Wildlife Walks

Published by: Mat on 7th Apr 2018 | View all blogs by Mat

dr1 [draft up during the day]


Sometimes a walk on your own outside in nature , in the countryside might be endurable, a pleasure even -  if there is a destination, but for me personally the aimless wander along a cliff only provokes the bleakest of feelings.  So, recalling the St John’s Wort and garlic in the hedgerow would not be sincere from my point of view.  Trickling brooks and twist of foot, no I cannot do it.

I’m sure any walk is enhanced a thousandfold with a dog, or a friend at your elbow.

But then I tell myself to man up, defend the honour of the billion eccentrics forced to take walks on their own, many of them are family members.

Here in my exile in the North of England, winter this year has been relentless stretching towards May.  Outside, the oldest folk are still wearing gloves and for my own part during my leisure walks to the supermarket I’ve still been wearing two jumpers and an anorak or sometimes my poet’s jacket if I’m feeling bold.  Thankfully I’m not wearing the spectacles like I did when we first moved here, although I still lack the confidence to purchase those Polish pickles down at Sainsbury’s lest anyone finds me Polish.  I learned my lesson with that scene the time wearing the All Blacks shirt and was bear-hugged by a Polynesian gentleman.  Won’t do that again.

SO, the walking.  I watched a good scrap a couple of weeks back, real traditional, two fellas both wearing the honourable sweats and grey, the discharge kit from the station, it’s  a fine look with the baseball cap, they were rolling in the road like the olden days.

One guy scrambled to his feet and chased after his wife in the aftermath,

‘I’ll remember your face, mate,’ he threatened over his shoulder.  His assailant or enemy, who knows, he was checking for knocks and by all appearances they’d cleared up some dispute.  My relief was that I had not stepped over the traffic lights and intervened, the community volunteer.

Twenty years ago in Bristol I intervened and ended up with a dog on my face, the guys stopped fighting and shared a smoke, giggling at this dick who’d wandered into scene and wrestled the dog.  That’s a recurring flashback, that one .

Country walks.  Beachy Head if you’re a poet is very distressing, the tiny wooden crosses on the headland.  But up here I have managed to scout my neighbourhood.  There’s a reputed mad woman keeps accosting my tiny wife at the corner shop, ‘high on drugs,’ says my wife.

‘Share the drugs,’ I say, but she says this woman at the corner wants to kill her so she won’t go outside at all.  I have to make all our messages as the savages a mere hundred miles away say, I think they do.

Yes, one end of the coast I walked up to the sea-life centre which is a little spooky with ‘ten penguins’ and ‘three octopussi’ it says on the placard, like Bedlam really.  I should go see the penguins when the sun shines.  Down the other end there’s a scar on the landscape where a hotel plunged into the sea, all the residents in the beds apparently, this local told me.  He looked out to the horizon, his dog was having a pee, he said you have to imagine a hundred bedsteds floating in the harbour, it was terrible for the local economy.

Anyway, I’ll walk a bit farther when the sun comes out in October and also have a swim or a widdle in the North Sea at some point which will be awful.  Just hanging in really for my ten thousand from the writing contest and my move to the South of France with my people, all best.



  • mike
    by mike 3 months ago
    Walks in Kent and the South East are far more sedate.
    The poem written by my aunt belongs to a poetic genre which includes Edward Thomas. I am sure other word clouders could source it. The romantics were great walkers - especially Wordsworth. The part of England most liked by my aunt was, perversely, the bleak moors around the Bronte Parsonage, immortalised in a film of 'The Railway Children. Every year mt aunt and uncle embarked on a Pilgrimage to Howarth. One of my aunt's literary suceess was an obituary of the dog which greeted them at the local hostel., It wad published in ;The Guardian in quite a spread and.along with Lassie's, might rate as one of the great dog obituaries.
    I envy your move to France. Paris is still the centre of the cultural world and, I suspect many international artists will soon leave London and make Paris their base.
  • Mat
    by Mat 3 months ago
    Hi Mike,

    No, I'm no going to France, Mike - I was playing. I used to have the France dream a decade ago when I was ocean-obsessed - but I shall hang on here in England to the end - any cottage will do for me. Also, we need commanders for the civil war to come, and I am raising my POUM banner in York, possibly.
    I remember reading the Thomas biography, but I was very confused, I didn't like him very much. There'd be a whole chapter of Thomas struggling with his wildlife stanzas, the affair in London to maintain, and tea at the Ritz...and the American...and then three lines at the end of the chapter about how his wife was living in the forest cabin with their five kids.

    But I do like your aunt's poem.

    Solitary is difficult, and a theme. I used to work away in London, finish my shift & wander Victoria alone like the little match girl in a suit, peering through restaurant windows, spending an hour in the army surplus store, bothering the shop-keeper.

    No, we moved North, I'm spearheading the brain drain. You'll see it in the stats a decade from now, rents are cheap :)
  • mike
    by mike 3 months ago
    Dear Matt,
    Are you one of these writers who have moved to an alternative site? I am sure weighty matters are discussed there.
    I am probably one of those weirdos you might meet on these walks but Clare Balding's Ramblings does rather reflect this group or even the Rambling Association. I don't walk much anymore but would like to have done the Pennine Way and what they call Hadrrian's walk. I took walking holidaya abroad and my companions were often university professors and suchlike. I think you have been a bit unfortunat
    I couldn't live in the North, I occasionally watch Vera.
    My aunt is similar to many word clouders in that she had the occasional piece published. But she was also a very skilled writer. I now suspect there is only a market for fine writing on Radio 3
  • mike
    by mike 3 months ago
    You are right about London. It can be a very lonely place. I went to two concerts, two musicals and a play last week, I go because I am not on my own. This was all for the price of a ticket to a football match or as concert by Hirem Firem kickenbacker and the Nasal Rappites.
  • Dolly
    by Dolly 3 months ago
    Hi Mat. A brain drain to the North eh? Could be a good thing and benefit me as I'm already in the north so I don't have to move, with the extra bonus of my brain having been drained some years ago. I enjoy walks with no given destination, as I tend to veer off in a different direction, just to see what's there and investigate. This can be interesting, a complete blank, or odd, as I once followed a footpath that didn't seem to go anywhere and ended up facing a wall.
  • Mat
    by Mat 3 months ago
    You're very brave Mike, I do admire your trips into town, up to the National and your enthusiasm for culture. I'm on the precipice with Radio 3. Now that I've learned all the names in The Archers, it does seem a shame to leave the place. I sent a script to R4 - I'm through first round, I think so, they've filtered 4000 submissions down to 500, impressive me, eh.

    Hello Dolly :)

    No, I like a good walk. I'd like to walk Hadrian's Wall, find Flodden, and go back into the Highlands, one day. But I think I need a dog, totally solo I tend toward maudlin observation. I walked the beach on my own Christmas Day, it was horrible, heh.

    So, I was writing a story for Mike - and I might turn this one to CW one day - but I was having personal problems, sat on an Embankment bench (MOD) for many hours, and then at 2am wandered up into North Kensington. I may have been drunk, but on a corner I met this scallywag fellow and we chatted for hours, gurgling, laughing about relationships, sharing smokes sat on the pavement. Then 20 police officers arrived and bundled him into the back of a van, a 'known thief,' they said. Anyway, all's well now.
  • Mat
    by Mat 3 months ago
    No, I'm not a member of the other forum. I post on writingforums.org but drifting away. I re-opened my blog at the weekend then closed it down. I finished the hell job in January, sent a flurry of submissions, then sagged. Under pressure to get another job, I even applied to be a beach warden. My mother on the phone 'but why, a man of your character, applying to scoop dog mess, I mean...' And I didn't even get it. So, I need to pull my socks up, & go again. But the more I don't go out into the world, the more strange...anyway...tmi
  • Daisydown
    by Daisydown 3 months ago
    Matt, you need a dog. It doesn't have to be a big one. I miss walking with mine. I can't see the point of walking alone. I've tried to go out as I used to when he was around but it never feels the same. I could perch on a beach groin and watch and didn't (I hope) look like some loopy old lady. It all made sense with a dog. It doesn't help that I can't walk far or very quickly so I can't march off counting my daily steps etc. there are walking groups here - even the walking group for health walks up to 8 miles, up and over hills I couldn't dream of trying and they consist of people from 53-86!
  • Mat
    by Mat 3 months ago
    Well Daisy, sometimes I think it should be a big one. I might actually be a big dog kind of person. It'd be a shame to buy a Jack Russell, lusting over the Alsatians, we'd probably both make spectacles of ourselves.

    No, and thank you for your guidance, I do have a dog in mind, but I need traction in other areas before I can indulge my passions mm.

    Made the great error of waiting on one big submission for one thing. Big mistake, but I do have these love scenes with my skipping puppy in slo-mo - looping around my brain - with music and lighting :)
  • Purple witch
    by Purple witch 3 months ago
    Mat , Oooer, I will be in trouble when the brain drain really begins to suck away at things in Ernest .
    I'm on the south coast almost at the sea shore so I am able to dabble my toes and walk the imaginary dog along the beach at present . ....
    How will I even know when all intelligence begins being syphoned off. I'm a very' out in the back woodsy gal ' to start with although I've been trying to hide my very small spark of what passes for a brain for some time. :-) -

    Will I even recognise Ernest when he arrives -

    I'm not sure about your love scenes with a skipping puppy tho .
    I agree, go big with the dog it will definitely provide a little of that traction you are searching for .... now I have a heels in the dirt; Being pulled unwillingly along by a gigantic hound kind of image.

    That odd, I have a strange tickling feeling in my ear and my brain feels squirrely all of a sudden .
    oh bugga .... I think Ernest has arrived... lol
  • Mat
    by Mat 3 months ago
    Blimey Purple, I think you must be tribe.

    I was South coast too until the grand departure to a different climate zone, although it is more Saxon than Norman up here which is the bonus - 'cept I'm still talking Norman - although I did do my job interview in Yorkshire dialect.
  • mike
    by mike 3 months ago
    Hedy Lamarr. A biography of Hedy is doing the rounds. but I would wait and watch it on TV.
    Hedy Lamarr complained that it was the world's opinion that she didn't have a brain. I always thought Betty Boop was the model for Snow White, It was Hedy. She discovered frequency hopping which is the basis of most communications now. I didn't understand frequency hopping when it was explained in the film so I have less of s brain than Hedy.
  • mike
    by mike 3 months ago
    Dear Matt,
    It is a pity that so msny jobs have gone in local councils. Park cleaners etc. I always thought these jobs were pure Kenynsian economics. They don't pay well but you don't takee the job home with you.
    I was talking to a woman at one music venue -about a play. It transpired that she is a poet, then it transpired that she is an actor and he favourite playwright is Oscar Wilde. She had a lovely smile and a very clear speaking voice. What is she doing selling a ticket to me? I tried to push her in the direction of the popular reciting poets of the nineteenth century as the forebears of rap. She said shw would have a look during her lunch break. She is black and as English as I am. Well, I'm Dutch at the moment.
  • mike
    by mike 3 months ago
    Dear Matt,
    Some of the london pub theatres well read plays. The National Theatre says that it does but I suspect this.
  • mike
    by mike 3 months ago
    Dear Mat,
    London theatre is really thriving but I don't know how long this will last. I don't go much to the fringe because of transport problems, but I try to see those new plays that get transferred to the West End. Quite a few are two handers with just the one set. All plays are totally different so it is difficult to isolate any trend. I do think it is rather difficult to get play staged if you do to work in the theatre, but I don't really know, There are small theatres that will read scripts.
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