Over the Christmas period, I like to be in a constant state of relaxation. I like the days between Christmas Eve and 2nd January to be a blur of not knowing what day of the week it is, of not having plans, of floating around in pyjamas, crumbs falling out my mouth, and life being generally swell.
Which is why, I was of course horrified, to be informed this morning that there would be another Family Walk taking place.
If you’ve been keeping up with my Christmas Diaries, you’ll know I was forced to attend such an event a few days previously, and now, I was being forced on another one.
What made today’s one different, was that it wasn’t just a walk. Oh no. It was essentially pilgrimage across the border, it went on so long, and probably one of the most traumatic expeditions I’ve ever been on (and I once got back at 4pm the next day after a night out, with a fake eyelash glued to my cheek by my own sick, barefoot as I’d lost my shoes and wearing my friends dressing gown) so that is saying something.
The walk started perfectly fine; I was almost enjoying getting some fresh country air into my city filled lungs. There were wild horses roaming, birds tweeting, I almost felt some family bonding was on the horizon.
This was until, my Uncle Mo who seems to think he’s been in the SAS his entire adult career and so you would assume carries flares with him on a trip to Aldi the way he goes on, led us into what I can only describe as marshland that had the scent of sewage, and led me to become submerged up to my belly button the second I stepped into it.
Being the only family member with wellies (the other members were wearing walking boots for some bizarre reason – who are these people that own walking boots and are apparently related to me?). I brazenly accepted their request to walk ahead and get a feel for the land and check it wasn’t too wet.
Let’s just say, it would’ve been more appropriate to be wearing a wetsuit and flippers and sitting in a canoe, with what ensued. With one footstep into the aforementioned marshland, I immediately was engulfed in thigh high mud, water, and what I highly suspect was actual shit.
Rather than immediately try and make my way back, I thought if I moved forward I would find a solid piece of land I could stand on to gather my thoughts and potentially wipe the genuine faeces off my kneecaps. This, in hindsight, was a mistake.
It materialised that actually, the further I moved into the fucking swamp I’d found myself in, the worse it was. With every step that seemed like it was only an inch of mud, as I put my full weight down, I fell further through and ended up waist deep in even more rain water mixed with excrement than you would find in the portaloos on the last day of Glastonbury in a season of particularly high rainfall.
Realising that moving forward was not an option, I knew then I needed to retreat. This of course, meant revisiting my previous destination of what was essentially a lake of steaming piles of animal shit. Alongside this, were high growing brambles that were slicing at me as I attempted to make my way back to safe and dry land.
Thankfully, I have a really supportive and helpful family who use their initiative, which meant they all stood around doing absolutely bugger all whilst their blood relative was drowning in sinking sand, but rather than sand, shit.
If I thought that my horrific ordeal was over after this, it wasn’t. Uncle Mo, the apparent SAS commander, led us trailing around the arse end of nowhere for a further hour, in which we had an actual family discussion on whether I should be passed over a high fence, to then cross a live train track, to see what was on the other side. I say we had a family discussion; what I mean is, everyone else discussed if this is what should be done with me, as if I was a goldfish or a hamster that couldn’t converse or have an opinion of her own.
Finally, Bear Grylls, AKA Uncle Mo, recognised where we were, and we were back on route. A pub loomed in the distance, like a mirage in the desert. We entered, and I ordered some chips with all the joy and vigour of someone who’d just been told they were being flown to the Maldives all expenses paid. I’d already used my emergency ration of 3 Lindor chocolates in my coat pocket, so panic had set in after the first 45 minutes of the walk. I was then informed by the pub there was an hour wait on chips, which was not the news I wanted to be given. If I’m honest, at that precise moment in time, I couldn’t really have been told anything worse, other than that we would be repeating that walk every day for the rest of my life. I used all my willpower to tell them that I was happy to eat them frozen out of a McCains bag.
Finally, the car park we’d parked in what seemed like 15 years ago, was upon us. I was pretty shaken up, what with being coated in shit and mud and having blisters the size of fucking Pluto on both feet.
I won’t be going on another country walk for a long, long time. I’m now off for therapy, and a long shower.
All my love BGP xx