Last week, I took a break from work.
Committment to my New Year’s Resolution (to improve my diet) is wavering. But I’m still committed enough to resist my usual break-time activity (burying my snout in the biscuit tub). So a thirty minute stroll down the lane and a quick circuit round some fields seemed like a good idea. Right?
(This is the countryside, and one of the big benefits is lots of fresh air, bucolic walks and exercise. Right?)
My trusty green wellies saw me through the slough of mud and flood water. However, I hadn’t bargained for broken ROW signs, padlocked gates and a cunningly disguised Jersey bull.
(I’m OK with cows, heifers and most other life forms. Random bulls though are a bit different. If I’d had my proper glasses on, I’d probably have spotted the horns on top of what I thought was just a large muck heap. I would never have entered the field in the first place. As it was, Mr Big Horns was slumped in front of the gate like some great lumbering bovine Cerberus. I backed away, slowly, doing my best Steve Backshall impression. I prayed that my wellies wouldn’t get stuck in the mud and that my Miss Dior would mask the scent of raw fear.)
As a destressor, the walk was proving to be less than successful. With so many detours, it was also taking a lot longer than thirty minutes.
Lost, I unfurled my OS map, which now had almost as much muck and manure on it as my boots. It started to rain. Heavily. (It’s been doing that around here recently. A lot). The map had turned to pulp. I put it back into my pocket. Its mapness gone, I wondered if there was any point, carrying around something that was now part clay, part papier mâché,
I was also very late. The rain had eased, the sun was making a rare guest appearance. I noticed how low it was in the sky. Dusk was on its way. I ploughed on, adopting a more relaxed approach to the Countryside Code. I negotiated two more blocked paths, and a broken stile, discovering I can no longer swing my leg higher than my waist. I silently cursed local feudalism and made a mental note to e-mail the Council’s ROW officer when I got back.
Exhausted, I paused. I looked back at the setting sun and breathed in. Perhaps it was worth it, afterall.