Friday, September 15, 2006

"Babe in the Wood "- it's no pantomime!

It is amazing the sense of peace that a stick of wood with a yellow arrow on it can create!

Because of the curry last night I was way over my Weight Watcher’s points, so I decided to try and claw a few back by going for a walk. The plan was for a half hour walk around a pleasant little wood I passed on the road a couple of days ago. About five miles away from there was an herb garden that does teas and coffees – a nice end to a busy week.

That was the plan! The Forestry commission are very good about making the best use of the woods. Usually beside the car park there is a big map of the place with all the various trails marked on it, telling you how long the yellow path is, or the blue one, or the red one and whether it is easily accessible or not. Tomfat Wood doesn’t have one.

I figured I would just walk along a path and after a while, take a left, and then another left, and another left and that by my reckoning would be like a big square and should get me back to the start. Earlier this afternoon I borrowed a book out of the staff library about the differences between men and women. Men have a great sense of direction, dating back from the cavemen times, while women don’t! I should have paid attention. I did the right amount of left turns but did not end back at the start! After about half an hour of walking I was lost. I suppose I could have retraced my steps, but I had come down some steep hills and I did not fancy climbing up them! I met a lady with three dogs and asked her for directions back to the car park.

She was very good telling me to follow the path I was one, past a small quarry, through a very big puddle and up a steep hill. That bit was fine. I wasn’t sure whether she said to turn left or right at the cross roads. I turned left. It looked a perfectly fine path, but after twenty minutes or so turned in a bog of squelching mud. Did I turn around and retrace my steps? Well, it had been mostly downhill and I was almost through the boggy ground. And I could see daylight through the trees. I figured that at worse, if I walked around the edge of the wood, I would find the car park eventually!

Did I ever? I just got more and more lost. There were no paths, no people, no dogs, no car park and the light was fading! I began to be just a little bit anxious. At this point I had been walking for an hour and a half! There was nothing to tell me whether I was walking in the right direction.

I saw a deer poking around in the trees, which I wouldn’t have seen if I had not been lost. I saw a variety of mushrooms and toadstools, and I saw some very small brown frogs hopping along the path earlier – so that was nice!

I felt very much like the lost sheep though, and although I didn’t pray properly I think God must have read my distressed thoughts! Suddenly there was a path and a stick with a yellow arrow on it! A path marker! I was no longer lost, but on a real path. A sense of relief washed over me and I followed the path back to the car park

My half hour stroll along a clear path had turned into a two and a half hour clamber over fallen tree trunks and wading through bog marshes!

I had to restrain myself from kissing the bonnet of my car once I had finally returned to the car park.

I think I fully earned the packet of Maltesers I ate when I got home - fun size, of course – just two points!

No comments: