One of the best railway journeys in the UK (well the bit when you are in Devon).
The railway line hugs the coast offering some stunning views of Devon, Exeter, the River Exe, Starcross, Teignmouth, Dawlish Warren, the River Plym and of course Plymouth.
I recorded this when I visited my parents recently as I have such fond memories of this wonderful journey.
If you are in the UK or ever visiting you should try to do this journey at least once.
I write this as I head back to Colchester following a weekend to see how my mum is doing following her surgery and as usual the time has gone by far too quickly.
Mum is looking remarkably bright considering she has had heart surgery and is out of bed. She is still sore and bruised following the operation though so I believe it will take a couple of weeks for her to get back to normal. Just hope she does spend the time convalescing and doesn't try to do too much too soon.
Typically the weather en route was nice but yesterday (my only full day), was pretty grim. That said I didn't go home to sight see.
Still I spent the day with my parents and Richards sister popped over with our niece, husband and Richards eldest nephew. This was a nice break in the day as mum has not see baby Freya since her christening. It was lovely to have a house full of guests. Some other people for mum to talk too and it helped animate the house and my parents.
We had a late fish and chip supper before turning in and I left early this morning to catch my train back to Colchester (via London).
I am pleased I have been to see mum and dad and am happy with my mums progress and how my dad is coping with everything.
I have this scenic journey (well the bit through Devon) to get through, a week of work and then Richard and I can head off to the sun for a much needed rest.
Please let this week be quiet and uneventful!
So it's certainly been an odd week. One I didn't see coming and one where I never imagined I would be writing a blog entry on the train heading down to Devon.
As you may know both Richard and my mum have been unwell and I am currently en route to see my mum post heart surgery.
I cannot remember the last time I took the train home and its kind of odd. I spent a lot of my late teens and early twenties taking the train to London to see the sights and to experience what the big city had to offer.
It was these trips that lead me to make the decision to leave the south west and find something bigger and better. I knew that Plymouth had had its hay day and knew that I would find what I was searching for in London.
I also knew (by the time I left) that I was gay and that the manner and opinions at home were not conducive to me living a happy independent life
That was thirteen years ago and I have not looked back.
I of course miss my parents but being an only child do not feel committed to the large extended family we have. I made the choice to move away, find my self, enjoy my life but ensure that mum and dad were always cared for. That's what I have done and I am proud and surprised at what I have achieved since I left Plymouth all that time ago.
I cannot condone people for wanting to stay where they grew up but I have to say it saddens me when so many people I went to school or worked with are still there. Same locations. Same lives.
Don't get me wrong many others have gone much further than I and some are tied due to commitments etc but I find it a shame that people stay put. I guess it's comfortable. I guess now I am comfortable too.
I am sure there are other places like Plymouth (or maybe Devon or Cornwall) where you could be born and raised and think you were living a million miles from anywhere.
That mentality still exists and I have taken years to break this mindset that everything is miles away from where I live. I commute 70 miles each way every day and to most people at home, they wouldn't travel that far to go to an airport on holiday.
Family and friends constantly insist we live in London. We don't. It's where we work, where we tune our careers and where we socialise. We live in Colchester and we love it there. It's taken us further away from Plymouth and that's why I have a six hour journey under way but you know what, if you want to do it you make the time. You make the effort. You get off your ass and you do it.
It may sound like I am knocking people – I am not. I made a choice and I am glad I did. I just find it sad some people never even get to that initial decision. Or maybe they regret not doing it later in life…
I fear for the generation growing up at home, there's no airport, no major road links and the local economy is declining faster than anywhere else. All government support (as always) heads up north (no it doesn't make it to London event though it feels like it) and the south west is left to suffer.
But then again the NIMBIES in the area need to stop complaining and be more proactive. If the people of Plymouth saw the value in a motorway, their airport or investing in big business and trade, the place wouldn't be in such a state as it is now.
I often spend these train journeys thinking about things. Mulling things over and I find it incredible that I can now pen these thoughts and store them for myself and anyone who cares to read them. Technology has opened these barriers. Could I have ever imagined such a device as an iPad or iPhone to allow me to do this when I first embarked on my journeys to the big smoke?
I was blogging back then but had to wait to get home to put finger to key…
This is purely my opinion but I love going home. I love this journey and I love my folks. I also love the fact that I made the decision years ago to move away and get a life. I simply hope all the grand children, nieces, nephews and friends kids at home wake up and do the same (before its too late).
I obviously love my husband and miss B and will miss them terribly whilst I am away. I am only gone for two days though and soon Richard and I jet off to the sun for some much needed r and r.
Oh… The duffle coat reference? That's Paddingtons fault. I loved Paddington Bear as a child but could never have imagined how many memories and feelings that little lost bear from Peru would evoke.
I wonder if he has reverted back to marmalade sandwiches following his brief dabbling with marmite?
Following our week in Cyprus we went home to visit our folks for a couple of days.
The weather wasn't as nice as Cyprus and the pace a little busier but it was lovely to catch up with everyone.
We took my parents out to lunch on Thursday as it was their wedding anniversary. Richard's mum, youngest sister and our niece joined us. We visited the Royal William Yard which is a recent renovation. This gave a fantastic new perspective on Plymouth that none of us had seen before.
It really was lovely to see everyone and we managed to catch up with the family as planned.
Whilst there we made a substantial purchase at the art gallery at the Royal William Yard. We are both very pleased with the piece featuring Smeatons Tower on Plymouth Hoe. We wanted a sizeable painting for the wall and this does not disappoint. We had to fold the seats down in the back of the car to get it in!
It’s a bit of a bitch starting a run from my parents as any exit from the close takes you up a very steep hill.
I thought I’d counteracted the hills by starting my warm going up them to avoid running head long up them. Unfortunately this didn’t work as my calves were burning when I reached the brow of the hill.
Unknown to me the hill kept going and going and it was really hard work. I think the hill I picked was at least 1.5 k long!
I did the same routine as Tuesday but with the hills it made it a very tough run. Not wanting to be outdone I took my time and didn’t give up.
I gauged the run and walked when I felt the need but I thought I might as well mix it up as it’s good to surprise the body some time.
I had some bursts of energy and decided to throw in some very quick runs to use up the reserves of energy I have stored. I was really sore but wanted to push myself and the music I was listening to was really motivating so I went for it.
Fastest song of this run was Good Time by Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen. I really like this track and it proved very motivating.
I got four very fast sprints into the run. Ran over 7k with very steep inclines and declines and had some great flat runs today.
It was a daunting run to start with but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s great to add some variety and this was definitely a challenging but fun run.
I got to see some new parts of Plympton too which is a part of Plymouth I have never really explored. I found Plympton Castle which was up a huge mound. This was a hell of a challenge in the run but worth it.
There are some very scenic spots around this part of Plymouth and it was lovely to take in some of these sights today.
I particularly like the old Victorian school I passed which has been converted into a house – lovely conversion and an idyllic spot.
I am sure my legs will ache tomorrow
So tonight did not see me hit the road in my best form.
As you know on Monday I got caught in a hail storm and today I have been feeling really congested. Monday night I also caught my left calf on the corner post of the bed, stabbing it quite hard. It’s been really painful all week.To add insult to injury on Wednesday evening I was picking at my feet (an awful habit I have which manifests when I am stressed), and whilst doing so managed to pull most of my little toenail off. It’s been causing me some discomfort but I didn’t realise how far across the toe the scar was nor how it would affect my running.
All this considered I was not enjoying the run but managed to coach myself into two decent runs with a break in the middle. At first my calf and my toe were really sore but I didn’t let either of them stop me.
What did stop me was the congestion because in the middle of the run I had a drink mid walk and this caused me to have a reflex to the drink which with the congestion stopped me breathing through my nose and I started to gag. I honestly thought I was going to be sick and after a couple failed attempts to continue with the run I had to breathe deep, take stock (and something I hate doing), spit out anything that had collected in my mouth which had caused the breathing problems
Once it was all cleared and I was calm again I got back into it and I think I only lost about 2 minutes really. I haven’t felt like that mid run and although I don’t want to again I do actually want to learn to cope with this as I am sure the cold air in November on the MoRunning 10K may cause me similar issues.
All things considered it was not a bad run and I got going again and added a couple more minutes to the run when I got back into my stride. Once I was back running I was fine and wanted to continue.
I was only a bit slower than my last couple of averages and I was a shade under my usual distance so there is no need to beat myself up over this.
12th August is #FindGreatness day where Nike is encouraging the world to get activate and be more activate than ever for that particular day. I am not sure how active I will be as I am in Devon this weekend as we are both being made god fathers to Richards new niece. I am going to take my running kit with me and just might fit in a short run – that’s better than nothing. We’ll be on the road for at least 12 hours over the weekend so the burst of activity may help.
The sponsorship seems to have stopped at present. Please, please, please do sponsor me in aid of Alzheimer’s Society – My First 10K is on the 25th November in Greenwich Park and anything you can offer for this great cause will be gratefully received by them and by me. Please donate.
Most motivating track of this run: Janet Jackson Runaway – Junior’s Factory Mix.
Thanks for the cheers and comments Vicky and Cuelin
Best of luck to the cutest boy to come out of Plymouth since Richard and I!
Seriously though I’d like to wish Tom Daley and all his team mates in Team GB the very best for the Olympic Games.
I also want to say a big hello to Liam Heath as I know Em is missing you and very excited that her number one fella is competing in the 2012 games.
The Olympic torch started its UK journey in Lands End, Cornwall yesterday and ended it’s first day in our home city of Plymouth.
I am really pleased to see such a large turnout and a positive reaction from everyone at home.
I must go and check when it’s due to arrive in Colchester!