Winter Walks

We needed to drop some documentation off to a friend for their signatures so decided to use it as an opportunity for our daily exercise walk. They live about 2 miles away, so it wasn’t going to be too hard to walk there and back. In fact we’ve done it several times, especially last year.

Having looked at the weather forecast for the week ahead it was declared that today would be the better day to do that.

We start by walking into town, then taking the footpath round the back of the University campus. This takes you northwards along the river and up through a park before joining the housing estate where our friends live.

As we’ve walked this route many times over the last 10 months we’ve seen the landscape change. We’ve seen it through spring and summer and autumn and now winter.

The river rises with the rain fall and floods the surrounding fields, then it recedes to reveal dried out earth in the heat of summer. The trees bud, leaf and become home to wildlife, then shed to reveal the abandoned birds nests.

The number of people we pass fluctuates with the seasons. Everyone and his mother was out in the summer. You ran the risk of being run over by errant cyclists who seem to think they own the footpath. Children who have no idea how to walk in straight lines don’t seem to get out of the way whichever side of the path you walk on. And dogs. Dogs on leads, dogs on the loose, dogs walking calmly, dogs getting hysterical at the thought the ball might get thrown any second now. Dogs that want to come and say hello, and dogs who look at you for help as this is the eleventybillionth walk they’ve been on today.

Only the die hards venture out in the winter time. Everyone wrapped up in hat, gloves and scarf. Breath visible in the cold nip of air. Hardly any birdsong. Everyone walking with more sense of urgency to get back home in the warm.

We get to our friends but of course we can’t go in. We weren’t even going to stop, just push an envelope with the documents to sign through the letterbox. They heard the rattle so popped their heads up at the window like meerkats on the lookout. Then came to the front door to say hello. We stood well back at the end of the garden path. We didn’t chat for long as didn’t want them standing on their doorstep, letting all their home’s warmth out. Then we trudged back home.

A slightly different route back for a change. Took us along the side of the railway line back into town. Didn’t see any trains go by. The footpaths were a bit mucky. By now it was getting a bit dark. I was getting a bit warm under all the wrappings. I was ready to get back home and have a nice cup of mint tea.

4.5 miles walked in an hour and a half (including chatting time). That’s my exercise for the day.


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