99 red balloons, floating in the summer sky
Panic bells it's red alert
There's something here from somewhere else.
The war machine springs to life, Opens up one eager eye
Focusing it on the sky as 99 red balloons go by
If you are of a certain age (like me) you will remember the 1984 hit by Nena '99 Red Ballons'. It reminds me of that Cold War era, and in particular the Peace Camps established at Greenham Common, Thatcham. From 1983, peace protesters camped at the site to draw attention to the cruise missiles based there. At times, 70,000 people like you and me made human chains from there to the atomic weapons research centre at Aldermaston. The last protesters left after 16 years in 2000. I'd like to say that we now live in a safer world.
Today the airbase is closed, the cruise missles have long gone, and the airbase is returning to nature. It is a beautiful area of common-land offering spectacular views over Berkshire and (possibly) north Hampshire. It is also the home of Newbury Park Run and tonight I went there to have a cheeky, sneaky peak at the course. I ran the 5km course during my 28 minute W8r3 and now know that it is flat, good underfoot, a bit windy and has a fabulous setting. And I know that I can manage it.
My post-graduation plans will 100% include a trip to Newbury Park Run. Bring it on!