Caddisfly

I don’t like glace cherries. I never have. Fresh cherries have an odd taste anyway. Preserving them with sugar syrup or embalming them or whatever they do with them to make them inviolable like that does nothing to improve them as far as I’m concerned. Glace cherries are the winnets of the preserved fruit world. There are tastier things dangling from round the arseholes of sheep.

Yesterday was my last day as event director at Wimpole Estate parkrun. I have had the privilege of being at the heart of a wonderful community. I’ve built that community round me like a caddisfly larva builds its protective shield. The silk is creative swearing and there are pebbles and bits of weed and they’re represented by the friends and dogs and dogs of friends and the sheep and cows and geese and ducks and gorgeous children and they’ve all kept me safe and sane when my world has been coming apart.

Now I’ve left it behind. In a way. It’s its own thing now. I’ll be part of it and I’ll let someone else feel the love the way I have. I am not good at accepting praise. It embarrasses me. I deflect it or dismiss it with a joke. It’s not important to me. What is important to me is a sense of mutual respect and I am grateful to have had the chance to set the tone of our community if I’ve even done that much. I prefer to think I’ve let others do the touchy-feely stuff while I’ve been just the right side of misanthropic for sanity.

Yesterday was still mildly surreal. I didn’t want any fuss but Chris was never going to let me get away easily. He stood up and was warm and effusive and I was mildly embarrassed at the attention. It’s never been about me, it’s always been about the runners and that special landscape we run through and about the community we’ve become. He gave me a National Trust goody bag which is why I wittered on about glace cherries. They’re in a cake, an otherwise remarkably lovely fruit cake which I started with a cup of tea this afternoon. They’re the only disappointment in a day full of delights and I can pick them out of the cake if I really have to.

I’m a lucky, lucky man. I have friends and health, a roof over my head, food in the larder, the love of an excellent woman, a cat on my lap whenever I want one and sometimes when I don’t. I don’t need an artificial shell.

Good luck to Colm Crowley. You have a remarkable thing to curate and I know it’s going to change and grow and develop and continue to be a place where friends can inspire and be awesome for one another.

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