OKay, in the light of a most banana shaped day (details not necessary, too blummin’ depressing/frustrating) I am going to indulge myself. At a ridiculously late time of night, when I should be going to bed, I am going to thumb my nose at the need to be awake at work tomorrow and re-visit my favourite place on the ‘Looking after myself’ week-end. Care to join me…?
On the Saturday evening, after a most relaxing day of nothing much, I decided to go for a walk. It was a balmy summer evening, with a gentle breeze, some remaining warmth and that beautiful quality of light that you get around 8pm in the mid-summer. I told Mum and Dad that I was off, that I had not got a watch and did not know when I would be back. Dad offered me his watch, to which I replied, "No thanks. I have my own one here, but I am deliberately not wearing it." This is a strategy I occasionally adopt as a way of saying to myself that, at this point, time doesn’t matter.
I headed up a familiar lane, which I walked many times when Nan (my Mum’s Mum) lived in the bungalow that my folks now inhabit. I crossed over the railway bridge and looked down on the line that the steam train runs along, remembering how I would walk along the cutting before they reinstated the line. Happily, I moved on.
Checking there was no-one around to wonder at the strange spectacle of a 30-something woman meandering to and fro, apparantly at random, I indulged my childhood passion – looking at things! Tiny flowers of orange and yellow, with a most amazing shape, nestling in the hedgerows, their understated beauty unnoticed by most. I noticed, and appreciated them. I even told them so! Fluffy seed heads of various grasses that I would delight in stripping as a child and any number of different shapes and sizes of leaves. And this was all before I climbed the stile into the field.
The footpath sign bore the destination Corfe Castleand it wasn’t lying. In the hazy distance the castle could be seen, standing proudly on the horizon. As I ventuted towards it, I revelled in the sight of the rolling fields before it and the backdrop of a gentle pink sunset. Such was my contentment that I did not bother to resist the infantile impulse to charge down the slope to my right. Wheeeeeeeeee! I think I even laughed out loud.
On arrival at the next stile, I climbed over and decided just to sit for a while. My feet had been bare for some time, having felt stifled in my trainers, and I revelled in the feel of the wood of the stile under their soles. I closed my eyes and simply listened for a while. Bees, birdsong, the gentle ‘moo’ of a distant cow and the sound of children laughing and playing not too far away. Even the occasional swoosh of a car on the road at the bottom of the valley did not spoil the resonance. I added my own contibution, too, in the form quietly singing to myself.
The song did not stop when I got up and walked on, it just became a little louder and more lively. I traversed the next field with a slight spring in my step. As I neared the far side, I heard a little voice crying a plaintive ‘Help!’ It was not distressed, more the sound of somebody having trouble crossing a stile. This was soon followed by the same voice shouting gleefully ‘Hooray! Hooray! I’m free!’ I turned to see a lass of no more than ten years old, skipping beside her mother with her arms outstretched. It made me smile. Alot.
On entering the next field, I checked there was no-one in sight. Then, tentatively at first, I experimented with the ‘Hooray! Hooray! I’m free!’ chant. It became louder, I became a little bolder and ventured to spread my arms expansively. This was successful, I did not feel TOO silly, so I skipped a little. Yes, you did read that correctly. I skipped. Hehehe! The chant then became a very simple song with some blatantly obvious rhymes and, by the time I had finished, I was giving it the whole ‘Sound of Music’ vibe. I would have died if anybody had seen me, but they didn’t, so I live to tell the tale. In full, glorious, tecnicolour embarrasing detail. Then again, how will anyone benefit if I am not honest? Go on, have a laugh at my daftness. You have my full permission. In fact, I give you permission to be daft yourself – be silly with a child to make it look legitimate if you would feel more comfortable that way (winks at Lanark), but, please, make time for Fun.
At the edge of this field was a campsite (poss containing a Smudgelet on manouevres?) so I took that as an opportunity to turn back. The return journey contained more nature appreciation, singing and general childlike glee. The headlong run was repeated, this time ending with my crashing into one of those cylindrical straw bales – just to see what it felt like. Quite soft, actually! (Okay, so I did that twice. First time with hands outstretched to break fall in case unpleasant. Having discovered bale to be surprisingly squishy, I did not bother with my hands on the second go. Thumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthumpsquodge!)
The return route encompassed a little in the way of railway tresspassing – don’t do this at home children. Actually quite safe, worry not! After walking along the platform, smelling the roses and releasing the scent of the herbs by crushing them between finger and thumb, I ended up in the Village Hall field. This used to have a climbing frame, which was far too much of a challenge for a young Dith, and also a couple of swings. The old frame and swings are gone, but the far corner of the field is home to a little playground. My bum turned out not to be too wide for the slide, but I think friction was against me. The swing was fun tho. Did you know that if you lean right back you can see the horizon behind you, upside down, quickly followed by the one in front of you, the correct way up? Woooaaahh. Also discovered that I am a little to wide to effectively carry out the ‘twizzle the chain and untwirl’ manouevre any longer. Ah well, I certainly swung higher than I ever did as a kid. Never have mastered the jumping off trick, tho. Bottled it that time, as always 🙂
The Village Hall is next to the bungalow so, having swung sufficiently, I returned to the family. By that time, it was about 10pm. Around 2 hours of complete self-indulgent contentment. Not bad, eh?
See, TJ, all you need is time and space (and not necessarily in such vast quantities, a few mins here and there will do. What’s more, you have a kid, so you don’t have to make sure no-one is looking! 😉