Monday, 3 August 2009

One down, one to go

Thank you to everyone who sent good wishes and positive thoughts for today. It feels good to have it behind me and indeed I can truly say I enjoyed it.


The day got off to a bad start when I went to let the birds out and found one of my ducklings dead having managed to strangle itself in a freak accident with the door of the duck house. Dealing with a little sad, cold body before breakfast was not what I had in mind at all.

Then there was a lot of wobbling as I was preparing to go out.
I realised I would need a rucksack and that nearly set me off, as R always carried everything when we went walking. I couldn't immediately put my hand on the little green day pack he always took with him, and tore the house apart finding it.

I can just picture him packing it on the kitchen table, listing out loud the things he would need and nagging me to get a spare pair of socks in case of blisters, a hat in case the sun came out and a decent waterproof in case it rained! I didn't have any chocolate to pack either, which made me sad. R would always have a bar of Fruit and Nut or something similar about his person when we went walking and, even though I would absolutely insist that I didn't need any chocolate before we left, he would produce it with a flourish half-way through the day. And I would always eat at least half of it, despite my earlier protestations!

The walk started well.
We met at the Community Centre which is actually a mile or so outside the village. There were about 20 walkers ranging from 11 to 71 in age, and at least 8 dogs which quickly formed a pack and rampaged up and down the line of people.

We had walked about a mile up onto the moor when I realised I couldn't see Moose. I walked to the front of the line and there was no sign of him, then I ran to the back. Still no dog.
I was starting to get a bit worried when a farmer drove past in his Landrover. We flagged him down and asked him if he had seen a collie on its own. He hadn't, but gave me a lift back to my car so I could go and look for him.
And there was Moose, sitting waiting for me outside the Community Centre with a look on his face as if to say, "What kept you?"

Relieved as I was to find him, this did of course mean that I had to run / yomp back nearly two miles to catch up with the other walkers. I'm not a happy runner in shorts and running shoes, so walking boots and rucksack were an unpropitious combination to say the least. By the time I reached them, my face must have resembled a particularly hot and bothered beetroot, and I was ready for my bar of chocolate which I did not have.

I'm happy to say that the rest of the day was uneventful and very enjoyable. The atmosphere was totally relaxed as we walked up onto the ridge, and I could move from one group to another for a chat without feeling at all lonely or out of place.

I really can't put into words how much this place has become a part of me. Walking along the ridge with the incredible views to either side I can give myself up to the beauty of the landscape. R taught me to love hills. This is ironic as he came from Essex which is one of the flattest counties in Britain. Wherever we went, if we were going for a walk, then we would have to go up. The hill was the challenge, and the view at the top the reward. When I'm up on the top of the world, which is how it felt today, I can believe he is with me. I know he would love to see the tougher, fitter person I have become since he died.

I missed him desperately today, but the place and the people helped me get through it. When we got back to the Community Centre, the non-walkers had fired up the barbies. I was hungry enough to eat a small sheep, so the lamb burgers went down very well indeed (this is Wales, after all!).


  1. J - I am so proud of you. You had plenty of times today when you could have said, "oh I got too upset so I didn't bother" ... e.g. the poor chick, hunting for the backpack, then Moose!!! But you pushed on like a spartan warrior ... well done, and yes, I am positive R would have been proud too.

  2. i'm glad you had a good day despite the rough start. surrounded as you were with the community you were joined with and the chance to be outdoors. it is behind you and your writing conveys a lightness to your soul. i'm happy for you.

  3. J, great job! Your determination inspires me!

  4. J - thought about you lots yesterday and wondered how you were. Thinking of you today too and hope that you are OK.