Let’s go for a walk we said. It’ll be fun we said.
That was a couple of weeks ago. Friday was the best day for us, but the forecast for last Friday wasn’t good. We decided to do it this Friday. The weather might have improved by then. That was yesterday afternoon.
Well, the forecast still wasn’t good – but we decided to do it anyway.
The text messages went back and forth – I’m up for it, are you? Yes, as long as there’s no thunder…
2:30 was the appointed hour, and the weather was fine. What do these forecasters know anyway??
We set off. The sun shone. And if you ignored the bit of the sky where the clouds were big and black, the sky was blue.
We walked along the Leeds Liverpool Canal – the canal path is quite wide, so social distancing was easy.
We chatted about this and that. It was nice to have the time to chat – and someone to chat to.
We used to volunteer together at East Riddlesden Hall. The Hall is closed now, with no plans to re-open any time soon. Our walk took us past the gates – we stopped and looked. We waved to our old friend. It’s so sad – but the property is so small, and so few people would be able to go in at any one time under current social distancing rules, that opening isn’t commercially viable.
We walked and we talked. We came across ducklings, more ducklings, really tiny ducklings, cygnets, a red kite, and – a kingfisher.
I’ve seen them before on the canal, but this was the longest time I’ve seen one stay in the same place. They normally fly off. This one was fishing – it caught one after another, returning to a branch in an overhanging tree each time. Such a wonderful bird.
We walked a bit further, then turned round and started the walk back. We’d been walking for about an hour and a half.
It started to rain. Not hard, to begin with. Then just hard enough for us to put our jackets back on.
Then the hoods went up. And still the rain got heavier. It was bouncing off the surface of the canal. It became impossible to walk round the puddles – but it really didn’t matter, because our feet were wet through anyway.
We heard thunder. But of course.
We started giggling. We were still at least an hour away from home. I couldn’t see out of my glasses. My hair (which won’t be getting cut for another two weeks) was flopping and dripping in my face. We were completely wet through. And it had been so lovely when we set off! Looks like Paul the Weatherman knows what he’s talking about after all…
We weren’t the only ones caught out in it – there were soggy doggies and soggy doggie owners, there were soggy joggers, there were people on bikes with mud splattered all the way up their backs. It had all seemed such a good idea.
The ducklings and cygnets had retreated under cover – obviously they had much more sense than we did.
The café was closed by the time we got back to it. Shame – although they wouldn’t have welcomed us dripping all over their chairs and tables, and it certainly wasn’t weather for sitting outside.
We got home – well, I got home. My friend got back to her car, and still had to drive back to her home. Normally, obviously, I’d have invited her in to get dried off and have a cuppa. She could have had a shower and used my hair dryer, I’d have lent her dry clothes – but of course that’s no longer possible. We just had to say cheerio at the door.
I stood just inside the kitchen door and peeled my waterproof jacket off, and my trainers, and my socks. I pulled the legs of my jeans up so I wouldn’t leave a muddy wet trail up to the bathroom. I left everything in a damp heap and jumped in the shower.
Cup of tea, couple of bikkies. Much better.
We went for a walk. It was fun. It really was!
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