sucker" as I am under no illusions that such an option would cease to be funny after two junctions, leaving me forced to leave it switched on or admit that it really was a stupid waste of money.
The rest of the drive goes well and I arrive at the office in good time for the morning calls and meeting preparations. It's a pretty enough site, set in a small town that could only be described as "pretty" if it were in comparison to a boil. The grounds are big, with a huge lake built for natural coolant of the immense IT infrastructure stored inside.
At 10am when there's still no sign of the man I'm here to meet I venture downstairs to the other room we use and find that a) I've walked straight into the middle of a very important meeting and b) he's been there all the time. We spend the rest of the morning and part of the afternoon discussing the tasks ahead and finally meeting with the client.
Finally the day draws to an end and I pack up my computer and head for the little treat that I have promised myself.
Five weeks ago, as evidenced in the related post linked above, I took up running. To be honest: progress has not been good. I had been trying to follow a regime that I have downloaded from the internet, but have had several set-backs, including some trouble with my knees. The upshot of all of which is: I am nowhere near as fit as I had hoped to be by now and still barely able to do more than 20 minutes worth.
Still, with our office so close to the coastline I haven't been able to resist the temptation to recreate a scene from Chariots Of Fire and go for a run on the beach.
I change into my running kit (grey shorts, grey vest-top, super-dooper expensive running shoes) turn the vehicle away from the route home and drive the extra five miles or so that it will take and soon enough I can see the pier and find a place to park.
The first problem with my vision of empty sandy beaches is that for the first time since I was last down at this office three months ago: the sun has come out. This means that the walkways are full of young people who really should put a T-shirt on (please - no one wants to see an exposed beer gut, it puts you right off your stick of seaside rock), who seem to have reverted to the childhood communication method of forever shouting at someone standing less than three feet away. This means that whenever I start running I am unable to continue for more than thirty seconds without risk of knocking someone over.
The second problem is even more vexing: no beach. The sea is almost entirely in to the storm wall and where it has condescended to leave an open spot it does so only to reveal not the golden sands I had hoped for, but pebbles.
And so, having been forced to turn in-land from the coast, I give up running after less than five minutes and settle for a leisurely walk back with my camera
However - I did uncover evidence of the imminent return of Jesus, as evidenced by the man walking on water below...(erm...ok, so he was jumping off the landing bay, but that's what it looks like, OK??)
And of course, I got to see a hovercraft taking off - so the trip wasn't a total loss.