Spring has come… or has it?

Maybe I should have expected to find them...

Maybe I should have expected to find them…

Today – in the United Kingdom, that is – the clocks spring forward an hour. A definite sign spring is upon us and a cause to celebrate the arrival of nice weather (More on that later). Whether the weather will stay nice for the next several months… who the hell knows?

Quite delicious...

Quite delicious…

But anyway, my weekend has been quite good. First, Friday night meant the monthly raw food potluck at Mariesa’s place (Unlike my first visit there, I knew where the hell I was going). While there weren’t as many people as there were for January’s raw food potluck (my first) and the gathering at Steve’s place, some interesting personalities nonetheless attended. The first person I met was an iridologist named Sue. Pretty much, she can look into your eyes and tell you about your feelings, health, etc. Sue’s work isn’t the most interesting thing about her, though. Recently, she visited the Amazon regions of Brazil and she showed me some pictures of the indigenous people she met. Unfortunately, toward end of her stay in Brazil, she was bitten by sandflies – she showed me pictures of really nasty bites. Sue didn’t get treatment until she returned to the U.K. but she fortunately seems to be doing fine.

Of course, a big attraction was the food and it was better than at my first two raw food gatherings. I’m not sure if I will totally get into raw food but there was delicious salad, hummus and ice cream. Mariesa made a delicious smoothie with carrots, apples and… I forgot what else. But it was so good 🙂

Mariesa playing the drum with carrot sticks...

Mariesa playing the drum with carrot sticks…

But the best part was the music. Unfortunately, at Steve’s place, there was no music playing. But there always seems to be a bright feeling emanating from Mariesa’s place and she asked me to choose an upbeat song (or something like that). “Everybody Dance” by Chic was the first song that came to my mind as while it may not be the music most associated with “new age” gatherings, we ended up dancing to Chic and Sister Sledge as well as the djembe playing of Dave and Adam. Now we just have to find the kind of music that suits Steve and his abode if we return there.

Adam playing the djembe

Adam playing the djembe

Even better news from the weekend: the next day, I won the ParkRun! Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures from the victorious five kilometres in Hyde Park but for the proof, click here.

Strangely, my vision was blurry – a result of my own stupidity. I inserted the wrong contact lenses (which should have been discarded) that morning, and I was essentially blind during the race. I could make out people around me but I couldn’t see well from a distance. However, after the first loop, I had a feeling it would be my day because I was in contact with the first two runners. That remained the case after the second loop. And during the third loop, I took charge of the race and I won by eight seconds 🙂

(I just wish I hadn’t blinded myself because of my stupidity. I would’ve actually been in a better mood at Opposite after the race).

Where Maxi, Sam and I spent a couple of hours...

Where Maxi, Sam and I spent a couple of hours…

Finally, I went on a bit of a walkabout today. Sam (a current PhD student at Leeds Met and the person who actually introduced me to the Responsible Tourism Management program) organized a nice little walk on the Meanwood Valley Trail, which I was really excited about. Unfortunately, we were only joined by Maxi but her presence was more than enough.

The Meanwood Valley Trail is a relatively short bus ride from Headingley but Sam had told me she actually wasn’t exactly sure where to get off. The only thing she knew was we would getting off next to a big car park. Fortunately, it didn’t take too long to appear.

(While getting on the bus, Sam and I had paid the bus driver £2.70 but as we got off, he gave both of us 50 pence back).

The Meanwood Valley Trail is about a seven mile footpath. The plan wasn’t to walk seven miles – I didn’t know exactly where we’d be going. I was just content follow Sam, who came prepared with a map. The path wasn’t paved and didn’t always venture in a straight line. Actually, we happened to find ourselves on a golf course and asked a golfer how to get back on course…

What a lot of the path was like...

What a lot of the path was like…

Which was often very muddy. Actually, it was quite a lovely day outside as I felt overdressed with a scarf on. Speaking of the weather, Sam said British people tend to get super excited when the weather gets nice. We definitely lucked out in that regard. However, the three of us spent quite a bit of time trying to avoid mud – which wasn’t always possible. I really should have worn hiking books. Then again, I don’t have a spare £100 to buy shoes.

Although we were in the countryside, we finished our route in Headingley and close to where Sam and I boarded the bus. We were all thirsty and hungry, so we went to a nearby pub named the Original Oak. I thought we would be stopping for pizza afterwards but I’m glad we stopped at a pub. Because we ate outside 🙂

Maxi and Sam at the Original Oak

Maxi and Sam at the Original Oak

Because it’s gotten nice enough outside, there were actually people eating and drinking outside on the pub premises. And watching some footy on the telly 🙂 The staff set up a bunch of tables in front of a TV that was showing the Liverpool-Spurs match (Liverpool won 4-0). They’ll probably do the same thing for the World Cup this summer and I’ll certainly have to find such a pub to watch the World Cup (which won’t be hard at all. I just want to find the right one). Anyway, the three of us chatted some more over good food (a veggie burger in my case) and drinks (two of us had cider) and it was a perfect way to end the day.

Now we just have to get the weather gods to cooperate.

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