‘You’re a bit red,’ said a woman speeding past whose hair retained shape even as the wind gusted past scattering crows and low flying squirrels. She was perfectly cool, her dentures and mascara flawless.
‘What vitamins have this lot been taking?’ I puffed irritably to my aunt. This was after all her regular hiking group and she should be privy to their secret stash. She just smiled sagely and swinging her specialised bag of super nuts and raisins, deftly leapt over the next stile and disappeared into the woods beyond.
We did over 11 miles all in all up what she called ‘gentle slopes’ and what I called ‘bloody hills’ over Royston Heath. The landscape changed mile by mile from empty farm land with golden stubble fields and chalky mud to thick woods opening up to quaint villages followed by golf courses and heath land. The sun shone, then flagged then shone again and the wind blew keenly.
At the lunch break I surreptitiously massaged my knees and put blister packs on whilst the oldies caroused, clinking pints and talking loudly about whose funeral they had last attended. I tried to feign fresh youth by flicking my hair nonchalantly and cricked my neck. By the time we got to the tea and cake bit I was walking like Frankenstein. The rest of ‘em could have gone on till supper. Bloody pensioners. .
Actually it was lovely to get out and just stride out for miles. I have been worrying so much about things lately and I needed to clear my head and get perspective and it seemed to have worked. I did not get the job but I can now tell you that I was a strong candidate (it was a producer position for BBC Africa Service) but they were looking for an anchor and the bloke who got it had 17 years experience. Not a lot I can do about it
At midnight last night I lit candles for Teelo (and the cat)..already gone a year. I toasted all of his friends and family and mine and gave Teelo a shot of gin for the journey as I didn’t have a stone to lay on his grave. Then I slept and dreamt that I had a story that I needed to give as a gift. It was written in ink on yellow parchment. I know it is here somewhere.