Thursday, 1 September 2011

The Mildly Perilous Emsworth Epic

I am finally starting to come to terms with the fact that rest and relaxation is the only answer if I want to speed up the back healing process. As you all know, R+R is not something that comes easy for me and I have been trying to think up ingenious ways of doing little bits of exercise without hurting myself such as making far too many cups of tea to increase the amount of time spent lifting the kettle.

With relaxation in mind though, I headed off to Emsworth for a calm couple of days by the sea where I would not be in the danger proximity zone of the gym or be tempted to do anything too active. A land where the greatest danger would be the village patisserie.

A gentle mid-morning stroll along the beach in the sunshine sounded like the perfect activity, and it was... until a series of really bad decisions turned that gentle stroll into a fight for survival.

The tide was in and after we had paddled playfully at the waters edge we realised there was no way of getting around the next bit without going considerably further in than ankle deep. A clamber up a conveniently placed slab of concrete and a team effort of ducking through some barbed wire found us on something vaguely resembling a footpath at the edge of a cornfield.

At this point we should have gone back in the direction we had come, but as we were feeling a bit daring we decided to see where this path led. The first place it led was into a big pile of fox excrement, which Millie (who for the record, is a dog) gleefully rolled herself in. Out of all the different types of animal poo, fox is definitely up there amongst the most foul-smelling. 

The path started to narrow and as we cautiously weaved past the ever increasing numbers of brambles and nettles, the stinking dog gradually got closer and closer to brushing past our legs; many a girly squeal was heard as we tried to avoid getting covered in the stench. 

A false optimism had grasped us all as the path led through a mini copse and into another cornfield. "The path must get better up ahead", I retorted. It didn't. It wasn't until a valiant shimmy involving the dog lead  and an act akin to a corporate team-build problem-solving challenge through a dense bush of spiky stuff that we finally admitted defeat and decided to turn back.

Kerry recovered after falling
very ungracefully into the tree
It had started to rain softly and it was noted by all of us that the prickly plants were definitely more abrasive when wet. As a result of this we found an opening that led back onto the beach and we decided that the best idea would be to wade back around, through the shallows. The tide was right in and we had a couple of metres of dry land to our left that was un-walkable due to a thick covering of trees. 

The rain began to come down more heavily and the water went from ankle-deep, to shin-deep to "it's time to really roll up the trousers"-deep. We stopped in our tracks as we reached a point where, if we carried on, we would be swimming. Nobody said a word for a few seconds. Then, as every ray of sun disappeared from the sky beneath an enormous, looming grey cloud, we took shelter under a tree and tried to come up with a contingency plan.

We considered climbing up the wall and through more brambles to get back into the cornfield, but given my current physical condition and the fact that we'd have to lift up a dog that was covered in fox poo, this did not seem like a feasible option. We stayed hidden amongst the trees for a good fifteen minutes whilst a deluge of rain swept overhead, eventually emerging and making a break back to where we had come from which - subsequently - was only about 100m away. Progress obviously had not been very speedy.

We laughed heartily as we realised white
 t-shirts had been a big mistake
We trudged back through the cornfield on the path which had become a mud pit. Delirium set in as we could see civilisation up ahead and knew we were back from the brink. Wet, dirty, scratched, stung and exhausted from the emotional turmoil, we finally hit the real, tarmac path and rejoiced.

It was all far too much excitement for one morning and after a cup of tea (that I didn't even have the energy to lift the kettle for) I celebrated by having a nap; much needed rest and relaxation! 

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