Not entirely unexpectedly I seem to be losing my voice.
Sure – the flu has been part of the problem – but mostly it’s my own fault. I keep going for exercise with people whose company I enjoy immensely and twalking all day long.
Today (despite my hopes for the opposite) I’ve been in Malvern and the weather has been awful for the vast majority of the day. Apart from a brief window or two (like the one above) we’ve been saturated by rain and have been trudging through mud, snow or ice or whilst trying to see the path ahead through thick cloud.
I haven’t passed many others out there on the frosty hillsides today – but I did come across one or two fellow hill lovers that appeared a just a tiny little bit better suited than myself to the inclement conditions.
Frankly they looked just as happy as the last time I saw them in bright sunshine during October (link).
It will probably come as no surprise however to anyone reading my posts regularly that none of the worst excesses of the environment bothered myself or my companion today. Sometimes when you’re just hanging out and chatting, you really don’t care what happens around you – and boy do we love to natter.
We’ve been setting the world to rights from 7.30am this morning until 5pm this evening when we finally said goodbye. Often we barely even noticed when the cloud temporarily broke and rewarded us with a fleeting view of the countryside.
It seemed incidental to our need to catch up on each other’s events.
We just carried on, taking the more strenuous ‘over the top’ route wherever possible (some sections were quite dangerous looking due to the ice and best avoided) – putting on foot in front of the other – and stopping briefly only for toilet breaks and to put on some waterproof clothing until we reached our destination.
I’m so glad that last week I bought myself a new XL pair of waterproof over trousers to replace the 3XL ones I purchased for Snowdon in July.
Today they came in REALLY useful!
Our destination was initially just for a coffee at the British Camp roadside cafe – and our intent was originally to do the whole length of the Malverns and back.
However when we saw the ice caked all over the steep paths leading to British Camp with warning signs proclaiming how dangerous the area was we decided to leave our packed lunch in our bags, let our coats dry on a boiling radiator for a while and instead pop into the Malvern Hills Hotel for a bit of hot food and a coffee or two.
I decided to have the Sunday turkey roast with a side of winter veg (not pictured) whilst my companion availed herself of the carbs on the menu and went for the baguette and chips – which admittedly looked and smelled rather lovely.
My three roasties were very nice too though thankfully – although I have to say the two tiny ‘pigs in blankets’ and the stuffing ball surprised me. It’s the first time in a LONG time that I’ve eaten even a tiny bit of a traditional sausage or some stuffing and they tasted a lot different to the way I remember them.
I’ve been eating unprocessed food for so long now that I appear to have lost the taste for things like this – which is a really encouraging realisation!
We spent a lovely hour and a half eating and drinking whilst our clothes steamed dry on the hot pipes near the bar. After having to (quite literally) wring the water out of my gloves and fleece when we arrived it was nice to put something toasty back on for the return journey.
Even though the majestic vistas and blue skies that greeted me the last time I came to Malvern weren’t present today it’s actually been a good excuse to pay closer attention to the incidental details that it might otherwise be easy to pass by – and focus on the beauty to be found closer to the ground.
It’s insane just how wonderful the rain and damp makes some elements of nature look, and how it changes the tone of what you see every time you explore the same space in different seasons.
Moss and lichen appear to be flourishing currently – and swelling with life almost before your eyes. Similarly the mushrooms on tree stumps appear to now be gorged on the water that’s clearly been seeping into their structures. They’re surprisingly hard to the touch, and when you gently run a finger around their edges they feel both pregnant and solid.
Thankfully I no longer feel like one of them – which I did a little toward the end of the day.
As I type now I can finally feel the warmth returning to my hands and my feet (it’s taken ages!) and the pleasure is immense.
I’m reminded once more (as I sit here with my feet up in front of my Christmas tree) of the satisfaction provided by being outdoors and taking on the challenges that it throws at me, walking through them whatever the weather and just accepting it for what it is – enjoying it all the more because I know that I can deal with it.
I can’t think of a better way to spend my weekend than on a freezing cold hillside, being battered by strong winds and soaked by driving rain with a really good friend.
I’d go back there right now if there was more daylight to be squeezed out of the day.
Well, maybe after another Lemsip internet.
There’s no need to be silly about it after all.