Friday, 27 September 2013

Ramblings of a Townie

The dictionary definition –

ram-ble –
intr.v. ram-bled, ram-bling, ram-bles
1.    To move about aimlessly.
2.     To walk about casually or for pleasure.
3.    To follow irregularly winding course of motion or growth.
4.     To speak at length and with many digressions.

A leisurely, sometimes lengthy walk

Don't want to blow my own trumpet or anything but I think I'm pretty good at all of the above, especially number four; just ask anyone who knows me.

I maintain, and regularly remind my OH, that the last thing to eventually fail on my body will be my voice. Poor thing, he'll have to suffer my incessant ramblings right up to the last AND I talk quite coherently in my sleep, too.

Now some of you may already know, I've decided to lead a healthier lifestyle. (It's funny isn't it, how when one gets to a certain point in life one reluctantly acknowledges one needs to do something about fitness before it's too late. e.g. dropping dead)... I digress.

Unfortunately I'm allergic to tight, pink lycra, sweaty gyms and any heavy breathing induced by serious, intensive exercise. I'm thinking more along the lines of lifting a chilled champagne glass and a moderate bit of rose pruning - at the same time of course.

I considered other forms of gentle, but worthwhile exercise, made a pros and cons list and quickly dismissed them. 

Cycling - 
1. Bound to cause heavy sweating.
2. Lycra may well be involved.
3. Steep inclines, hilly things getting in the way and spoiling the fun. Too much like hard work and I've absolutely NO idea HOW to change gear or even when! (Apparently it involves timing.) Hubby once tried to explain the complexities to me early on in our married life, how it had to be done whilst moving or the bike would blow-up, the intricacies and engineering information that followed  made me glaze over in an instant. I'm a lightweight, I know.
4. Requires a sense of balance of which I have absolutely none. Actually fell off my Triang tricycle as a child more times than I care to remember. And they were BIG wheels! I was always re-enacting the Julie Andrews scene in The Sound of Music where she rides a bike (not a tricycle, I hasten to add) along with the Von Trapp children. Incidentally we have a great deal in common, I'll have you know. We share the same name and my brother's name is Andrew. Always had an affinity with her based on this rather tenuous link.
5. Most of the bikes I've seen have a saddle that resembles a razor blade and is about as comfortable as sitting on one!
6. Chaffing. Need I say more? Pass the Vaseline.
(Well that turned out to be ALL cons)

I was brought up by the sea, literally. It was at the end of our back garden so have always maintained a very healthy respect for it.
Dorset County Education Authority in their wisdom decided all children in their hallowed schools should be taught to swim by the age of 11. We trekked weekly in slow frozen, crocodiles of children through the streets of Poole to the unheated outdoor pool by the boating lake, in order to be tortured in sub zero temperatures. Chattering teeth, blue get the picture? My mother described it as 'character building'.
It would have all been doom and gloom if it had not been for the stop-over on the return journey to purchase a bag of something tooth-rotting at the sweet shop. We had competitions on the way back to school to see how long we could make an aniseed ball last without crunching on it. 
You see, teachers could do that sort of thing in those days without having to complete a risk assessment. And as for teacher/pupil ratios? Tuh!

Later on at the girls school, I went on an adventure week with my English Teacher who was a jolly hockey-sticks sort of person - a bit Joyce Grenfellish - who had a passion for dinghy sailing. We spent the summer term traipsing down after school to the park's boating lake and literally messing about in boats. All I can remember from those days is 'boom coming over'. Incidentally, before I forget, Miss Paige, our talented English come sailing Teacher was the first person to introduce her 'gels' to the word intercourse. *sniggers* She explained at length it was 'social intercourse' and could be used freely in conversation. So we did. Frequently. *Titters*

Anyways, on this Adventure Week we incurred the wrath of the sea and the weather. Lyme Regis, mid autumn is notorious for storms just turning up on a whim.
 And they did. 

The previous day we'd been sea canoeing on calm seas and in brilliant sunshine and the Thursday (I remember it well) was dinghy sailing in pairs a little further out than previously.

Now whether it was just me but I noticed there was a distinct change in the weather.  No one actually voiced any concerns so we headed out beyond the safety of the Cobb and were meant to have turned around in the harbour opening but seemed to be 'drawn' by some unseen force out to sea, despite trying to turn about. I can honestly say I wasn't at all worried. In fact we were so busy doing dinghy 'stuff' that we failed to notice the skies darkening to a worrying navy blue and the swell beginning to block out the shoreline. At the very instant I felt scared and unsure of how we were going to get back in, the cavalry arrived on the horizon in the form of the Lyme Regis Lifeboat and its crew. 

They sailed like a show  jumping horse across the waves towards us. Relief seems a totally inadequate word for how we felt. They expertly tied us up and towed us back to safety. 
It could have all  gone so terribly wrong. However, I've dined out on this story for many a year and I'm grateful to those brave volunteers for allowing me to do so.

As for swimming as an option?

1.I have very, VERY, naturally curly hair which would need 'taming' after each  visit and I'm not a high maintenance 'gel'. Swimming caps are out too, headache inducing.
2. I can't help thinking when I'm swimming in ANY pool, public or otherwise, of those who may have 'accidentally' relieved themselves of something and I could possibly swallow some of it. (OH tells gruesome stories of 'solids' of all descriptions being found in pools)
3. I don't like putting my face in the water when doing front crawl. A habit I've got into in order to avoid hair getting wet. 
4. All that faffing in changing rooms, wet cossie, smelling of chlorine.
Hmmm.....ALL cons again.)

Which leaves...

1. I can go where I please, within reason and enjoy our beautiful green and pleasant land.
2. Hair, hopefully will remain intact and just require a brush through.
3. No lycra involved.
4. Relatively safe ( read my last post).
5. Cheap. Always a good reason for doing something.
6. I've already got a customised walking/poking stick.

Hmm...all pros :-) 

So there you have it. 

Rambling it is.


  1. Excellent piece! Couldn't agree more although the invention of the gel filled bicycle seat cover does help one's posterior if forced to cycle! Personally I find it near impossible to do the last option without a dog, but am having to train myself as I have just lost my dear old boy! Good luck with it!

    1. Hello Debbie, thanks for leaving a comment!
      Funnily enough I saw a gel filled seat the other day but felt a little more padding akin to an armchair would have been more appropriate! So sad to hear about your little dog...