It’s probably never a good idea to make major business decisions on a Saturday afternoon. They have to survive until Monday, and that’s a whole day away.
My plan to become the Mrs Kipling of the biscuit world was immediately kiboshed by the OH reminding me that we were due to relocate from our small village to his brother’s small village for lunch. Now, I have nothing against his brother or his brother’s small village, but it did rather preclude the possibility of making more biscuits. My attempt to out-biscuit Tesco would have to wait.
You would have thought that there’s not much difference between one small village and another, especially when they’re both in shire country, but you’d be surprised. The adjacent shire is quite different and has even noticeably started adapting to autumnal colours. Or maybe they just have a different kind of tree. Anyway, it was a change and I didn’t have to cook lunch either. His brother hasn’t lived there long and the only pub in the village, The Sodding Sparrow as we call it, does do meals, but the OH’sB had decided to cook, some of the meal being sourced from his garden. And very pleasant it was too. The sun shone, the wine flowed (no sign of cocktails – maybe the OH had forbidden them) and after a while it was suggested that we go for a walk.
I quite like walking. I regularly walk from one end of our village to the other rather than drive – I object to the pollution it causes and besides, once I’ve negotiated the car out of the drive and in the swarming horses and tractors, driven to the other end of the village and managed to park(-ish - one day I will learn to parallel park, I promise), it would have been quicker to walk. But one thing I do manage when walking is to dress appropriately. In other words, I don’t wear high heels to go for a walk. Had I realised I would be attempting a post-prandial walk, across fields, I would have worn something different.
“I’m sure you’ll manage,” the OH instructed me.
We started off quite well. The OH’sB had brought a map with him, circa 1950 but it still had footpaths printed on it, and we set off past The Sodding Sparrow and up the footpath – encouragingly signposted as such. After that, things deteriorated.
Firstly, there were cows in the first field. I don’t mind cows, they provide milk and eventually sirloin steak. But they also provide cowpats. The pleasure of walking in the countryside is mitigated somewhat by not being able to look around you as you watch carefully where you walk. Still, we were heading for the other side of the field, to walk through a wood and to yet another village. There was a gate clearly visible and what looked like a stile next to it.
On reaching said stile, however, there was a problem. The stepping part of it was absent, which meant that proper clambering was essential. Into the brambles and nettles that thronged the other side. Never mind, you say, go through the gate. Which was padlocked. So climb over it, wimp! Not past the barbed wire, I say. The OH and the OH’sB gave me a look as if to say, just because you’re wearing high heels, and this time we’ll let you off. We set off back the way we had come and an alternative walk around the edge of the village was suggested. It would involve a different field but the OH’sB knew there was no padlock to the gate.
What he hadn’t accounted for was the group of curious bullocks. “Hello bully beef!” he said to the one nearest him. I stood well back, near the stile we had just climbed. “It’s fine,” said the OH, “leave them alone and they won’t be interested.”
For uninterested bullocks, they were coming awfully close. The remainder of the group started walking and then trotting in our direction. I didn’t see how close they got because I was already climbing back over the stile and heading back across the newly planted field which therefore had plenty of loose muddy clumps. You can imagine the state of my shoes when we got back to the OH’sB’s house. There was no further suggestion of any kind of perambulation.
We headed home not long after that. Well, one village is much like another, isn’t it?