I set off from Clapham to catch the train to Lancaster where my friend, the Author, would meet me. She would then drive to her house in Clapham. That’s Clapham Yorkshire, from where we would stride out for some good bracing walks, a thing we both love to do.
Turns out that I’d been sold the wrong tickets again, and the train that I’d asked for, and confirmed, my seats reservations on, was not the train I expected. That train had left an hour ago. Just to compound matters my breakfast was now lying on the concourse of Euston station due to an unsecured drinks lid. All of this was rectified by a swift repeat purchase. I am amazed by how fast I can move in the face of missing breakfast.
It turns out that there are two exits at Lancaster station. The Author was waiting at one and I was outside the other one, enjoying the taxi rank banter, when our texts crossed. She would come and find me. The time was not wasted. In my drive to improve my core stability, because diminishing sight tends to challenge balance, I achieved a hands free tip toe stand for ten seconds before my ankles buckled under the strain. I like to indulge in this particular exercise snack every time I find myself in a queue and the ten second challenge has eluded me ever since I began. Who would imagine such a small triumph could bring such joy?
Ankle strength is not wasted, because Yorkshire is a land of hills. While I know this intellectually, lack of three dimensional vision makes the upward gradient a surprise and the descent, full of even greater surprises.
The Author trotted ahead with practiced agility. She’s fitter than me. I claimed the slow stretch of my pace, as we climbed, a consequence of poor balance. While a blind truth, the greater truth is that speech would have been impossible had I attempted anything faster. I’m not sure if pauses to point out the lay of the land and our proximity to the #five peaks was a kindness born of painting the picture, or an act of preservation less I should expire. Whatever it was, we managed to talk while we walked.
Going up is one thing. Coming down is another thing altogether and out came the hiking pole that acts to give a sense of what the eye cannot see. In all the years of walking I have never had an injury. Priding myself on what is possible rather than what is difficult, we began our descent, when over I went. Winded but unbowed, we pressed on, the pain in my ribs taking a grip. So much for my willingness to take a risk.
“Yep, you’ve cracked your rib and sprained it, ” said the Physio Witch. “I’ll strap that up. I hope you’ve got good pain killers. It’s going to take about six weeks.” Then she got out her acupuncture needles and stuck two of then into my hand to help with the pain. An agony shot through me like chewing on tinfoil. The Physio Witch exhibited no signs of sympathy. “Don’t scream. The cats don’t like.” she said.
I have had to concede that trotting about with a computer in a ruck sack isn’t helping so I’m at home. “Rest up this week,” ordered the practice nurse. The pain killers have kicked in now. I’m bored. I’ve started on line shopping and the new pair of purple hiking poles have just arrived. I’ve checked in early for a flight that will take me away from it all on a coastal walk with sheer drops and plenty of steep gradients.
Worrying won’t help.