28 January 2020

Exercise

Sun veiled in cloud by Frith Hall Lane
Monday morning was glorious but by the time I reached Linacre Reservoirs west of Chesterfield, a bank of light grey cloud had oozed across the firmament.

"Ah well," I thought. "It's not just about the photographs, it's the exercise too."

Clint was not so philosophical.

"What are you leaving me here for in this godforsaken car park? And how long are you going to be?"

"Around two hours," I replied.

I crossed one of the dams and headed up to Old Brampton. It was surprising how muddy it was out there. A woman emerged from her house to advise me that the public path went round the back of her property and not the side. I had the impression that she has provided such guidance before.

Soon I was on a particularly nasty section of path bordered by brambly briars. The way ahead was like a quagmire but I was determined not to fall. Derbyshire mud is notoriously slippery as I have discovered several times to my discomfiture in the past.

Soon I was on a rough farm track heading towards Westwick Farm  and onward to Frith Hall. An unleashed black dog emerged from the stackyard at Broomhall Farm to bark madly at me. "Good boy!" I pleaded and a hidden voice from one of the farm buildings yelled "Get here!" The dog complied.

As I plodded along, my head was as usual a reflecting pool for passing thoughts. The rhythm of footsteps is the perfect musical accompaniment to thinking. I remembered the recent wedding and happy things that happened long ago. I berated myself for past mistakes and for not saying  things I should perhaps have said. But gradually that annoying stuff melted away.

Miserable horses stood forlorn in the lee of hedgerows as crows gathered in the fields. A beautiful bird settled on a precarious branch and we briefly observed each other. It was probably a chaffinch.

The Birches was a busy farm property. More like an industrial estate than a traditional farm. There were warning signs and security cameras and an array of vehicles but thankfully no mud or barking black dogs.

Then on to Hemming Green and across fields towards Dumble Wood before dropping down into the shallow valley that contains the three reservoirs at Linacre.

It had been a sallow, greyish kind of afternoon but thankfully there was no rain. I saw many things and thought many thoughts. Walking can be a kind of psychological therapy and I often think that those who are troubled or depressed might feel a lot better if they simply went out walking in the countryside once or twice a week. It costs nothing.

I could hear Clint snoozing as I approached that silver South Korean beast but when I pressed the "Open Sesame!" button on my car key he stirred immediately.

"Oh, you're back!" he yawned, adding sarcastically - "Where to now Revered Master?"

"To infinity and beyond! Or Sheffield if you prefer."
View to Frith Hall from Frith Hall Lane

35 comments:

  1. A very interesting and introspective post with a first rate first photo (i love lone trees). The one and only time I've suffered from depression was when I was 16 and had undergone major life-saving surgery. It was called post-operative depression. I would go out in the morning and walk for the whole day. Since then I've rarely done long walks alone. I have had companions with whom we could walk for hours and never say a word except "I'm just going to take a short detour to photograph that." or some such statement. Then we'd sit on the top and watch the ravens and marvel. Years after we'd have those memories to chat over.

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    1. Thank you for reading this post and for reflecting upon it, linking it nicely to your own experience of walking.

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  2. I do enjoy a long walk but have to admit to being a fair weather walker. I would certainly have turned back if confronted by a boggy quagmire instead of a path. My little short legs don't fare well in deep mud.

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    1. Peregrine could give you a piggy back.

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  3. I always feel better after a good walk outside. My mum was English and believed in two things, fresh air and hot baths. She was always a walker and even up until about six months before she died we would go for walks. It's too bad we don't have public footpaths like you do in England. Everything is divvied up here, fenced in, surrounded by roads but I do agree, fresh air and a good, long walk definitely help depression and other diseases as well. Glad you weren't attacked by that dog.

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    1. I have had many similar encounters with dogs. Not something you really want when you are simply trying to enjoy a long country walk. We are very lucky with public footpaths over here in your mother's mother country. They are a national treasure.

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  4. That certainly was a crowded walk you had...accompanied by the Birches, Hemming Green, dear old Dumble Wood, and me, of course, Lee of Hedgerows.

    It was a nice chat we all shared, but now I need to take a nap. Catch you again later. :)

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    1. Make sure you wake up after your nap Lee!

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    2. Your concern is duly noted, Mr. Pud.

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    3. Oh good! You woke up. I hope you weren't snoring. This would have disturbed your two furry mates.

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  5. Your walks inspire me to do better. How I wish I had the footpaths you enjoy around here though.

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    1. Many Americans never walk anywhere so at least you are bucking the trend Mary. You could have a great walk all round the coast of Dog Island next time you are there.

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  6. Such a descriptive narrative of a thoughtful walk--felt as though I were walking along with you (not talking). Good for the soul.

    Clint can't complain. He did get a snooze out of it.

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    1. I was happy to take you along Mary but what exactly were you doing in those bushes?

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  7. Chaffinches ARE beautiful. We occasionally get them on our feeders. I love walking too, as you know, but I think I'd be nervous about being challenged by cranky property owners or barking dogs!

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    1. I walk on designated public footpaths in the knowledge that the law is on my side. Property owners know this too.

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  8. Time to release your book of wet winter walks - SPLOSH! It might even splash ahead of similarly titled tomes in the sales charts.

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    1. Very droll Monsieur Dunham...but a good idea nonetheless.

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    2. It might be amusing to photo edit one of their book covers with pictures of muddy puddles and walking equipment instead of food, with substitute author name, if only to see their reaction. It was ranked number 4 in last week's Guardian.

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    3. Quite amazing for vegan cookery when veganism is still very much a minority preference.

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  9. Walks pounding London pavements are not the same and with less interesting scenery. Your photos make up for that!

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    1. Thank you Madam ADDY. You could catch a train into the countryside near London and enjoy some nice country walks there.

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  10. A good walk provides us with many benefits. One needs to be alone to reflect on one's past. Yes, I do like walking by myself but I don't get as many opportunities as I would like.

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    1. I guess The Micro Manager keeps you on a tight rein.

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  11. Walking and thinking go good together. I enjoyed your description of your walk. As others have said, I sure wish we had walking paths here.

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    1. Walks in Britain are made easier by our excellent mapping service - Ordnance Survey.

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  12. In the past I've had walking partners and I've walked alone, and generally speaking I prefer to walk alone. As you've described, it provides a chance to think.

    I like ironing clothes for the same reason, strangely enough.

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    1. I will take your word for it... about the ironing I mean. Not one of my skills I am afraid to say.

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  13. P. S. I realize you prefer bright sunny days for pictures, but I very much enjoy your grayer photos. The first one today is so pleasing to me with the lacy tree branches and the sun creating a bright spot in the clouds. Maybe I enjoy these because I enjoy gray days for walking - they are much easier on my frightfully sensitive eyes!

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    1. Have you heard of a new-fangled invention called sunglasses?

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    2. Yes, but they make taking pictures next to impossible. I wear prescription glasses (and sunglasses) so it's not just a matter of whipping them off, taking a photo, and putting them back on.

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    3. I feel your pain Jenny.

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  14. You know my take on walking, no need for me to elaborate on it once again.
    The first photo is fantastic - a cloudy sky is so much more interesting than a clear blue one, and I am glad you decided to go in spite of the threatening rain.

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    1. We are members of the same religion - The Walkers.

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  15. Many Thanks for the shared this informative and interesting post with me.
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    ReplyDelete

Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

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