Sunday morning and as I look out the bathroom I see the scudding clouds hanging heavy in the sky - at least they would be if I were pretentious enough to ever describe clouds as scudding. As is is they are merely busy ominising (if there IS a verb version of ominous)
I spend a minute or two remembering on which particular radiators I left a) my tracksuit bottoms and b) my long sleeved running top (thin but breathable), get some breakfast and jump into the car.
Most mornings, if I'm running before starting work, I just go around the local streets - expanding or reducing the length of the run dependent on the variables that most of us face in the morning which are best defined by the mathematical formula S x Ci >= Tm (sleep multiplied by coffee intake is greater than or equal to the time of morning) however, on the weekend I go to the local park.
The park is mostly flat with only minor incline or declines, paved and lit all the way around the perimeter and with ample parking. This is what makes it popular with runners, cyclists, people doing army fitness regimes (of their own free will and actually paying for the privilege of being shouted at as far as I can see), sunday league footballers, people with dogs, obnoxious children (there is a specially bred obnoxious child whose sole role in life is to hang out around the swings and yell smart mouth comments like "you need a sports bra mate") and, of course, squirrels.
So I park, lock up the car and do my stretches before walking to my regular start post. My route is a complete circuit of the park and then back down the central path to the first path back, running until I need to walk, walking until I feel able to run again - for approximately 2 miles if you believe my pedometer
Today though there's a background sound, somewhere from the grass beneath the trees - the sound of drums.
I forget about them for the moment and set off on my jog - doing pretty well considering its been a few days since my last run (usually every 2 days) and some weeks since I was last here: my times for running without stopping are longer and my rests to recovery from the impending coronary are shorter - and it's only as I return towards the car park for the shorter lap that I remember the drummers.
I can hear them quite clearly as I jog down the path and over the small bridge (refusing to stop until I've got past the little old lady with the tiny dog incase she thinks I'm completely feeble), breaking into a walk.
And the great thing about running is that for a brief period your brain stops working. I mean clearly, it keeps on pumping the instructions to your legs and hands, but for the most part the little monkey with cymbals that lives inside your head and constantly needs entertaining is silent - but of course the second I start walking it kicks in.
Who are these people? Why are they drumming? Why are they doing it in a public place? The thoughts all barrel-roll out like a badly designed game of Donkey Kong and I decide that the only type of people who drum in public on a Sunday morning are the type of people who are either a) very committed or b) need to be committed. If it's the former then usually the type of people who are very committed to something are religious types.
There you go then, the monkey in my head says, they must be Drumming For Jesus, or Khrishna, or Buddha, or some other deity that decided drums were dutiful to their cause.
Of course I don't actually go up to them to ask what possible reason could bring them to a public space on a Sunday morning to bang their bongos: because mostly in life the myth is better than the reality - and so I leave them be. Whatever reason has brought them to this place on this day it seems to be making them happy and that's good enough for me.
I climb back into the car and drive slowly towards the exit. As I leave I catch one last glance of them through the autumnal leaves: still happily drumming away. Drumming For Jesus: or not, as the case may be.