How wonderful when things work out just right.
I was lucky enough to be able to spend a couple of days at Lulworth Cove last week. The weather was unspeakably good; it was absurdly good; it was obscenely good: the sun billowed down like ethereal honey. And so I went on a training walk with Rachel (my dearest), her sister, Emma, and her husband, Raph. (That’s Emma’s husband, Raph, by the way, not Rachel’s – I’m done with all that sort of nonsense.)
I learnt three valuable lessons on that perambulation. The first is that I need more practice! Although it was not a particularly long walk, it was very steep in places, and oh boy, did I feel it in my thigh and calf muscles. Fortunately, Hastings Country Park is blessed with some fairly steep ascents, so I really have no excuse.
Now, I’ve been concerned about occasional jabbing twinges in my left knee, and I asked Raph (who has considerable expertise in these matters) what I should do about it. He watched me walk for a couple of minutes and then said he knew what was wrong, and gave me an exercise which would sort it out. He says that if, every day, I twizzle my knee around to the left, and then stand on one leg for a minute, I should notice the difference in a week… So I’ll let you know next week.
The final lesson is that trekking poles are not just a bloody nuisance, they have a purpose. I’ve mostly left them at home to date, as they prevent my arms swinging freely. However, they also prevent me slipping over on those loose rocks that lie all about the place in areas such as Warbarrow Bay and the Scottish Highlands. It was but a little slip, and it didn’t hurt much; but had I had my rucksack on and so fallen somewhat harder, a relatively trivial injury to my knee, for example, could so easily prevent me progressing further. So trekking poles are definitely back on the equipment list.
I leave you with a heartening image. All good walks should finish with a good pint, and there are few better than Butcombe. Butcombe Brewing Co. began brewing fine ale in Bristol in 1978, perhaps the decade which was the nadir for English beer; Butcombe was an import element in reversing that trend. And their Gold is like liquid sunshine!