This weekend I travelled to the Marlborough Downs . . . twice!
This weekend I began to feel a bit more confident about my quest to trek the High Inca Trail in May.
This weekend I walked twenty four and a bit miles in difficult, wintery conditions, and I did a mad three quarters of an hour on the cross trainer at my exclusive sports club in Calne on Friday night so now I feel that satisfying, contented, achy feeling in my thighs which suggests that I have done myself a bit of good. I also discovered, to my delight, that I’d shed a fair old lump of lardiness when I hopped on the bathroom scales yesterday morning. However, I’m not telling you how much of my grotesque fat has melted away until I’ve lost a lot more.
So my thighs are changing shape as my consumption of wine and pies dwindles to a trickle and a few crumbs, and as my daily physical exertion level escalates from puffing and panting from the effort required to open a packet of crisps to a mere quickening of the heartbeat after climbing up a bloody big hill in one of my favoured rural regions. I find the exercise invigorating and enjoyable but I find the not eating shit bit or having a decent drink bit very hard work. Determination gets me through though. I have paid a deposit for a trip to Peru and I have told everybody I know (and some poor individuals that I don’t know) that I am going there in May so I have got to do it. I will look even more foolish than I look lardy if I don’t complete my mission.
Yesterday’s walk was absolutely, breathtakingly magnificent. The ground was still carpeted with two or three inches of snow and the temperature, I suspect, didn’t rise above freezing all day but the sky in every direction, particularly upwards, was a beautiful azure blue. The frozen remoteness of the Marlborough Downs was one of the most awe inspiring sights I have ever beheld. There was hardly a soul around. In some places my footprints were the first to be made in the virgin snow. The icy landscape literally sparkled in the sunshine. When I stopped to eat my ever-so-healthy lunch there was just me and some sheep and a couple of rabbits and snow covered hills glistening in the February sunshine as far as my eye could see. In fact, both eyes . . . I never leave home without both of them.
I felt sorry for the sheep and rabbits though. The poor shivering little buggers must get a bit sick of eating frozen grass in this weather. It wasn't even Bird's Eye! My cous cous and sweet corn concoction wasn’t all that thrilling but a damned sight more appetizing than frozen grass. I’d have gladly shared my victuals with the sheep and rabbits but there were quite a few of them and I only had one fork.
When I travel abroad there are moments when I look around at the magnificent places I visit and the amazing sights I see and I have to pinch myself to ensure that I am really there and not just dreaming or pissed. The waterfall where I swam in the rain forest in the mountains in Cuba and the call to prayer at sunset in Imam Square in Esfahan in Iran are possibly the most notable examples of this as the thrill of being there made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. But on a byway near Rockley yesterday this happened to me for the first time ever in England, as far as I can recall. The incredible beauty together with the remoteness and solitude were quite overwhelming. A moment in time I will never forget as long as I live.
A big up to the Marlborough Downs.
Yesterday I felt good about myself, and my future. Yesterday I felt that 2012 had really started for me and that all the trips I plan to make this year will really happen and really be a success. Yesterday was the best day of the year . . . so far!
Today I went walking in the Marlborough Downs with the West Wiltshire group of the Ramblers’ Association and very close to where I walked alone yesterday. Today would have been a brilliant walk had it not had to follow in the footsteps of yesterday’s most uplifting experience. I loved every minute of today but I wasn’t walking alone, the snow had mostly melted and the sun was hiding behind the clouds.
But today my thighs were screaming at me, “Bring on Peru!”