I recently met up with my sister in law, Gloria and we walked along an established cycle path that goes on for miles, but we stopped after an hour or so and walked back again. A round trip of about seven miles. It was a beautiful Friday, which happened to be my day off. It was a dry day with an autumnal feel about it. The scenery was lovely good old English countryside.
My sister in law has recently had a return of breast cancer, after twelve years. She is a very brave person and is often in pain but she is not one for complaining. She walks along this cycle path at every opportunity that she has and she holds down a part time job in a care home. She is married to my brother, the paramedic. (Remember that post I recently wrote about him?)
I don't normally swear, but this cancer really has begun to get me down and the way it affects not only the sufferer who has it, but also their families who are also drawn in to it. I know many others have to do battle to cancer too and statistically one in three will get it at sometime in their life. I sometimes imagine fate to be a large pointer somewhere or other out yonder, saying, "Eeny meeny miney mo, You two escape but YOU must go!" I am sure that it has nothing to do with God........... its just the way that the world is made and ****ing bad luck if it happens to you.
Get back to the subject, Maggie...... the cycle path.
We walked a good distance, stopping now and then for me to take photos, when we came to a bridge and a lot of gravel on the side of the path.
Gloria surprised me by saying, "This is where a man pushed me off my bike when I was young and he groped me and I fell on all this gravel. Here are the scars that I still have."
What an evil creep! He ran from the scene and cycled off. I supposed she considered herself lucky that he didn't do worse. There was no one else about.
I reacted by asking her if she felt vulnerable these days when she walks down this path by herself and she replied that she wasn't going to let some pervert stop her from enjoying herself. She also remarked that if he did it now he would be in for a shock as she'd had a mastectomy! She is a brave lady to be able to laugh at herself like that. We both laughed as we imagined the scene.
We noticed there were gaggles of school boys walking along the path in the same direction as us. At first I thought they must be playing truant but as there were so many of them I reckoned the whole school would have to be doing it. There were far too many of them. I risked asking three young lads what was happening? I was obviously eyed with suspicion at first. Was I a school inspector or a child molester? However, a blushing boy of about thirteen told me that the school was on an organized hike. Didn't see any adults in charge for a long time. Trust us to pick such a day to come here. Gloria told me there were usually lots of older people about and apart from the risk to life and limb from mad cyclists, racing very fast and not ringing a bell (if they had one) who think they own the place, it was usually quiet. In fact the cyclists are very quiet and sneak up behind in a dangerous manner. Isn't it illegal not to have a bell? Not that there is any one to bother if it is.
After a while some boys stopped us, "Excuse me," said an angelic looking lad, "There's some rocks just along the path, mind you don't trip." We thanked the boys and Gloria muttered that she felt like slapping him round the face! Did he think we were so decrepit that we couldn't walk along the path in a straight line? The rocks were well off the path. Or maybe the school had asked them to help some old person and they had to report at the end of the day what they'd done.
Gloria and I suddenly fell about laughing at the thought that we were so old that we couldn't pass a few rocks without stumbling. We laughed so much that we both realized we needed the loo. Well it was all that laughing and our advanced years and apparently sagging bladders! There obviously wasn't one for miles around. Of course a bloke could just go behind a bush with no problem. My friend Hetty, was once out with me when she just had to go.......... so she went and squatted behind a bush without a care in the world. A gang of kids walked by laughing when they passed us and they had obviously seen her. I must write about Hetty one day. Another brave lady in a completely different way.
Back to the cycle path.
We walked gingerly after that, with mincing steps and tried hard not to laugh or think about our urgent need.
Eventually we came to the end of the walk and were within easy reach of some public loos. (A rare sight indeed, these days.) Too bad they were overflowing and out of order. Oh well....... we had waited this long, so we got to Gloria's car and drove to her house. She dashed to the downstairs loo and I raced upstairs!
We then had another good laugh and sat down to soup, crackers and cheese and a huge pot of tea.
Yes, an enjoyable day out, lovely scenery, good company and lots of laughter. A relief from the tensions of life! Did I say relief!!!!!