The celebrations continued yesterday with the purchase of a new pair of walking boots. Now. I thought that I'd been very clever by 'forgetting' to pack my walking boots, but the husband decided that after four years' wear up hill and down dale, the time had come to replace them. He had an ulterior motive naturally, in the way of a 'long walk'. Previous experience told me that this could be anywhere between 5 and 20 miles, depending how lost we got.
So boots purchased from some camping shop in Bristol, yesterday afternoon we headed off with dogs in tow (literally as they were still knackered from their morning walk). The hotel receptionist had told us that we literally came out of the castle gates and turned right on to the footpath. All well and good, but what she didn't tell us about was the fact that ten yards in, the path forked. One path took you up a steep hill, while the other went down. I was all for going up the steep path, working on the premise that coming home would be downhill, but the husband over ruled and decided that we would take the lower road.
If only we'd known.
The first part of the walk was fine, a bit boring perhaps, but doable, but as we went on it got more and more challenging to find the path and any directions. We eventually arrived at a derelict dairy farm surrounded by electric fencing. I wasn't going anywhere near it, but the husband, in his rubber soled boots, took a firm grip of the fence, and stated that it wasn't switched on. What he didn't reckon on as he crouched to go under the wire was having to put his hand on the floor for balance. This resulted in some rather high pitched squealing from the husband, and some rather unattractive twitching.
Safely out on the other side, he said, 'Come on, it's fine, you'll just have to wriggle through on your tummy'. I gave him one of my looks. You know the one ladies, the kind which brooks no argument. As I said to him, the last thing I was going to do whilst wearing my favourite white jeans was to do a passable impression of a snake in the grass(or mud actually).
I retraced my steps and found a stile albeit still wrapped with electric fencing but with an 18" length of hosepipe protecting my undercarriage from being lit up like a Christmas Tree.
So on we went, eventually coming to a grinding halt at a thick hedge with a barely visible gate. Although the electric fencing had by now run out, we now had a stream to contend with, disguised by brambles, nettles and discarded bits of barbed wire. Getting the dogs over was almost impossible, but eventually it was just me. Head down, deep breath, I took a few long strides through it all and ended up on the other side. The outcome was that my new cardigan was ripped, by jeans were filthy and my arms were scratched and stung by all manner of stuff. But at least my feet were dry. I suppose I can thank my new boots for that...
On and on we went, until at last civilization appeared in the shape of an ice cream van. We were by now in the middle of a large park, so the husband chucked his wallet at me and sat down with the dogs while I got the cornets in. Carrying four cornets back to the bench, the look on Percy and Reg's faces made all the walk worthwhile.
My lasting memory of yesterday though will be the fact that the husband chose a main meal off the vegetarian menu at dinner last night. The trouble was, that there was blue cheese mentioned and that sort of clouded his judgement.
As the waiter cleared the plates, he asked the husband what he thought of the celeriac.
'It was lovely', he said, 'but I don't think I'll be going vegetarian at any time in the near future', followed up with, 'It would have been better with a fillet steak'.
I think he missed the point....