Citrus Garden

For someone who has been living gladly and happily in urbanized environment for my whole life I find myself surprisingly very much interested in gardens in recent years. Truth be told, I lived in a proper house in a proper village for a relatively short time when my parents bought a house as their long-lived dream of having a home in the country, but I couldn’t have left it faster once I moved away to live on my own. Back to town, that was.

My personal life-long habitat therefore is an apartment. Continue reading “Citrus Garden”

Traditions to be kept

Traditions are meant to be kept. Some of them at least.

Throughout history certain rites, beliefs and customs were repeated over and over again by human kind, modified by new notions that developed and accumulated along the way as time passed, and most certainly by newcomers, then finally and definitely upgraded by new generations that unavoidably followed. This time of year, when it nears its ends, it is apparently the time when I appear to be ponder-ish and kind of blue. Continue reading “Traditions to be kept”

On Running

My closest friends know how much I resented running as a sport when I was growing up. The annual 600m run for a final mark in high school felt like a death sentence. At that time I excelled at short runs though. My marks at physical education (we used to call it gym class which is apparently obsolete) were improved by decent results in 60m and 100m runs. My man says this is typical of people with no endurance.

Still, someone at my primary school (way before the hated 600m) was brave enough to sent me to represent our school in district competition. Me of all pupils. Even though that was more than 30 years ago I still remember the utter exhaustion I felt when I finished that horror 2400m run (I was too ashamed to quit). Talk about sensible teachers.

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Anyway, I love to run now. I find it uncomplicated since no prep is needed. I change to my running gear (a sophisticated expression for a tee, shorts and sneakers) in the comfort of my home and I’m ready to run. Off the threshold. If packing and driving to a destination for the sole purpose of exercise aren’t your things then you might consider running for the simplicity of it. Warming up and stretching can both be done along the way. No equipment needed for that.

The greatest upside of running for me is being outdoors. I run year-round. When it’s cold, when it’s warm, when it’s foggy, when it’s sunny, come winter or summer, in October as well as in March, when in a good mood, or when blue. Only two conditions stop me from running: when pavements and paths are black iced and during downpour. The rest is a bunch of excuses. I try to avoid finding one.

Some jolly nice and unexpected situations have occurred during my runs, as well as nothing at all. I notice the colours in the woods as seasons change. Or, I see a couple in a loving embrace, or a handful of playful dogs in the meadow. I might notice other runners and feel envious of their stamina. On most days I don’t care about that at all. Occasionally, I meet a lovely fellow like this one:

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My runs have proved to be good time spent with myself. I have never returned from a run in worse shape or mood than upon start. Selectively, I compose a playlist of my favourite songs for my run. When I don’t feel like listening to music, there are many interesting podcasts to listen to during running. All available online in a matter of seconds. Sometimes, I get carried away in my thoughts during a run and when I finish I realize I’ve used my exercise time to plan a meal, for instance. Every now and again, I plainly accept the void. At times, I need a change of route to keep me motivated. Simply starting a run in the other direction can make wonders.

I’m not hiding there come the days I’m dragging my legs behind as if they weighed a ton each, or am in a nagging mood, or am just too lazy to go out. But I remind myself how good a feeling it is afterwards so I try to keep to my steady two runs a week. If I do one more, or something extra like occasional cycling trip or hiking, the better.

Considering there are years of work and pleasure before me I’d rather be in good shape to grasp it all if I can help it.

 

Related:

The man who popularized running

The first joggers’ club in the world

Running Up That Hill

 

The Weekend of Doing Nothing

I’ve finally warmed up this weekend. Up until Friday I was constantly cold partly because of the weather that stubornly refused to bring the warmth (at least this is a natural fact, something that can’t be controlled, so what the hack, right?) partly because of the office air-conditioning already turned on ignoring the actual outdoor conditions (simply bloody too much). So, a sunny and warm weekend at last delivered the long desired comfort.

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I enjoyed it very much. Contrary to everybody else who’ll be going on and on about what they’d been up to this weekend my reply to the eminent question of What did you do over the weekend? will be simply Nothing.

We drove to the Croatian coast for the weekend, true. Left the town pretty early on Friday, a rare indulgence, true again. We had a lovely late lunch of fresh fish on the way just on the edge of Karst. The nearer we got to the coast the warmer it was getting. The early evening was the colour of antique gold. We had a glass of amaro before we called it a night.

On Saturday we slept late, later than usual at least, and had coffee in bed. We drove to Umag, the nearest town, for breakfast …

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… and shopped at the local market. There are all kinds of vegetables and fruits in season right now, some of them our favourites: fresh cherries, crisp peas, sweetest carrots, young soft cabbage heads, fragrant strawberries, the not-yet-too-bitter radicchio verde, fantastic lettuce and whatnot. After that, we took a short stroll through the old town.

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We stocked up with a stack of magazines and newspapers at the newsagent’s and grabbed a fresh loaf of white bread at the baker’s. The one that we always crave for back home.

Then, we did some work around the house but nothing too exhausting. We enjoyed the sun and the warmth and the calmness of the day. We took a really long walk along the coast and admired the macchia and pine trees and the sweet up-coming smell of the summer.

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Before we turned in we had a glass of local pelinkovac, a remarkable wormwood liquor. One would assume we’re heavy on the alcohol but rest assured the quantities we had were purely medicinal.

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On Sunday, I went for a morning run and when I returned my man had already laid out a sumptuous breakfast. Afterwards, we read. And we read. We lounged in the sun and read. I podded the peas and then read some more. We were delighted by the birdsong and a tender breeze.

We cooked risotto primavera (simplified but nonetheless delicious) for late lunch and watched the tranquility pass us by.

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During our drive back home I watched the moon moving slowly over the sky of dying light. It was huge and deep yellow.

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Come to think of it it was no nothing at all.

Running Mode: On Optimism

What’s there not to be optimistic about? It’s almost the end of winter, people. One can already notice how the days become visibly longer. And this is good news, right? A minute at a time, true, but noticeably longer.

I’m lucky enough to get off work relatively early so I decide to make a good use of this wonderful winter afternoon. I go for a run. Not that I avoid running altogether when it’s dark and cold but the spirit is higher with a prospect of a daylight run. It’s also warmed up a bit in the last few days, it’s clear with an occasional foamy cloud here and there. The sun being low – it’s wintertime after all – it casts a magical colouring scheme over the snow-capped mountains. Really, what’s not to be good-spirited about?

 

The pastel sunset colours over the sky seen through the trees during my run

I decide to put some music on. During December it’s been all about Christmas chimes (I can’t help it, I love good old-fashioned Christmas songs) and festive podcasts. This time I choose an almost forgotten playlist that’s been collecting dust in my iTunes library and with every step I get reminded what a great decision I’ve made. Who could resist this? Or this? I hate to repeat myself but what’s there not to be optimistic about?

By now I have already passed the ski jump facility where young athletes are training hard. There’s lots of them, some still little children but all fearless with gleaming eyes and everyone hoping to become the next Peter Prevc. Good for them!

The pastel sunset colours over the sky seen through the trees during my run

 

There are more runners out here than usual. What a great feeling! The paths through the woods are dry and dusty, only a slight puddle every now and then. More a result of hidden streams meandering downhill between the trees and bushes than anything else for the rain has been absent for more than a month now and there’s been no decent snowfall whatsoever yet. Hope it snows soon.

I meet families on the way as well. Children in colourful outfits are bursting within the greys and browns of the winter forest and their parents treading along in a slow pace. Some people never seem to hurry, bless them.

I see people walking their dogs. I see people enjoying the last sunbeams of the day. I see people having a smoke, outdoors being the only resort for their vice. Nowadays I only notice the smokers outdoors: on the streets, in the park, in front of the bars, even on bikes and some behind the wheel of the car or in the old movies and TV series – they’re a rare sight actually.

When I pass the rose garden on my way back home it’s almost dark. The sky is still light blue when I look up and the clouds are a bright pink colour but the dusk spreads all around and tows the murkiness along. There’s a cloud floating above me, a classic funnel-like shape as if the storm might be approaching which seems quite strange on this calmest of days. On the other hand, if I take another look it reminds me of a soft ice-cream fallen from the hands of a clumsy child.