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The Long Walk Home



Last year during ‘lockdown’, I wrote about going for a little stroll and remarked on all the changes I had noticed.  The increase in birdsong, less traffic on the roads and the growth in community spirit.


A year has passed and much has changed again. There is much more traffic on the roads and many more people are back at work. This made me realise that things change and as human beings we can be adaptable to change- often out of necessity.


One great thing that I discovered during the last year was that I love walking! Not the ‘forced march’, getting out of breath type walking but more of the leisurely stroll in the countryside sort of walking.


A few weeks ago, myself and a good friend went on a ‘mini break’ to a log cabin. The cabin was in a farmer’s field in the welsh countryside and near a beautiful coastline.


I took my trusty old walking boots, trainers, suncream and all the wet weather gear I thought I might need (I was in Wales after all!). I’ve had my walking boots for years but haven’t used them for a long time.  Fortunately, (unlike the rest of my body), my feet haven’t grown! 


My friend identified the coastal path on the map and we set off having to firstly walk across a large field to get to it. I had been walking for under five minutes when I managed to step in really, really smelly mud(?).  I was stuck up to my ankles in it.  After a lot of help from my friend who found all this hysterically funny, I  had to return, squelching, back to the cabin and change into my walking boots, (why didn’t I wear these in the first place?!).


We continued on and had a lovely walk, admiring the beautiful countryside and feeling the warm sea breeze. We stopped and had a picnic on a beach where we saw surfers enjoying the incoming tide.


On the walk back (and about 4 miles from home), the soles of my trusty old boots decided to part company with the uppers.  It was a good job that my friend was in the girl guides as she had dental floss with her and tied it around my boots.  I had to walk really slowly to stop the soles from flapping and tripping me up.


It took us hours to get back but what a walk.  We were in no hurry, the sun was shining yet it wasn’t too hot. We noticed so much, the colours of the wild flowers in the hedgerows and the different songs that the birds sang. Time didn’t matter and we were perfectly comfortable just ambling along.


When we eventually got back, I noticed that the farm dog had something in his mouth – it was one of the trainers that I’d left outside to dry!  He was a lovely old dog and let it go without much of a fuss.  It was a bit chewed and covered in drool. I washed it and put it on a wall to dry. Then to add insult to injury a passing seagull did a massive poo in it (isn’t that supposed to be lucky?).  It’s a good job I had taken my ‘imitation’ crocs (other makes are available!).


The moral of this story (if there is one) is to accept each moment for what it is.  My mother always said to try and see the funny side – even if it isn’t obvious at the time and try to make the most of each experience. Try to really enjoy the good times as I have found that this helps me weather the not so good times.

Jane Thomas Volunteer Support Officer at Valleys Steps