Thursday, 8 March 2012

Two Robins at Words by the Water

We were at Words by the Water again today. I spent the morning in the car on the phone with Connie finalising a Press Release. Yesterday the photographer from the Cumberland and Westmorland Herald, Fred Wilson, nobbled me near the bookshop and took some photos of Brian and me and The Boy with Two Heads down by the lake. So we wanted to provide some copy in case one of them is used in this week's paper.

Derwent Water near the Theatre by the Lake 
Then I walked along into the wood by the lake. I met walkers and dogs and, to my amazement, a robin. It flew onto a twig at my eye level about two metres in front of me. It sat there and cocked its head at me and chattered musically. We must have 'conversed' for two or three minutes. No one disturbed us and we discussed the weather, and the lack of berries, and cheese on birdtables, and my excitement about The Boy. In the end, I bid the robin good afternoon and moved off with care. S/he flew a tree or two further on and perched again, watching me.

I took the path through the gate onto the shore and enjoyed the damp but cobweb-shredding breeze. This photo is from a few years ago, but the time of year and the lighting are similar.

On Monday I went to a talk by a human Robin, Robin Harvie. He has written a book called Why We Run. I was interested in this question as my Boy with Two Heads does a lot of running. And it turned out that Robin Harvie has been a participant in the Spartathlon! I was living in Athens when this race was set up in the 1980s, and people I knew were involved in the organisation.

Spartan king Leonidas I, died 490BC
at Thermopylae
(photo from Wikipedia)
For those who haven't heard of it, the Spartathlon is a foot race from Athens to Sparta, in emulation of Pheidipiddes in 490 BC. It is approximately 150 miles and includes two mountain ranges, at least one of which is crossed during the night. Pheidipiddes arrived in Sparta the day after he left Athens, according to Herodotos, so the modern race has to be completed in that time frame, contestants arriving at the foot of the statue of Leonidas of Sparta.

I was enthralled and enchanted by Robin's talk, partly because I met some of the runners one year and was, and still am, completely in awe of their achievements. Also he is a good speaker, though not as tuneful as the robin I met this morning.

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