Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Mitcham Street Event

It's been a few weeks since my last blog post, but little of real note has happened. The weather is warming up sporadically and the daylight lasts longer, so that's good. The summer programme of Park and Street events is now under way and the longer evenings mean that we can visit bits of parkland which have been off-limits to the likes of me with a five dollar BigW headtorch.

So Pat and I find ourselves at the Wednesday evening Mitcham event. After a day of 30 degree temperatures, the weather is cooling down as rain clouds gather. Pat takes my watch to help her judge the time on her walking course, with a max of 65 minutes and penalties for lateness, she doesn't want to get it wrong.

For my own part, I have a limp (in both legs, if that's possible) after my Monday run (I use this word in its loosest sense), so decide to attempt the E course. This is just like the A course, but there's a lot less of it. The A course requires that most controls be visited, whereas the E needs a humble 6. Any 6 will do. I decide on a clockwise route with the idea of finishing with 17. I fail to notice that this final control is not as near the finish as it looks. Never mind.

Straight through the park to the south east, and past the invisible swamp. The description is 'Illegible Exercise Equipment Sign North of Track' - I am beginning to feel information overload already. I am accompanied by boys from Camberwell Grammar School, but there is no sign of my son, Mark, who teaches there. I trot on round to 18 and then stagger up the hill to 19. I meet a man walking his dog in the park. "He won't bite you." Why do they always say that? I leave this small park to the north and go right at the crossroads to the next park. This is really nice.

I head for the culvert at control 2 and then cross the track heading for 16. We had been warned by the organiser not to stray from the paths in this area, but one look into the thick undergrowth is enough to warn me away. If anyone goes in there, they'll never be seen again. I find the vague path along the rear of the gardens and then head uphill to 17. Should have gone down and round. Never mind.

I finish in less than half an hour, so I clearly could have done a bit more. I shall promote myself to the D course next time. Pat is not due for some time, so I amuse myself by revisiting controls 2 and 16, and then go and have a look at 20. I am surprised by several people following me, even though I'm just wandering really. Back to the finish and Pat returns glowing, with five minutes to spare. We compare experiences and eventually head off home.

I really like these daylight evenings trotting through the parks, even though my legs are struggling a bit. Two runs in three days is definitely a bit much. I shall have a few days rest, then get out there again at the weekend.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Doncaster Heights

There have been no orienteering events to go to for a few weeks, and we've been busy moving house, and my legs are dodgy anyway, but we decide to do a street event just round the corner. When it's a warm evening and you only live a few minutes away, you should walk, but we don't. The car park is overflowing as we arrive with 10 minutes to spare. The nearer you live, the later you get. It's not even dark, as Pat and I register for the Score event around Doncaster Heights. I don't like the sound of that name.

Darkness falls at 7pm prompt and we're off. Soon the clocks will go forward and the torches will be put away. Across the footie field, lit up like daylight, I turn off my head torch. I pick out the 5 high scoring controls and link them together to give us an hours walk. I don't know why, but I always seem to prefer a clockwise route. Which way would I go in the northern hemisphere, I wonder?

Looking up, we pick out the stars of the Southern Cross in a cloudless sky. A garden pole flies a patriotic flag with the same pattern. It is 20 degrees plus and I feel overdressed in T-shirt and shorts. 17 - 8 - 12 - 20 is my first plan and then 6 - 18 - 11 - 13.

There are more barking dogs than usual tonight. Perhaps their owners have shut them out to enjoy the evening. Determined to collect 19, we stop by 3 on the way. I must get some solar lights for the garden; they are everywhere. Time is running out now and we head for home via 7 and 16.

Despite the warmth, not a bead of perspiration has dampened my shirt. Nevertheless, my legs are wobbly and cramp sets into my aging joints. I still haven't got the hang of the climate in Melbourne. I resolve to carry water next time, and even to drink it.