Perfect Blue
Kona Macphee
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Commentary: Summer morning why

Moving to Scotland has had various impacts on my life, but one of the biggest has been on the amount of exercise I do. Although I've always liked walking, I rarely got around to it when I lived in central Cambridge. Now that I'm somewhere more rural, and much more scenic, the motivation to get out is bigger, and the payoff greater. However, the best incentive for a vigorous morning walk or run is provided by our dog, a tall, glossy, mixed-breed critter whom we adopted shortly after moving here. She's quite lazy - an hour's morning run will have her asleep until dinnertime - but she does need her daily exercise. If she doesn't get it, she'll wander disconsolately from room to room in a cloud of piteous sotto voce whimpering - and Lugubrious Dog is the world's second most concentration-disrupting noise after Crying Baby.)

For a former couch potato like me, the best thing about exercise - apart from the delicious novelty of actually getting fit! - is the effect it has on one's morale. Running, in particular, has made me a much more sanguine person than I've ever been before. It's wonderful to come home after an early run and start my morning's work feeling endorphined and inspired - and the beauty of the countryside I'm running through makes me feel glad and grateful every single day.

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