I woke up with a sore throat. It didn’t go away. I took two paracetamol and considered my slightly stuffed nose. Cold? Covid 19? A couple of hours later my nose was clear and my sore throat was sore no more. A slight cold maybe. Nothing more serious. On the bus the other day there were five of us on the upper deck. I was the only one masked. On the lower deck all five had masks, but two were wearing theirs under their chins. There are lots of tweets about Covid 19 being over. But the evidence says otherwise. I don’t want us to return to lockdowns, I don’t want us to live sequestered lives, but it does seem we can learn to socialise safely, with masks, and some people don’t want to do that. I don’t have a solution, but I think I shall probably be steering clear of crowded venues for some time to come. Maybe for ever.
Tonight we enjoyed a neighbourly game of Cluedo. Last Sunday four of us convened to play Equaliteas, a game devised to raise awareness about women’s enfranchisement in the UK. We enjoyed it so much we made another date for tonight. So six of us sat down around Celia’s table. It was my game in the sense that I brought the board and pieces. There are new versions of Cluedo. Mine dates from the 1960s. We began by rubbing out the pencil marks on our Detective Notes. Quite a few bore my childish handwriting. It was fun. Usually Michele and I are otherwise engaged on Sunday evenings, and we are already wondering which night of the week can be our games night this winter. Cluedo is a less chatty game than Equaliteas. I have never played it with the full complement of six players before. It was a novel and interesting experience. When I was a child I usually played it with my friend Marion. Charlie struggled with the idea that his character could be the murderer yet he would not know until the crime was solved. Reinhild got a pad of paper and a pen and worked at the solution. Next time we may have to go the whole Line of Duty hog and have a whiteboard, photos and coloured markers.
I have Scrabble, Ludo, Monopoly as well as Cluedo. Celia has Carcassonne which I have never played. I saw a game called Shakespeare the Bard in a charity shop. I may need to return and buy it. I also have decks of cards, and Lexicon which I haven’t played in decades. My father and I used to play cribbage, but I have forgotten how to play. The winter is suddenly full of possibilities.
So now for the first walk of Celia and my series of three. No walk this weekend as Celia was away until last night and I have been working.
This walk was the one we have done before. Several times. It’s a good one. Guildford circular via Compton. Last autumn I did it with Nicola. Here are some pictures.
There were blackberries as we had hoped. But we didn’t want to pick in the morning and carry all day, so we picked and ate. Had I been living in Guildford or anywhere along this circular route during lockdown it would have been. walk I should have been happy to do every day.
We met the man with the aged Labrador as we left. Coco was back in the boot of the car and raised her head when she heard her master speaking to us.
I had been hoping for apples for sale at the farm table, but it was bare. At the fingerpost I wasn’t’t sure if this was a lost boot or a memorial. As a teenager, The Withies Inn was considered quite classy. I don’t even know if it still exists.
We picnicked at Watts and Celia had a slice of cake from the café. I thought I’d wait. By the time I was ready the vegan cake was sold out. Celia visited the exhibition and I strolled, meeting the very lovely greyhound lurcher Baxter who needs a home. I wish it could be with me, but MasterB wouldn’t be happy with a chase hound, and I already struggle to achieve sofa rights. Although MsterB is currently outside, I am, through force of habit, typing this sitting in the floor.
Celia returned and I went wandering again, finding a makers event, which was temporally quiet. Again, if I were local this is something I should have loved to participate in. Life in the country is much more varied than when I was child growing up there.
Onward, along the path that leads through fields of horses, some of whom wanted to make friends, and where Celia spotted this horse motif on the table. Then heading towards Loseley, where we found our blackberries to take home. I’d like to know the history of this building.
I have always walked. We walked to school and back. In fact I walked there and back before I was even at school, accompanying my mother and my sister who is older than I am. My mother was a natural walker. By which I mean her childhood involved walking because there was no other means of transport. To get from A to B you walked. Walking was something you did. Walking for me for much of my early life meant dogs. When I had no dogs I got a camera. Walking is good for me; good for my mental, physical and spiritual health. Increasingly I understand that is so.
We were starting to worry we had missed the best blackberry picking, but fortunately that was not the case. I retired from the lists before Celia. My containers were full and I was having an allergic reaction to the nettle stings incurred picking the fruit. Luckily I had thought to bring an antihistamine tablet, though I had thought that would be in case of wasp stings.
We weren’t far from the end of the walk. It was now a stroll back to Guildford. We enjoyed a cider at a pub by the river, then crossed beside the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre to walk a quieter street where there is now an Alice in Wonderland sculpture, and onto the station and the train back to London.
Stay safe. Keep well. Go walking.