Thank goodness the heating was on in the train. I was sodden from the thigh down. After days and days of warm weather, sunshine and gentle breezes, today it rained. I was out on a walk in Sussex. Last night, I looked at the forecast and groaned inwardly. Maybe outwardly too. Under normal circumstances, I’d have changed my plans and opted for a day at home. But this was a special walk in memory of a man who died of pancreatic cancer two years ago, less than four weeks after his diagnosis. Many cancers are now curable. Not pancreatic cancer it seems. It can also be genetic. This man’s father also died of it. He left daughters who have had children. Time bombs. So the walk was to remember him and to raise awareness and money for research. Actually the morning, though grey and windy, was mainly dry. A couple I had never met before collected me from Hayward’s Heath railway station and we drove to the start point. There, a group gathered, pulling on waterproofs and gazing hopefully at the sky. The man’s widow, and the one person I knew before joining this walk, gave me a hello hug. We met on holiday in Greece just three weeks ago. Soon I was introduced to the daughters and the grandchildren, to friends and neighbours. Then we began walking. If anyone talks about walking in rolling countryside it means you will be doing as much up as down. This was rolling countryside. There seemed a fair bit of up to begin with, but fortunately that was it. We walked. We talked. The wind blew. It stayed dry. A very nice bunch of people. The pub was expecting us and had arranged tables so we could sit together. More talk, lots of food and some very good cider. Boots back on, we collected in front of the pub. The village still had signs of hallowe’en festivities. The phone box had been converted into a book swap venue. We walked on, the pace gentle. The woods were full of fungi.
Time and miles passed. Knowing the end of the walk was soon we collectively slowed down. This turned out to be our mistake. The rain pattered gently at first, rather pleasant and refreshing, but with little warning, and certainly too quickly for us to scramble into waterproof trousers, it upped the tempo, and assisted by the wind, turned us from dry ramblers into dripping walkers, struggling uphill to the car park. Our goodbyes were swift and unadorned. In the car to the station I sat on a carrier bag to save the upholstery. I think it absorbed a little of the water from my sodden trousers. I hope it did anyway. Thankfully it was only a short wait for the train. I removed my left boot and wrung the water from my sock. Fortunately I had spare socks in my bag. Once home, an energetic stride from the station, I placated MasterB with a quick game with string before I stripped my clothes off and headed for the shower. I’d have made a lousy mediaeval peasant. PS I have been inspired by Jan’s example to try to complete NaBloWriMo, so there may be a slew of posts from me over the next month. You have been warned.