I’ve been spending the last three days learning how to walk properly.
For those of you who have always known there was something excessively aquatic about my gait, I’m afraid that I have merely been training to become a Hill and Moorland Walk Leader.
What that means for me is lots of tramping, stomping and yomping across terrain ill-suited to my boots, which are, in turn, ill-fitted to my feet.
But what that means for this blog post is that it’s already 9pm and I’m squeezing in what writing I can with my laptop on my knees, my knees on a chair and that chair on a train clattering its way to a south coast resort best known for its twin Harvester restaurants.
Now, I suppose I could have written this post a few days ago, knowing that I would be spending the rest of the week on Dartmoor.
But then all I could have written about is the minor incident in which the car hire company (yes, I can drive!) upgraded me at no extra cost to what was effectively a Tiger Moth tank.
When it comes to cars these days, I feel like a great-uncle seeing a distant removable cousin for the first time in six months: My haven’t you grown!
My rented vehicle was exactly the sort of behemoth that, as an ardent cyclist, I usually bemoan. The SUV, a Renault, towered over the road, with the driver (me) a helpless mosquito in the cockpit.
Whatever happened to Nicole and Papa?
Despite the looming irony, I am grateful that I didn’t (to my knowledge) murder any cyclists, although I did very nearly have an altercation with a grazing of ponies.
But, you know, my graded-up monster truck did have in-built SatNav. Ooh, plus plus plus! … When you walked away from the so-called car with the key in your pocket it automatically locked the doors.
So probably worth the manslaughter charge anyway.
The only other incident of note before I stepped onto the moor was my arrival at the bunkhouse in Princetown.
When I sauntered into the attached pub to announce myself (having killed a family of four in the car park without really noticing), the barman smiled warmly and said, There are 11 of you, right?
Er, no. Not really. I mean, I can see why you’d think that thing outside is a minibus, but no.
Yeah, yeah, I’m sure there was 11 of you in the book. Let’s have a look.
(Cue much shuffling of leaves in the bookings ledger.)
(We peruse the booking there indicated.)
It’s a half-sloshed local who has the tact to point out: You lummock – you’re looking at October.
We scrabble forward another couple of months and, in triumph, the barman jabs a finger down on today’s date: 11-13 David Charles.
Erm. Right. I think what’s happened there is that you’ve confused the dates I am lodging – the 11th to the 13th – with the number of people that make up my party.
Anyway, the upshot of that little incident was that I had the entire bunkhouse to myself. Probably a good thing as I spent most of my resting hours completely naked thanks to the over-enthusiastic central heating.
So, yeah. Not much to write about this week. Sorry.