A turn around Ally Pally

Following my second bout of pulmonary emboli two months ago it’s been a challenge to pick up and hold my Boulevardier head high.

Exercise is so important to me from a health, fitness and mental health point of view. However, I knew it would be a couple of months before I could enjoy being an Active Virgin again.

Between work and Boulevarider duties I’ve struggled to fit in any exercise, and haven’t had the energy either. However, with working days further reduced, and this time on a permanent basis, I decided to propel some energy into a power walk to Alexandra Park and Palace.

I woke with a headache, which seemed to be a theme that week. Assam tea would revive me, it always does.

So after two large mugs of Assam and a bowl of porridge with peach slices I attired in jogging pants, t shirt, hoodie and trainers and set off.

I walked along Park Road and started to get out of breath quite quickly, which is expected. I smiled at the healthier looking joggers coming toward me. I am not sure I completely understand the code of recognition between runners. Last year when I upped my running, or rather progressed from walking as I lost weight, the nods from passing runners increased. I am back to walking and the runners no longer nod at me. I keep smiling however.

There are black railings at the entrance to the park and they also seem to act as a traffic noise barrier. Park Road and the junction with Muswell Hill are so busy and one must endure the constant whoosh of cars along with the associated exhaust fumes. Once beyond the railings the concrete avenue opens up with large swaying trees either side without the vehicular sounds.

One man jogged passed with his spaniel in tow. I smiled but did not get acknowledged.

Ally Pally 2

I walked along the base of the hill and was following the route I would take when running. The trees disappear from one side to reveal the expanse of open fields, and the trees break also on the other side revealing a path directly up to the Palace. The path is steep and I took the turn. The effects of the incline are instant, and walking becomes laboured. I looked up and could see the empty arches of Alexandra Palace in the distance as a red double decker passed the front. It reminded me of an early evening run last November. It was a typical foggy London evening and as I rounded the same corner the yellow of the street lamps thickened the appearance of the fog. In the distance I could see the empty arches and two double deckers passed from different directions. With the dark and the fog vision was restricted and the lights within the buses shining through the window gave a skeletal appearance. Two moving skeletons passed across Alexandra Palace in the dark fog. I wished I had taken a photo.

I made it to the top of the hill and up the two flights of steps and rested, completely out of breath. There were a few tourists taking photos. It doesn’t matter the time of year, there are always people taking photos towards the city.

I moved on, and didn’t pause to skip where I would usually throw the rope under my feet and jump fifty times. I carried on and around the boating pond. Some silly people were feeding the pigeons, geese, ducks and moorhens. Please see one of my previous blogs to understand my feelings for our feathered enemies.

The path then sweeps down toward a wooded area where they are paddocks containing deer. I walked down the slighter slope, turned at the ‘Welcome to Alexandra Park’ sign and walked back up the hill and rounded to the front of the Palace. There was a solitary man conducting or practicing something like Tae Kwando. I am not familiar enough with the gentler martial arts come dance move practices to be certain and name it correctly.

Ally Pally 1

There are four sets of steps and usually I would run up and down three of them a fair quantity of times. This day I decided to climb two sets ten times and another twenty. On the third set there was an older lady who had paused for breath or to take in the view and we smiled at each other.

‘I should try something like that. It looks like fun!’ she said.

‘It is.’ I responded trying to smile, sound friendly and not out of breath while trying not to fall on the step. I am not the best multi-tasker.

Earlier in the year when running the same route with my friend Marina we encountered a small film crew at the first set of steps who suggested we move along quickly as they were filming. It was delivered with an air of self-importance. Marina started to move on and I gently pulled her back and announced.

‘We’re fine thank you. We only have twenty sets to do and then we’ll be out of your way.’

Marina and I smiled at each other knowingly. They were being unreasonable and we would only be a few minutes. We completed our sets nodded politely at the three strong crew and moved along. Indeed we would have made a fine addition to their film.

I walked back down the steep part of the hill and along the avenue before joining the throngs of Park Road.

I was pleased with my effort and so glad to have such a London landmark and heavenly vista within a short walk of home.

I walked into Crouch End and purchased swede, carrots, onions and beef for a winter stew which would heat in the slow cooker.