Sssshhh, my Dad’s on nightshift… 25/04/13

What better way to spend a rainy old morning than to reflect on the general loveliness of the previous day.

I phoned Lesley, a relative of a friend of a friend, to tell her where I was and that I’d be at our suggested meeting point in about 2 and a half hours.

‘Shall I come and get you?’

My mind raced – I’d had the best of mornings, walking in the sunshine, and now the weather was gradually beginning to turn.

But that’s what the walk has been about – taking the rough with the smooth…

I decided to take the smooth with the smooth.

Lesley came and picked me up and in no time we were talking like old friends over a bowl of chunky tomato soup.

She lives with her husband, Andrew and her son, Adam in what could be best described as the middle of nowhere.

After I’d de-smelled myself in a lovely bath following the mornings exertions, we drove down to Seascale and had a walk on the huge expanse of beautiful, unpopulated beach.

Given its proximity to Sellafield, I was surprised at the lack of 3 headed dogs and glowing sea monsters created by the nuclear aura.

We shared many a tale as we wandered…

‘There’s one thing we had that younger folk will never have…’ I mused as I subconsciously grew a long white beard, donned a tweed suit, squinted through rose tinted NHS glasses and drew on a clay pipe.

‘What’s that?’ Lesley asked

‘The experience of boredom,’ I said.

Only 3 channels on TV, and that went off at 10.30; power cuts in the 1970’s; the only screen based activity available was Etch a Sketch – and that was crap – not crap in that the wi-fi connection was poor. No, this was properly crap.

She disagreed – she felt there wasn’t much in the way of boredom in the days of our youth…however, on those rainy Sundays when you couldn’t go out and you had to be quiet because your Dad was on nightshift, with your nose pressed up against the window thinking the 8 year old version of ‘When will this torment ever end?’ there was definitely a flavour of it.

And just by talking I was whisked back to 18 Cherwell Walk, Corby where me, Alastair Ferguson (Ali Bongo), and Harvey Malcolmson (wearing a batman outfit) sat around a table, under my mums stern gaze, trying to play some manner of board game in absolute silence while dad – who was working night shifts – tried to sleep.

Harvey, who used to commentate on himself while playing football, was an exuberant youth who seemed to experience an almost Tourette’s like need to explode with laughter.

I still remember Mum trying to shush him (er, us?)…

Futile really.

Back at Lesley’s she told me how she’d been warning off a heron who’d been threatening to eat the newts in her pond. In no time at all she’d thrust a big net in my hand, urging me to catch at least one of the amphibious critters.

Time and again I thrust the net in only to produce pondweed, the odd water boatman and a shrimp or two.

It’s a shame I didn’t catch one.

I’d have called him ‘Tiny’…

….because (everyone together) he’s my newt…

Great memories to experience whilst sitting in a tent on a rainy Thursday.

Absolutely lovely hospitality allowed my thoughts to ebb and flow…

And a delicious packed lunch…

I guess I better get a wiggle on.

Walk a mile

Chris

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