Just when I had all but given up on the weather in Pulborough, which has been constant rain all weekend, I found that what for me had been untraversible forest, at least not without looking like somebody just finishing a mudder, has become navigable by virtue of my new buy – Wellingtons. Yes I hear you say, surely he’s not the one person in the UK who has never bought Wellingtons. I have to fess up and say that it was indeed me that was the famed virgin Wellington wearer.
Perhaps I saw them as too grown up, or cissy or what my parents would have sensibly worn – who knows. Once I survived the trauma of trying them on (they were connected by a piece of that indestructible cord that shoe sellers fit with much glee in a vain effort to stop you walking out of the shop with them, whilst at the same time enjoying your efforts to look grown up and cool while trying them on). I’m sure any half respectable Wellington thief would carry cutting implement to overcome that particular hurdle.
Once bought, I headed to the local forest for some walking so that I had enough calories added to be able to have a reasonable pudding (or two). It was quite fun feeling for a moment like those people whose 4 x 4’s comfortably and effortlessly handle the worst of terrain when going to events in the countryside, whilst us normal people realise that our cars are only designed ever to work on straight level tarmac sans potholes. (Not that I’ve seen many roads like that where I live for some time). Even huge deep puddles shrunk into insignificance with my new companion footwear, and it was like being a kid again, happy and obliviously unconcerned about the mess I could get in wearing them by stomping gleefully through mammoth puddles.
I hasten to add that they’re mundane green as opposed to those in Jake Hawkes’ spectacular lead picture (Thank you Jake):
Gone were the ever hopeful skirtings of intimidating puddles, that would somehow have lain traps for the unweary and mean that I’d end up in the puddle anyway. Also gone was my dread of country gates with locking mechanisms that could only be operated by leaning perilously from one side while trying to avoid the huge puddle which is always under the gate, e.g.
It was also nice not to have to find dryer alternatives to the well worn tracks which inevitably fill up with water. I could also comfortably handle the series of muddy horse shoe sized potholes that seem to fill the entire path on some stretches – those bits where they suck your trainers or hiking boots off your feet with an almost comic spoon in trifle sound. What do the horseriders do? I have images of them cantering forward and then reversing until not a single splodge of path has no horseshoe prints – it must take them hours.
Seriously, if that’s possible in a monologue about Wellingtons – they do mean that there’s more times, which with good waterproof jacket, you can continue walking when its been or is currently dreadful weather, and if it means it cuts down my gerbil like time on the gym treadmill that’s a good thing.
Picture courtesy of Robert Owen
I say gerbil like because of recent injury that means I’ve got be a bit Last of the Summer Wine about my walking. Got to take it gentle otherwise my physio will be able to use a well meant but still uncomfortable disapproving look on me. I get the feeling that those unencumbered by injury are wondering what I’m doing (I don’t guess they actually notice at all) walking so slowly. I have to walk at about 2.5 miles per hour, which I have to say is agonisingly slow. It means that you’re on the machine a long long long time before you hit the calorie count you want, hence Wellingtons are literally and figuratively a breath of fresh air. I still have to stick to the restrained pace, but there’s few people to care about it and I’m actually going somewhere, even if its only a circle back to the car park.
As for dramatic news of weight loss, there isn’t much – I’m down 6 ounces to 12 st 8lbs with 11lbs still to go. Right direction but very slow and not particularly helped by injury and one of those ‘the hell with it’ Saturdays. Sticking to what I say though, and itwas right back on with the diet this morning.
Well, if buying or wearing Wellingtons had ever been on my bucket list, (and that’s one sad list if it ever had been) its not now.
I was not alone on my walk – the Scottish incumbents of the South Downs national park were out in force the other side of the small pond that recent rain had transformed into a small lake:
Ok, there were only five of them and they were, I am pretty sure giving me that ‘we have to be here – why on earth are you here?’ look which is normally the stock look of Yorkshire sheep, and yes Sussex does have a small herd of magnificent long horned Scottish cattle. (For those who are still not sure what they’re supposed to be seeing in the this photo).
I wondered why Wellington was associated so closely with these boots, aside from bearing his name nowadays. In Arthur Wellesley’s biography, it is reported that Wellington noted that many cavalry soldiers sustained crippling wounds by having been shot in the knee – a very vulnerable and exposed part of the body when one is mounted on a horse. He proposed a change in the design of the typical boot by having it cut so as to extend the front upward to cover the knee. This modification afforded some measure of protection in battle. Information courtesy of Wikipedia. (Thank you).
Earnestly hope that your dieting is going well, don’t take life too seriously and feel free to share those ‘I thought Wellingtons were boring until …’ stories.
Bye for now. Ian.