Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Find The River 

What better way to idle away a sunny morning than poring over Ordnance Survey maps looking for funny place names? It's one of my favourite things about being British.

Here is some nice lavender.

In the afternoon, me, Girlfriend, FFA and JP went for a stroll in Dovedale.
When I was little Dovedale was one our favourite family days out and I haven't been back in, ooh, twenty five years, getting on for twenty five light years. I was pleased to find it completely where we'd left it.
There was always one particular spot on the journey, a bend in the road with a small lay by on the left, with a horse in a field on the outside of the curve, and a lovely view down the valley on the other side, where me and my brother would have Dad pull the car over so we could rush out and spew up. Happy days.

JP updated me with the latest from his job as a top secret intergalactic superhero - he has leggy assistants! - and I waffled on a bit about long exposure photography. This doesn't demonstrate it very well. I'd like to go back some overcast day with a tripod and a neutral density filter.

FFA can – and did - identify just about any bird we asked him to, which to me is just wonderful and something I'm deeply envious of.
“What kind of bird is that, FFA?” I'd ask, and he'd patiently explain that it was a chaffinch, easily identifiable because of its double white wing bars.
“That's a male, because of it's pinky brown underside,” he would add.
“Oh. And what kind of bird is that one, FFA?”
“That's also a chaffinch, Tim,” he'd say. “Easily identifiable because of its double white wing bars. That's a male, because of it's pinky brown underside.”
We passed a happy brace of hours in this fashion, ambling beside the river in the late afternoon sunshine, playing pooh sticks and beating off insects. The air was thick with midgets.

Back at the house it was jambalaya night, easily identifiable by its pleasing spicy aroma and pinky brown hued rice and potatoes.

Later in the upstairs living room, we played a new variant of What The F*ck, called Who Wants To Be A Scientologist?
In S*n Fr*ncisco – yeah, yeah, sorry about that – somebody in the street handed Girlfriend a lengthy questionnaire to fill in at her own leisure.
You'd have to be barking, not to say in possession of too much spare time, to diligently answer all two hundred rather earnest questions, then supply “them” with your name and contact details – though I guess barking and excessively time-rich are just the qualities “they” look for in prospective prey. But the questions lend themselves well to the WTF format.

So we had a right good laugh debating “Do you make thoughtless remarks or accusations that you later regret?” and “Do your past failures still worry you?” and “Do you turn down responsibility because you doubt your ability to cope?” and “Does life seem rather vague and unreal to you?”
Incidentally, just how creepy is “Could you agree to strict discipline?”?
Why not be honest and get straight to the point? “Fancy joining a cult? Free brainwashing!”

To change the mood, sometime around midnight we went outside to play bush jumping. This was Leanne's idea. It consists of running as fast as you can into a hedge. It was funny.
Then we played hide and seek a bit, and then me, FFA and Leanne walked down the nearby stream/ditch to see how far we could get.
The squelch of mud between toes became quite pleasant after a while. There was barbed wire to negotiate, and branches and brambles and quite deep bits. It was pitch black save for the scant illumination provided by a torch with a fading battery, and of course, this was also Leanne's idea and terrifically funny.

Everybody had gone to bed when we returned maybe an hour later, so we had another drink. Slimy little creatures crawled out of our trouser pockets and scampered in slo-mo across the floor, no doubt wondering how the hell they'd got there and how they were going to get back.

Eventually the sky grew light, the sun came up and we called it a day.

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