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A wet morning run with my son.

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Posted by Tony on June 25, 2021 at 19:31:20

My eldest boy, Alfie, and I like to go for an early morning run to start off the day. Sometimes son no. 2, Jerry, likes to come along as well, but usually he has been up too late playing PS2 games with his mates to be awake, dressed and ready to go at 6 a.m., which is when Alfie likes to set out. Alfie has always been an early riser; an hour later would be fine with me but there’s no arguing with him and I would rather go with him than set out on my own just as he gets home.

Alfie is into his sportswear and would happily wear it 24/7 if he could. He also likes the colour black, so everything he wears apart from his school uniform is black these days, but I guess that is 16 year-olds for you. He is also an almost unbearably 100% happy all the time, nothing ever seems to upset him and he enjoys life even when things are quiet and there’s nothing much doing. Which is great: I just wish that sometimes he’d get upset or irritated by the actions of others – like his younger brothers for instance – but, no, he just sails on either blithely unaware or faintly amused. His mum and I are not sure if this attitude bodes well for his future prospects, but maybe we worry too much. After all, he could be a complete “teenage nightmare” like the kids of some of our friends.

So Sunday morning seemed bright but faintly cloudy when I woke sometime before 5 a.m. and I lay in bed for a bit watching the sunlight as it gradually dimmed as more cloud appeared. It was still bright but uniformly grey when I got up and pulled on my running shorts and tee. I like the Adidas recycled polyester range of kit, it’s comfortable and lightweight and I have shorts in red and navy blue and tees in black, white and bright blue. So I grabbed the red shorts and white tee and headed downstairs after a quick wash and brushing of hair to look reasonably tidy.

Alfie was already waiting for me, kitted out in black shorts, black tee, black trainers and socks. He cuts a fine figure being almost six foot tall and very thin but has developed lots of muscles from going to the school gym regularly. Like me he has a love of swimming and has a swimmer’s body shape of broad shoulders, muscular upper body and a slim waist with strong thighs and long legs. He is a couple of inches taller than I was at his age, so I’m sure he will get to my 6ft 4in in due course before he stops growing.

Alfie was looking at his phone as I slipped on my trainers.

“Morning dad” Alfie smiled “Weather is going to turn wet very shortly. Happy to get a soaking this morning? The clouds are turning darker towards the park already.”

“Oh well, if we get wet, we get wet – saves on the hot water bills having a shower when we get home!” I joked.

“There’s never normally any hot water left after Jerry and George have been in the bathroom anyway – welcome to my world, dad.” Alfie laughed.

“Why didn’t you say before? We can do something to sort that hot water supply out, even if it’s just putting in a bigger tank. I’ll speak to them anyway, they should be more considerate.”

“That’s alright – I like a cold shower anyway. It would just be nice to have some hot water for shaving when I need to. I have told them to go easy and it works for maybe a couple of days and then it’s back to cold only again. I don’t blame them, I like nice long showers too.”

(This lad really is too nice for his own good!)

So we set out on our run. We have a couple of routes around the streets before they both reach our local park which is the grounds of a long-demolished stately home and is now largely rolling grass fields that now have football and cricket pitches on them as well as meandering footpaths and some substantial woodlands that stretch for a couple of miles or more away from the town. Our usual run must be some six miles in total and takes about an hour, nothing too strenuous but enough to set you up for the day.

We had just arrived at the park when it started to rain.

“Told you we’d get wet, dad!” Alfie laughed as he sped up a bit.

I enjoy running in the rain, it seems to enhance all the smells of mown grass and the fresh smell of the tree and shrubs in the park. And I like the feel of my cool wet shorts and tee brushing and clinging o my skin as I run. Alfie is the same and he gets a bigger grin on his face the wetter he gets. Twenty minutes into our run we were both soaked through and Alfie’s shorts and tee were looking decidedly shiny the wetter and wetter he got, as were my shorts, whereas my white tee was looking a bit transparent, not a great look when you are knocking on 40 even when you are fit.

Twenty minutes later as we approached the 2/3rds point in our run and were almost back at the open park area we were both visibly dripping wet with hair plastered to our heads and wet shorts flapping around our thighs. I was enjoying it and Alfie seemed, as always, happy to be out in the rain as well. It was then that there was flash of lightening and fraction of a second later a huge clap of thunder. Quickly followed by another. And then the rain really hammered down, so hard in its ferocity, it was almost painful.

We were well out in the open and with nowhere to shelter when the next lightening struck, this time we saw it strike a small tree on the island in the middle of the park’s lake – no more than 200 yards from where we were. The thunder from that strike was instantaneous.

“Down on the ground Alfie, flat as you can and stay there.” I told him.

“What?” Alfie asked looking at me.

“Do as I say, boy! Now!” and I pushed him down.

We lay flat on the wet ground as the storm flashed and crashed around us, it seemed to be going in circles and the lightening and thunder were indistinguishable from each other as far as time went, so we must have been in the centre of it. It was awesome to watch, but not a little scary.

I looked round at Alfie next to me. We’d lain flat on our faces but Alfie had now turned on his back and was looking up at the sky.

“What the hell …………..?” I said as I watched him.

“Look at the storm, dad, this is incredible – nature in all it’s majesty! Absolutely incredible……” Alfie said loudly, and he waved an arm around.

“Bloody hell – do you want to get struck by lightening!” I said as I grabbed his arm just as another blinding flash of lightening accompanied by a sizzling crash sounded out. I shut my eyes to the flash and when I opened them again I glanced at Alfie to see him laughing as he lay on the grass, soaked to the skin, his shorts and tee plastered to his body and noticed he was rather too obviously enjoying the experience.

We lay on our backs as the rain poured over us and the thundery storm very slowly moved away. When there was a gap of a few seconds between flash and thunder, I said I thought we should get a move on. We stood up and looked around.

“Wow, that was fantastic! I’ve never experienced that sort of thing before. Have you ever been in a storm like that before, dad?” Alfie asked.

“No. You enjoyed that didn’t you?” I laughed “You know you can be a bit weird at times, son? Better to think about self-preservation as a priority rather than enjoying the spectacle in future …..”

“Are you annoyed with me? Sorry ….. I just found it very exciting to be in the middle of it as it happened.”

“So I noticed – let’s get home before anyone sees you.” I joked.

Alfie looked down at his clingy sodden, clothes. “We’re runners who’ve got wet – it’s what people expect to see, dad! Don’t be so paranoid – half the people in the world are like us …… nobody’s bothered!”

So that was me told.

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