An Up And Down Morning

Early on a morning of sunshine and showers Jackie drove us into the forest to take advantage of the dramatic light.

Encouraged by my undulating walk yesterday I was tempted to disembark at the top of

Holmsley Passage

and walk down the much steeper slope. At first I kept to the tarmac because of the muddy and pitted state of the nibbled edges. The road was quite busy so this didn’t seem to be a well advised procedure.

I therefore climbed the bank and threaded my way along the pony track.

The landscapes, rich in gorse and last year’s bracken, with still skeletal trees standing against the

fluid clouds bleeding across broad sheets of blue watercolour paper.

As I turned the bend leading down to the modern building on the left I saw what Jackie was up to. She had been tracking my descent from the

outset on the road surface (you will need to biggify this one to spot me),

and progressing along the verge.

From this point I photographed trees on the other side of the hill,

and after reaching the car, a couple of grazing ponies.

Jackie photographed a mobile signal mast masquerading as a spiky tree.

Yesterday’s pair of work trousers became rather muddy. I had therefore put them in the laundry basket and taken a clean pair for today.

On any other day this might have been a sensible move.

Today, unfortunately, I chose to stop at the junction between Gorley Road and

Snails Lane in order to photograph

the flooded road.

As I stepped backwards across the soggy surface of the lane in order to ensure that the Flood sign appeared in the picture I trod on a loose rock that slid backwards taking me with it.

There is a moment in a fall when it is politic to stop resisting and let yourself fall gracefully. That is how I found myself seated in moist gravelly mire with gritty bits in it, As I began to turn over, wondering just how I would manage to heave myself to my feet, a small van came spraying through the flood.  This seemed to be the moment to remain stationary and present an aged and infirm front.

The friendly young driver wound down his window, asked whether we needed help, and upon receiving an affirmative response, leaped from his cab. He and Jackie each took an arm and hoisted me upright.

By now Mrs Knight was regretting that her panic had prevented her from photographing the moment. She made up for it with this shot of

my rear and the offending rock;

and these of my jacket

and trousers.

My head, it seems, was in need of the attentions of “The Horse Whisperer”.There’s not much that can be done about my second row forward’s cauliflower ear.

We weren’t that far from Hockey’s Farm Shop. I cleaned up as best I could with the cold water in their loo. Naturally we had to reward both them and ourselves by brunching there. I sat on a hessian shopping bag in order to avoid making their seats soggy. After a good meal we returned home where I changed my trousers.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pasta arrabbiata with which she drank more of the Sauvignon Blanc, and I finished the Cabernet-Carmenere.



  1. Oh dear! Looks like an eventful day. Sorry about the fall – I hope there are no longer term consequences, Derrick.

  2. Ahh, the trials and tribulations of the intrepid walker on his soggy trails…
    “I cannot walk the continents
    Like the intrepid Marco Polo
    But my feet have felt the sands of time
    Pass between my toes”

  3. Never mind the photography, there are quotes galore to be had in this post – and please excuse my guffaw of understanding laughter at this one: ‘There is a moment in a fall when it is politic to stop resisting and let yourself fall gracefully. ‘ This is something I have become quite adept at in recent years as it does rather seem to have become something of an athletic interest of mine, to see in how many ways and in how many circumstances I can go upside down…….. But I’ve never dined out immediately following the exercise – now that’s surely an example of savoir faire!!

    1. Next time I will stay calm and remember to take the camera with me, to photo graph my tortoise on his back.

  4. It’s bound to happen when we are trying to get good photos, it seems! I don’t have too many of these stories but one time I did slip in the mud and fell forward while carrying my daughter and my camera with a new lens on it. I was proud of myself that I grabbed my daughter before I grabbed the camera, which went down, lens first into the mud. I was able to wipe the lens off and my daughter, who was probably 18 months at the time, thought the whole thing was hilarious.

  5. A fun sequence of your approaching the camera. Then the episode when the rock and gravity won out brought an element of surprise adventure. Glad you’re ok.

  6. That was certainly an eventful outing. You did emerge in the distance as if in a time lapse sequence, only to slip into the muddied bank of the road, albeit behind the scene. I loved your thoughts in the very moments of fall —a sobering piece of wisdom.

  7. Let’s all remember to be careful, especially when stepping backward. Those are really cool shots of you up on the distant hill looking mysterious.

  8. OH, no! 😮 🙁 I hope you are okay, Derrick! Falling is so scary! 🙁

    I bigified that one photo and spotted the top half of you just coming over the rise of that “hill”. 🙂

    Your cloud photos are stunningly beautiful! We had similar clouds AND it rained all day!

  9. Oh heck. I’m relieved you didn’t come to any harm, other than having to dine in muddy things, and also that Jackie proved she has not yet developed any paparazzi instincts in moments of crisis.

  10. Your descriptions are still poetic and and your even posed for incriminating photos – you two have the best outlook on life!!

  11. The inclusion of Jackie’s photos really add a new dimension. However she must develop more self control and stay on target when the opportunity for a really dramatic subject falls into focus. Panic is no excuse and the youngster in the car should have been adequate.
    But still, I hope you didn’t do any real damage.

  12. [Shouldn’t have hit the return button just yet]
    . . . And about the accident.. I love the spirit! Hope you’re doing just fine.

  13. Well, this post certainly caught the highs and lows of walking in the country. First there was this enchanting line: “I therefore climbed the bank and threaded my way along the pony track.” But then came the fall. In the mud. Life is like that. Glad you weren’t hurt and could enjoy a good meal afterward.

  14. The turbulent blue and grey skies of spring with rain pools and mud (and rocks) everywhere! I am glad you are alright after that fall, Derrick. A good cleanup and a fine evening meal with Jackie set all right again.

  15. Thank goodness you did not suffer much from the fall. These can be quite a bad thing I discovered after crossing fifty.

  16. The thing is, I love your sense of humor. So glad you suffered little from the fall besides muddy pants and ragged hair. You may have distressed Jackie the most. Until “the fall,” you were so productive on your walk. Some of the photos look like paintings. Well done. Now, stay on two feet!

  17. What an adventure Derrick and a great story, apart of course of you actually falling, sounds like you are ok and that’s good. Recently I too fell in an awkward way at the beach when the spray of a freak wave was trying to catch me, I fell headlong in the sand and on top of my camera, yes I was taking photos and did not see the water coming. I was wet to my skin, but all right. I’m glad you are all right too 🙂

  18. Up and down indeed, Derrick! I was enjoying the progression in your photo series, and how wonderful that Jackie followed your downward passage–not expecting that it would be quite so literal. I’m glad your weren’t injured. You are Jackie make a good team–this made me laugh: “By now Mrs Knight was regretting that her panic had prevented her from photographing the moment.”

  19. Jackie’s tracking shots of your descent would make a great opening for a movie. Any screenwriters among your followers? I hope you’ve recovered from your fall.

  20. Oh, Derrick! I’m sorry you had a fall but am pleased no damage was caused. Giving in and relaxing into the fall is the best possible thing to do and at least rear ends are a little more padded than knees and heads.

  21. By commenting late in the blog post party I know you have not suffered any permanent damage, so can afford to throw in my lot with Jackie. But falls are a serious problem as we age, so am happy that you came out of that one unscathed.

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