A New Year’s Day Walk

January 2nd 2007

“Shall we go for a walk?” I said to The Trouble yesterday. “We usually do on New Year’s Day.”
She looked doubtfully through the window. “The weather looks a bit dodgy don’t you think?”
She was right, it did look dodgy, the skies as murky and grey as an Afghan’s underpants . But I fancied a walk and bravado triumphed over common sense. “No, I’ve seen it like this before,” I said confidently. “I’m sure it won’t rain for hours.”
“I’ll get my oilskin and sou’wester,” said The Trouble, with her usual lack of faith in my judgement.
She didn’t put on her oilskin and sou’wester, she hasn’t got either, she was just being facetious, but she did put on waterproof clothing and Wellington boots. I should have done the same, but I couldn’t very well without looking face, having said that the weather would remain fine.
We set off walking on the nature trail to the village of Hayfield about two miles away. The trail used to be a railway line before Dr Beeching wielded his axe and is fairly straight and flat, and set as it is in picturesque surroundings it makes an excellent short walk.
The surface, usually prone to be a bit muddy, had been newly laid with crushed limestone, which was being put to the test by quite a few youngsters who had obviously been given mountain bikes for Christmas. The ‘in’ colour this year for childrens’ mountain bikes would seem to be a sort of purple, which in a couple of instances matched the colour of the perspiring faces of the parents who were trying manfully to keep up with their offspring.
About forty minutes later we arrived in Hayfield. We turned round to head back and we hadn’t walked more than a hundred yards when the heavens opened.
“Probably just a shower,” I said, more in hope than expectation.
The Trouble gave me a sweet smile, took her rain hat from her pocket and pulled it down over her head.
It rained every step of the way home. Poured down. If Noah had still been around he would have started building another ark. The newly laid crushed limestone very soon turned into, if not a quagmire, then at the very least a quag. Walking on it was like trying to walk through treacle.
On the way we met the returning bicycling families. Except that now the parents had dismounted and were not only pushing their cycles but those of their children as well. Little Brad and Britney were trailing some yards behind them either crying or moaning
I couldn’t have been more wet if I’d jumped in the lake that borders part of the trail. Plus I was at least two stones heavier due to the fact that I had on a fleece under which I was wearing a woollen sweater. If there is anything more absorbent than a fleece and a woollen sweater it is a pair of denim jeans, which I was also wearing.
I don’t know if anyone has ever calculated how much water a pair of jeans can soak up but if it is anything less than a decent sized reservoir I’d be greatly surprised. The man who invents denim tampons will make a fortune. I can see the TV commercial now. ‘Super absorbent AND a fashion statement!’
Lugging two extra stones for two miles while literally soaked to the skin is not to be recommended, especially when accompanied by someone relatively dry who keeps saying things like ‘I told you I didn’t like the look of the weather’ and ‘You should have worn your waterproofs’. So by the time I arrived home I was thoroughly pissed off as well as being pissed on. Happy New Year! 

Thanks to all the people who have bought my books. I hope the post at this time of year isn’t holding them up for too long. I really appreciate your support and hope you enjoy reading them.

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Terry Ravenscroft, 19 Ventura Court, Ollersett Avenue, New Mills, High Peak, SK22 4LL

Dear Air 2000

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