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Saturday, 21 November 2009

Things I learned while walking in the rain

I went for a half-hour walk in the pouring rain tonight. And I learned some things along the .....

No, DON'T ask me why I walked in the pouring rain. No, DON'T. DON'T.

Oh! You are so demanding. Can't a woman just tell a story without having to give all the detail?

Alright, then. If you get bored before you even get to the main event, on your own head be it.

Here's the reason I was walking in the rain (for those who just HAVE to know EVERYTHING) ...

I was meeting a friend at the theatre to watch a show. And I had to take the bus. (Don't get excited, Amanda - this is not another bus story - this is the first in a thrilling series of 'damp pedestrian' posts.)

I was due to meet my friend at the theatre at 7pm. But the bus timetable just didn't work out like that which means I got off the bus at 6.30pm, right there, right outside the theatre. So I could have gone in and sat there on my own, waiting.

But you feel such an eejit, don't you, just sitting in a foyer, pretending to be happy alone? It takes so much effort, getting the facial expressions right, and crossing your legs just so, and trying to look like you're thinking, 'Yes, I do have a watch, but I don't need to look at it, because I feel totally secure' and texting people with banalities, interrupting their evening meal and causing them to say, 'Fran must be waiting alone somewhere - she always texts from foyers' and reading your book but then getting to the last page and having to pretend to read the last three chapters again because the only other thing you have in your bag is a letter from the doctor about a gynaecological procedure. All so tedious.

I couldn't face it.

So I walked for half an hour in the rain. The theatre is on a long main road. I decided that if I walked down the road for 15 minutes, crossed the road, and then walked back the other way for 15 minutes, that would be .. that would be ... 15 + 15 = 30, so ... that would take me exactly half an hour. Excuse me while I just take a call from the Mathematics Faculty at Oxford University ... 'Hello? Hello? Yes, Fran Hill. No, no, sorry, not available for any lecturing this week ... yes, I know, it's a shame, but I'm sure you'll get someone .... no? no one as good as I am? sorry, sorry, no can do.'

Sorry about that. They keep ringing! Where was I? Oh yes ...

... And while I walked in the dark as rain lashed down, pleased that I wasn't in a dry foyer feeling like a loser, I learned some stuff.

What I meant to write in the first place

Lessons learned while walking in the rain.

1. There is a direct correlation between the vigour with which you protest to your husband, 'Of course they're waterproof' about your boots and the amount of water that seeps into your socks within the first three minutes of walking.

2. Broken umbrellas by the roadside may well look as tragic as homeless waifs or injured dogs. But bending down and examining them as though you were going to offer them a pound or a cheese roll makes you look very silly.

3. Puddles are less easily seen in the dark, but just as deep.

4. When both your trouser legs are fully soaked from below the knee downwards and flap against your shins like escaped tarpaulins, you will suddenly feel as though being lonely in a foyer is a good thing.

5. One reason why walking in one direction seems easy and walking in the other direction seems much more difficult is wind speed. It is better to make the journey back the one where the wind is with you.

6. Houses along the side of the road, when you're walking in the wind and rain, all have soft yellow lighting in their living rooms, the murmur of a TV coming from a downstairs window, cars in the drive and a pizza delivery man just approaching the porch.

7. There is one main reason why you don't meet anyone on this kind of walk.

8. When the wind is coming towards you and you hold the umbrella in front to shield you from it, you will see the approaching bicycle just too late.

9. If the pavement is flooded and impassable, you have two choices: grass-verge mudbath at one edge of the pavement, or road with speeding cars at the other. Take the mud - it's unpleasant, but less likely to result in a near death experience.

10. Watching a sensitive and poignant play will have the edge taken off it when your legs are wrapped in what feels like seaweed, you have nowhere to put your umbrella except between your knees, and the coat laid on your lap is masquerading as a dishcloth.

19 comments:

  1. Brilliant!

    Hope it didn't take you too long to dry out.

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  2. Thanks, Martin H. No, not too long. Taking those wet socks off, though, was not a pleasant feeling.

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  3. "It was such a lovely play, was't it Fred?"

    "Yes Mildred, but what was that dripping noise throughout?"

    "I'm not sure. I think it was related to that soggy lady behind us. I didn't want to look too closely."

    tee hee

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  4. Great post. Your lessons for walking in the rain will prove useful given the type of weather we have been "enjoying" in the UK over recent days.

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  5. Yes, I admit I was a bit excited when I thought this would be a post on busses. I think I've changed my mind about wanting you to write that book now.

    I think walking in treacherous weather would make a fantastic book!

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  6. Lesley, that explains why I thought the woman in front of me had a crick in her neck.

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  7. Alan - I'm sure the ducks have been enjoying it in a very non inverted commas way. But they're the only ones.

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  8. Amanda - Chapter 1. Getting wet. Chapter 2. Getting wetter. Chapter 3. Getting even wetter. Chapter 4....... Yes, I can see how this is going to be a bestseller.

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  9. Fran, Fran, Fran, the best lesson of all is the one you didn't mention: you learnt never to do anything as silly as walking in the rain just to avoid looking silly in a theatre foyer.

    Next time it happens, ring me and I'll happily spend a half hour talking to you on the phone while you are snug and warm INSIDE! Having a drink even!

    Sorry about being so horribly sensible but I just can't help it.

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  10. That's you in a (slightly soggy) nutshell, Fran: always learning stuff. And then sharing it! I not only feel enriched, but a sneeze coming on as well.

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  11. Great post! I agree about waiting alone I always feel like I am putting on a performance of either "I am casual and not stood up or worried" Or I am happy reading the book."

    Great post as always

    Kate xx

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  12. That's okay, Friko - one of us needs to be sensible around here, and it isn't me.

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  13. Good, Kate. It's not just me, then. See you in a foyer sometime. We'll recognise each other.

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  14. Fran - just seen the results of the leaf books blog competition - CONGRATULATIONS!!! Well done you. Pleasantly surprised that I got a commended mention too ;) Aren't we clever, tee hee!

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  15. Hi Maya - thank you! Can't wait to spend (I mean, save in a responsible way or give to charity) my prize money. Well done you too for being commended. I look forward to seeing which blog you submitted when they publish them!

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  16. Just catching up - that was funny and horribly true....

    If you'd then had to watch the play in Newcastle's rather lovely Theatre Royal, you'd have found that the seats were designed for tiny little people who had tiny little bottoms, tiny little legs, and no coats or umbrellas, dripping or otherwise. And the heating would be set to Very High Drying Cycle to make sure that anyone not dripping when they came in would be by the first interval.

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  17. That was definitely worth the trip, Miss-Me. Hilarious, in your usual fabulous fashion. I wish I was your next-door neighbour.

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  18. Deborah - you really, really don't wish you were my next door neighbour. We don't have long-term neighbours, ever. This might tell you something.

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