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Tuesday, 3 May 2011

MAY 2011: exemplary septuagenarian

At 4am, in the darkness of night, we worked among the trees of the park to make all ready for a Festival sunrise launch to write a blog about.

As we stood in a biting wind on the Lawn Woods ridge looking down the valley onto Queen's Drive, at 5.31, on the horizon between the Tower Blocks of Park South, the top curve of an orange orb appeared and, spontaneously, we burst into song. 'The sun is rising, the sun is rising, as it has since our time began, as it has since our time began.'

We proceeded to have the kind of fun you cannot help having in the rising sun. Never mind the icy wind, enjoy! Watch the pipers, singers, jugglers, rope walkers, aerialists, dramatists, hoopists, and poetists. And furthermore, a champagne book launch at dawn, in this case of Domestic Cherry, is, we discovered, the way to sell good books.please see:

By midday, the Festival crew had crossed town, to Swindon’s lovely Lydiard Park, for walk and talk. Walking wonder Cheryl, in yellow, did both, like a mother hen taking her chicks on an adventure, making sure they went the best way, saw the best bits, and did not get lost. We loved being looked after while getting the good thoughts that only come when the body is in motion, walking.  In the indoor talk, Maggie and Les took us on another adventure, of the  walker’s mind.

Next came running, and, in their inimitable style, Swindon’s brilliant Parkrun crew organised a Freedom parkrun (or another hard 5km slog by any other name ) for more than 70 of us Bank Holiday runners, and our guest speakers too.

After refreshments, of Lower Shaw Farm drinks and home-made runner-shaped biscuits, we sat down to an air-conditioned talk. Parkrun-founder Paul told us how this phenomenal phenomenon came about and inspired us with his vision, of free park running. Next, running legend Bruce Tulloh both entertained and inspired us in his way, which included tips for running over 40, over 50, and over 60; and he, an exemplary septuagenarian.  Words of wisdom too, like this. You can fool yourself in many things in life but not in running.

And then, in an early evening breeze, we all went for a bike ride, with Rob Penn, and enjoyed his round-the-world-round-the-bike-I-love-bikes talk, as a result of which, all his books were bought.

What a lovely long first day, doing it, being it, feeling, hearing it, and talking about it. Love Literature, and Life? We do! MATT HOLLAND

And Shaun Butler wrote this wonderful report on his experiences of the first day of the Swindon Festival of Literature 2011:

The Wonders of walking for Health and Well-being

After an invigorating 20 minutes walking in the beautiful grounds of Lydiard Park, Maggie Humphreys pronounced 'The longest journey begins with just 1 step.' She gave the benefits of healthy eating and walking for fitness, health and stress relief. 'The New Walking Diet' , her book detailed a 7 day plan to restore energy and fitness levels. A controlled metabolic rate brings psychological and physiological improvement.
Les Snowdon referred to literary figures who composed auspicious work while walking and musing. Wordsworth, Shelley, Hippocratus, Travellyan,
R.L. Stevenson and famously the Bard himself, Bill Shakespeare.
Cheryl Heyne, the working for Health co-ordinator left us with her father's poem promoting walking for everyone.
                                                          Life is a journey we all take
                                                          Fate deals us the mode of transport
                                                          The only part that is our reward
                                                          Is the pleasure of those who travel with us
                                                          Thank you for your company.

Photography Jill Carter