This morning I stepped straight across Lower Drive into the forest, half clambered, half slid down the steep wooded flanks of Running Hill, and eventually came to the gate through which I had passed to reach the wide gravelled track discovered on 10th of this month.  No longer did I have to seek out a path through the undergrowth set with bracken, grasses, and other wild plants.

Often, especially along country roads, when there is building development work being undertaken, you will see a notice warning of ‘heavy plant crossing’. Cleared footpath Some of this had cut a swathe through the forest floor as wide as the gravelled roadway it led to.  The boggier parts had been made even more treacherous by the deeply pitted lengths of wheel tracks.

Before reaching the gravel there is a crosspaths on this track. (I am ignoring the remonstrations of my computer’s dictionary at this point.  If you can have a crossroads I don’t see why you can’t have a crosspaths – would you believe it, the computer has just attempted to control me by splitting up the word?).

I turned right, trusting that I would emerge somewhere near Shave Wood or, better still. Suters Cottage.  I soon came to a pedestrian gate which looked promising.  I went through it and continued.  After a short time the terrain became unfamiliar enough to cause some trepidation.  You know, clambering up one leaf and log strewn rocky slope after another, whilst being feasted on by small fat winged beasts, can become a bit dispiriting.  Just as I was beginning to feel this I saw the fish beckoning. Fish up a tree This creature protruded from half way up a tree trunk.  I’m pretty sure it was indicating the correct route with its flipper.

Especially as I came upon an unpleasantly boggy stretch I began to wonder about the wisdom of my finny faith.  You can usually tell when a road is about to come into view because there will be a prolonged gap in the trees, where a bit more sunlight is in evidence.  So when I did espy what I thought must be the Shave Wood end of Seamans Lane, I was somewhat relieved.

You will be as surprised as I was to learn that I had emerged more than halfway up Running Hill and had only a few more yards to travel.  I am quite used to getting to the wrong place by going the wrong way.  To get to the right place by going the wrong way is so unusual it is worth printing out this post and framing it.

Our old friend Tony joined us for a salad lunch and evening meal of Jackie’s smoked haddock and cauliflower cheese (recipe).  The latter was accompanied by an excellent Prosecco Tony had brought.  Although I have always retained a friendship with this man I first met on our Social Work training course in 1969, Jacke had not met him for about forty years.  As she prepared to receive him she quipped that if the meal she planned was not ready for consumption she could always use the pigs’ hearts she had in the freezer.  I didn’t register the point of the joke until she reminded me that she had given him hearts in shredded form to supplement the minced meat she had cooked for the first dinner she ever gave him 43 years ago.  When Tony sat down to his lunch he spoke of that meal.  The poor chap had been enjoying his shepherds pie until informed it contained that particular ingredient which he could not tolerate.  They each had the event which I had forgotten burned in their memories.  The tale of my own never to be forgotten culinary memory involving stuffed hearts was told in my post of 3rd August last year.

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