The old family homestead is an inter-war semi-detached and rather solid and compact building set on the main Coventry to Birmingham Road. The district of Sheldon forms a sort of a bridgehead between the brassy Second City and the sophisticated and aloof Solihull. Falling between the two it totally fails to have any defining character of its own; it is completely unremarkable other than for the fact that its nondescript pubs between them can’t offer a pint of Real Ale. That said, the old family local The Three Horse Shoes is presently serving a refreshing pint of mild for a recession-busting £1.49 which means that one can afford a proper bag of Walsall pork scratchings with each pint.

There is the option of running through the well-appointed Sheldon Country Park but the grass is pretty soggy right now. Instead I head in the opposite direction. This takes one through quiet suburban roads and a pleasant park, over the railway line and the Grand Union Canal to the Warwick Road. Beyond this is the seriously posh district of Olton which is within Solihull Borough. Nice leafy lanes and roads, speed bumps everywhere to slow down oiks that might be passing through, expensive residences set back in grassy and well-tended gardens. Solihull has been this posh for as long as I can remember. It has a feel of ‘old money’ and therefore doesn’t offend in the least. Fellow pedestrians are pleasant, cars are courteous to the visiting plodder, dogs are as well brought up as their owners.

Six miles is the target and the outrun takes me through to the Stratford Road where the Garmin says three miles. I turn for home and try to pick it up a little. Less than an hour, average pace 9.48m/m. OK for a training run though of course I’d want to be down below 9m/m in race mode. A couple of days later I repeat the run in 9.38 m/m.

On Thursday I was in Milton Keynes. Having arrived ridiculously early for my appointment I repaired to nearby Willen Lake, an impressive man-made affair which is a great leisure facility for the area. It is also (I remembered) a regular running ground for Charlotte Dutch – see bloglist for Following Charlie. Although there were several runners around none of them was in fact Charlie, who seems to have disappeared off the running/blogging scene again – I hope only temporarily.