Did you know that [counter] people have been having a skeg at my little autonomous region?


BST and the living is easy


Yesterday I travelled to Cherhill Down for the first time since the end of January to do a spot of walking. My new mate Ray came with me again as we seem to be starting a bit of a Chippenham Ramblers two man splinter group. A twelve mile walk which circumnavigated the crumbling Lansdowne Monument and extended as far as was physically possible without crossing a busy road (it was the Green Cross Code Man’s day off).

The last time I trekked this trek it was thick with mud and all the fields were brown and the sky was grey and it was bloody cold. But today the warm sunshine flooded the landscape, the mud had almost entirely dried up and there were happy little springtime green shoots in the fields and on the trees.

But I wasn’t happy. I felt fat and unfit. Sweat poured from me like sweat from the proverbial fat lass. I told myself it was because I was climbing steeper hills than I had done for a good while and because the sun was so warm but I suspected it was because I had had very little exercise in the last three weeks and I had been chucking back German beer in Berlin for a whole weekend not all that long ago. Also my dodgy knee was back, I had a headache and I had that peculiar catching feeling in the back of my throat that usually suggests a cold is on its way. I also had a pint and a half of Murphy’s with Ray at the Waggon & Horses in Beckhampton after our walk. It was nice to sit out in the beer garden but the stout made me sleepy and the sun burnt my unhatted head, making it rather sore. 

All in all, a lovely day’s walking with a good friend but I must admit that I felt like shit when I got home and promptly went to bed for a couple of hours. Yuk! 

Today was the first day of British Summer Time so I travelled forward in time by one hour. I love this day and to make it even better the glorious weather meant that it really was like a summer’s day, as it has been for the last few days. 

So today I turned my attention to another outdoor activity that I love but which, just like walking, makes my bones achy and weary. Gardening! I spent the whole afternoon and early evening out there. I won’t bore you with the details but my little bit of land looks a treat right now and it’s certainly the tidiest it has ever been at the end of March.

But the ladybirds . . . I’ve never seen so many . . . and the tadpoles . . . I’ve never seen so many. I've been giving the tadpoles names. So far I've baptised Tommy, Terry, Tania, Tricia, Talulah and Tarquin but I've run out with over ten thousand to go. Two is twins, three is triplets, and four is quads but what is ten thousand?

Other good news today was that I went to the Clark’s shoe shop in Chippenham and bought a pair of black summer cloggy type shoes exactly the same as the ones I bought a year ago and came to love but left them in the hotel in Tehran as only a fool could ever do. It was lovely to be reunited with my lovely comfy old shoes even though they weren't really my old shoes. 

And now it’s bedtime. Another weekend over in a hurry. I’ve had a really good productive and enjoyable weekend but now I can’t stop sneezing. Could it be a touch of early season hay fever or is that much feared cold actually going to manifest itself. Before I go to sleep I will pray to the Matabeleland God of the Corn to save me from another bout of the dreaded lurgy. I’ve so much to do, I’ve got to get fit and I’ve already had one cold this year so another would be a disaster. 

By the way, there are less than seven weeks to go to my Peru trip. I got an email from Rebecca Caldicott, my woman at Exodus Travels Limited, the other day to check up that I’ve got everything I need and done everything I need to do . . . fat chance! I love Rebecca even though I’ve never met her. She only ever gets in touch with me to talk about travelling to far distant shores, or mountains. But as much as I love her I’ve got my heart set on a Peruvian lady with a stripy rainbow jumper and a bowler hat.

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