Monday, 31 March 2008

Ahhing and aarghhing!

The rain eventually eased yesterday afternoon, so Stuart and I drove over to Detling with the intention of taking a gentle stroll through 'White Horse Country Park'. We've often driven past the park en route to visiting my Mum, but have never taken a walk there.

After our recent decorating, we were crying out for some fresh air and exercise and as the ruins of Thurnham Castle are a little way inside the park, it seemed a good idea to visit them. We ran down the path, past all the grown-ups, to find the castle, which was tiny and once we'd seen what was left of it after several centuries had taken their toll, Stuart thought he'd climb a small hill to admire the view. I watched cynically as half a dozen eager goats chased up behind him and thought I'd take a more dignified approach to my mountaineering.

Thurnham Castle ruins at White Horse Country Park

I picked my way gingerly through the nettles at the bottom of the hill and began my ascent but without warning, my trainers let me down badly and in what felt like slow motion, I slid less than gracefully back down the horribly muddy slope, landing on my knees in a slump at the bottom, hands spread out in front of me as I grabbed desperately at clumps of nettles to steady myself.

The goats didn't seem in the least bit perturbed by my antics and my gallant knight, minus white charger, also remained oblivious to my escapades as he gazed enigmatically across the countryside from his vantage point. I squelched my way upright and whined pitifully, until he caught my wail on the breeze, picked his way delicately down the hill, espied my sorry state and promptly roared with laughter. Only when he had recovered his equilibrium sufficiently, did it dawn on him to hunt for some dock leaves with which to rub my poor prickled palms. Charming eh?!

That all happened within the first fifteen minutes of our walk and naturally, we weren't going to give up on our excursion simply to spare my mud-splattered blushes, so we left the castle and its goats, pointing ourselves in a general 'downwards' direction along the road beyond. After a little while and to avoid too much of a trek back uphill on the return journey, we took a left turn towards what we thought would be a pleasant, level tramp through woodland.

Two and a half hours later, even Stuart was gasping for breath as we squelched our way through mud swamps, hiked the steepest of rocky hillside footpaths, clambered over barbed wire fences past marauding sheep and then to cap it all off, "I think we should just walk up these steps back to the castle Paula ... I'm sure it'll be easier ..." at the top of said steps, found ourselves gasping desperately, leaden legs refusing to carry us further. Once our breathing had steadied to a less volcanic rate, we heaved our respective bulks back to the top of the steepest of all mud swamped hills, using the farmer's wire fence as a pulley. Bent double and grimacing as we fought to reinflate our lungs, we were met at the top by several small children happily playing catch with their parents. Needless to say, if you ever find yourself perched on the top of a hill, there really is only one way down,"run Paula, it's the easiest way ..." called Sir Galahad as he recovered himself at the bottom of the hill ...

Yeah right.

I descended in the most undignified manner, legs buckling as my body finally caught up with the rest of me, to a chorus of raucous laughter from said several small children, accompanied by a round of discreet snickering from their parents. Hmph.

Oh and in case you are wondering, no, we didn't race back along the path to the car like daft teenagers afterwards, no, we staggered back, our bodies in shock, feeling every ache of the fact we are no longer in our twenties (or for that matter, even our thirties).

In many ways I would agree, it is a shame I didn't remember to take my camera with me; the views from the tops of those swampy hills were indeed spectacular. However, on the other hand, at least this way my dignity (and my camera!) remains intact here in Blog Land as there can be no photographic evidence of such tomfoolery to be held against me!

Erin Rose wearing her pink cardi knitted by Auntie Paula

I'm afraid I only have one tiny pic (purloined) of Thurnham Castle and very little else to offer you. Having said that, do you remember the cardigans I shared with you in earlier posts? Well, my sister Laura has sent me photos of little Erin Rose wearing them and I'm delighted to say, they fit her at last!

So, maybe the mental images of my Sunday stroll will entertain you today and the pics of my cute niece can provide the 'ahh' factor for this post!

Erin Rose wearing her lilac cardigan - knitted by Auntie Paula!

1 comment:

Tami Eveslage said...

Oh, Paula, what a wonderful story and you tell it with such style! I was laughing out loud.
An your niece is perfectly adorable in her little cardigans. I hope to learn to knit one day.

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