Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Unspecial Day

This morning I woke up, had a cup of tea, a bowl of cereal, a hot shower, settled down to the paper and enjoyed the rhythmic pattering sound of the rain against the paving stones.

I'd done my long run yesterday, giving me that deep sense of relaxation, of earned rest and lingering pride, enhanced by the tiniest niggling ache in my thigh and a dull pain in my second toe – the nail of which slowly turning a deep (and triumphant!) shade of purple.

Later, when the rain eased, I bundled up against the December chill and braved the shops of west London. Just ten sleeps until Christmas after all. Let’s get down to business.

I felt as if my skin fitted my body snug like a glove, my joints felt oiled, bones strong, muscles relaxed, and I was inwardly applauding my decision to take off no special Monday, for no special reason.

I floated along High Street Kensington, sauntering in to shops seeing price tags and darting out, chuckling in a slightly mad way, sipping tea in a takeaway cup, smiling at pram-pushing women, folder-schlepping students, winking construction workers and all the other souls, fortunate enough to be enjoying this morning; this no special Monday.


At the weekend I saw one of my closest friends, bearing the news that in January, she will be undergoing some medical tests to rule out a potentially serious – and life-threatening if not treated - health condition.

Her personality is like sunshine and she has an infectious smile, and even though I'm convinced all the tests will come back clear, her news reminded me of just how vulnerable we are and how important it is to savour every day - however ordinary, however mundane, however unspecial.

So that's what I did today: I sat in a cafe and watched the wealthy waft from boutique to boutique, I gave money to a Big Issue seller, picked up a toddler's dropped glove and handed it back to his stressed mother before starting conversation with somebody’s grandmother in the queue at the post office.

If she were to send the parcel first class, I assured her, it was most likely to reach her granddaughter by Christmas Day.
 And yes, I am sure she will like the socks, I do know how awfully cold it can get in University accommodation at this time of year.

Later - chased by the rain - I returned home, lit candles, chatted to my mother on the phone, wrapped presents, sang along to Christmas songs, drank more tea, ate biscuits and revelled in the thought of my sister’s eyes when she unwraps the new *deleted* I’ve bought her.

When the playlist ended and the wrapping paper ran out, I headed out again, armed this time with an umbrella.

I meandered along the streets, completely dark now, catching glimpses of sparkling Christmas trees in cosy sitting rooms, children playing with nannies or finishing up homework, pots of goodness bubbling on stoves and cats sleeping next to radiators. Good evening London.


As I write, I'm sitting on a couch, in a local coffee shop/lounge/bar, Amy Winehouse on the stereo. Scattered around the room are couples and groups of twos and threes, some talking in measured voices – “Oh really? I love running too!” – others dissecting deeper issues about life and love – “I can’t believe he didn’t call? What was he thinking?”

It’s lashing now, droplets hammering against the window pane and puddles splashing onto the pavements as cars pass. Outside people are bundled under umbrellas, ducking into doorways and trying to hail cabs, even though none seem to have their lights on.

Seeing the stiletto clad girls’ contorted face as a passing van drenches her toes, make mine feel all the more dry and warm in their ski socks and chunky boots.

It’s been a blissful rest day, for both my tired body and worn out mind and as I sink a little deeper into the couch, pour a last cup of tea, see a couple embracing beneath the street lamp and a spirited shorts-and-T-shirt-wearing runner brace the elements, I realise that unspecial days, in their own special way, really are the most special of all.

May 2014 bring plenty more special unspecial days to all my running and non-running friends.

Merry Christmas. 


  1. Beautifully written, and so true :)

  2. Thanks eurogirl! Always nice to get feedback :-) Have a great Christmas and see you in Brighton! x

  3. I really love this post. It sounds like you had a really beautiful, meaningful and peaceful day. Thank you for sharing it! I do try to keep focused on the little things, and take pleasure in the mundane, yet important acts that fill my days. It doesn't always happen though, and I can get caught up in stress and obligation and workload. Thank you for reminding me of what is truly important!

  4. Thanks for the reply :-) have a wonderful Christmas.

  5. Aww, I just saw this and love it. Totally relatable. Beautifully written. :) xx