Well that was strange. Firstly no Laura to hold my hand, I miss her *wail* Then I'd decided to run late in the evening so I was still (fairly) full of my specialty "what's left in the fridge" veg curry. It was never going to be more than a pootle of a run. Finally I thought I'd try one of the Headspace runs that Mrs Nike Run Club has on offer. I know a thing or two about meditation (being a budding Contemplative) so I was expecting mindfulness but instead I got a couple of blokes wittering on at each other about Mr Headspace's business. Hmmm.
I plodded on in the gathering gloom, along the mill stream, dodging the blobs of midges and a pack of cyclists returning from an outing. Then over the lock, where Laura (sob) used to be drowned out by the weir.. (I never got to hear what she was saying at that point). Past the lock house and the moored up narrowboats, past the person with the annoyingly loud generator, trying to be, er.. mindful, instead of being distracted by Mr Headspace rabbiting on. A cuckoo calling in the distance - fab.
Then I stopped in my tracks. The big meadow which the previous farmer had left for set-aside and where I'd first brought my children to watch barn owls, which should have been deep in flowering grasses, clover, ox-eye daisies and no doubt voles, had been mown. Mown, right at the time when the owls need to hunt continuously to feed their chicks. In fact the farmer appeared to have mown everything within sight, as if trying to turn Oxfordshire into a giant lawn. All except one last patch of meadow tucked behind the backwater, where quartering up and down was... a barn owl.
At this point I'm afraid I put Mr Headspace on pause and merged into the grasses to watch. Barn Owls are amongst my favourite birds and you can be very close if you're still enough. I love running but I'm afraid I love Barn Owls more.
(You'll be relieved to know that I resumed the irritating "mindfulness" thing to check it really was as disappointing as it appeared and ran home, but what a peculiar run).