Desperately in need of a chance to reconnect with the land, with
my feet, even with my boots
the part of my brain that comes here too – I took myself out for a long, long overdue
walk this morning. Blimey, I needed that.
I take a familiar route, but enjoy noticing unfamiliar things.
Down the path at the side of the field, looking down, I take
care to avoid falling down shallow holes.
Some have been rather curiously filled in with rubble and stones.
What’s that all about?
Actually I do know. My neighbour
P – a fantastically youthful 80-year old who still drives around in her black
sports car – explained it the last time I walked this route and met her.
“It’s J and his metal detector”, she’d said. Oh, I’ve seen him with that! Bless him. With the mind of a 7-year old in the short,
squat body of a 60-year old who wears very
bad trousers, J is quite a local character.
I think his metal detector is probably one of those ‘Power Rangers’
models as once featured in an episode of ‘Detectorists’. And I don’t believe he’s ever found anything
interesting with it, but he does at least remember to “always fill in your hole”. Rather badly, though.
“Did you ever see him with his long black lace gloves?” P
had asked after we’d discussed J’s treasure-hunting exploits. I hadn’t.
“He used to wear them all the time…,” she continued, “…even asked me if I wanted to try them on
I keep walking, thinking about J with his metal detector, pushing
broken bricks into shallow holes with stubby fingers clad in goth girl
At the bottom of the hill I double back, head up the other
side towards the church.
There’s a lovely, pretty row of old houses here, roofs all different heights,
roses and jasmine round doorways and porches, a vast stretch of green in front
of them. A couple of estate agent signs
and the line of cars parked along one side are the only indication of the
century we’re in. Then my attention is
drawn to the broken wing mirror on the ground.
Next I notice a front windscreen and the intricate spiderweb pattern of
its shattered glass. And then the side
window, completely smashed in. Oh, and
then the other side window too… both back windows… and the whole of the rear
windscreen of the shiny black estate car, totally devoid of glass. A
little magic tree air freshener blowing about in the breeze inside. This isn’t an accident, it’s an act of vengeance
- there must be a story here, somewhere, a series of events. The vandalised vehicle so much at odds with its
picturesque, peaceful setting.
Familiar route, unfamiliar things.
I stride onward, up to my favourite tree-lined walk.
As I pass the entrance to the ancient manor house where they're preparing for this year's Hallowe'en events, I find myself seriously considering whether or
not I’d like to be a scarer.
Can you be
one if you wear glasses?, I ask myself.
Has anyone ever seen a bespectacled ghoul? Perhaps I’d have to take them off just when
jumping out at visitors. Or simply wear a
hood that covers my face, that’d work. I
quite fancy it.
Talking of scares, this is the walk where I saw the devil
- my whip-cracking Lagartija Nick.
I am pleased to report that he is
I stay on the wide grassy verge, look down and notice a
little pile of hedgehog poo. It always
raises my spirits. I know. I have become something of a wildlife faeces
expert; sometimes it’s the only evidence
you have of the nocturnal adventures of the secretive beings we share our space
with while we sleep in our beds.
No, don’t think about the (presumably) nocturnal adventurers who vandalised
that car now. I hope they didn’t, erm,
you know, in it.
I decided not to take a photo of the hedgehog poo - sorry...
Further on, I notice odd little metal things in the grass
that J would have probably been excited to pick up with his metal detector - he
wouldn’t even have needed to dig a hole.
What are they, what are they doing here? Bits off a tractor?
Finally, I take a circular route back past the graveyard and
the benches. There’s definitely something to be said for glancing down when you
walk; you really do notice the unexpected.
As I get back home, I feel just as I had hoped I would –
rebooted and reconnected, at least for now.
It was only
natural that this blog post would follow. Walking feels good - writing does too.