Wednesday, January 30, 2008

About that 'need to get out more' thing

Today was a winning stroll!

Let me explain. The route that the dachshund and I take for our daily constitutional involves a short stretch of public road - a bit less than half a mile - that has to be covered on the outward and return journeys. Beyond that is forestry track, where the dachshund can roam free and widdle upon that which he chooses. But for the first and last, he has to walk at heel and on a lead.*

Generally speaking, in the course of walking that almost mile, I can guarantee that at least one car will pass. The roads are narrow, so this means I have to stop, pull the dachshund onto the verge with me, and wave a cheery wave to whoever is driving. Locals wave back, as do elderly couples in campervans. Some motorcyclists nod, slow down and move to the other side of the road; others don't. One once deliberately and aggressively sped towards me, which was stupid of him because I stood my ground, forcing him to swerve and nearly fall off. Delivery vans usually go too fast, as do BMW and Mercedes drivers.** There are always idiots on the road, as my old friends The Arrogant Worms will attest.

Once in the forestry, the potential for traffic is much reduced. The farm Land Rovers and tractors rattle up and down, as do Forestry Commission vans. If there's logging going on you might meet a twenty-four wheeler articulated lorry laden with timber, and they're not really worth playing chicken with. Every once in a while you find a lost tourist who's taken a wrong turn and is desperately grateful for a pointer in the right direction. I even met David Bellamy up there once, which was quite a shock. Turns out he's a dachshund fan.

Today, however, from the moment I left the house to the moment I returned an hour later, I met not one single motorised vehicle. No cars, no bikes, no trucks, no tractors. Nothing. I saw not another soul save the dachshund. There weren't even any jet fighters practising their warcraft overhead, which was nice.

This then is my definition of a winning stroll. It's a game I play with myself every time I go out. Mostly I lose, and that doesn't really matter because there are no prizes. I can't actually remember the last time I won, partly because it was a very long time ago, partly because I'm not that sad, honest.

But I do feel a little smug for winning today.

* or leash, if you're American.
** or wankers, as they are otherwise known.

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