Sunday, 22 September 2013

Number 19 - In Which Exploration Leads To Lost.

For a while now the Dog has been suffering from a distinct lack of exercise due to the rest of the household being busy doing things such as work, homework, more work and recovering from injuries. Today we decided to go on an Adventure; something we did a lot when Teenager was a pre-teen and we lived in the middle of nowhere, much nearer the sea, than we do now.

A quick study of the relevant OS map and I had a route in mind. I have long held a fascination for disused railways and there is one near where we live. Something about the idea of making footsteps in the shadow of a desolate stretch of countryside that once carried dirty, loud trains. The one near our house has only been out of use for forty or fifty years, yet nature has already taken back what once was the domain of industry. In parts, trees and shrubs have grown so dense, the route is impassable. And in other parts, there is a stillness so unnerving that you can almost hear the whistle of the steam train as it barrels along the track.

As we walk, Teenager talks. She talks all the time. Sometimes she creates stories as she walks along; often tales of other worlds reached by magical portals. Sometimes the tales are of ghosts, inspired by the vast wild stretches of wild hills and fells that surround our little town.

Husband is usually silent.

The route seemed simple; a quick hike across the field at the back of our house should lead onto the Moor and from there, the disused railway cuts across which would lead us almost back home. There was a green dotted line on the map, so with map in hand, we departed.

An hour later, Husband declared we were in the wrong place. Not trusting my sense of direction, he commandeered the map and led us off in a different direction. He had us almost doubling back before I decided to challenge his orienteering skills. "This is not the right way," I declared.

He huffed and he puffed and he threw the map at me. After some careful studying of the green dots, I led the way once again. We walked over and under hills, around an old quarry, and through grass as high as Dog (which was amusing as it was like something out of a movie - the grass was moving but the monster was as yet unseen!) and after another hour or so, Lo!, the railway appeared.

The delight at being right was overshadowed by Husband being wrong. He sulked for the rest of the way which was a shame as the old railway was really quite atmospheric. We walked under an old bridge that featured brick work in an amazing tessellated pattern and bent sound around our heads that made no logical sense. How could a whisper by my daughter, three metres in front of me, sound like it was shouted from behind me? Truly creepy but exhilarating at the same time.

We arrived home about two hours later than planned so we got pizza and fizzy drinks from the supermarket. Husband still isn't speaking to me. I sense that there is more to this than just being wrong with the map. I expect it will come to a head very soon.

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