A Sunday Afternoon Stroll

Charles Macfarlane

In the summer of '77, my younger girlfriend and her contemporaries sat their finals at uni.  Anybody whose ever undergone this style of examination  -  where in a few short weeks you have to prove your knowledge of 3 or 4 years work  -  knows that to a certain extent it's a question of mental stamina, and that when it's all over, the relief leads to a little light-headedness.

In this mood then, the gang came over to see us one Sunday lunchtime, suggesting a walk in the country and lunch at a pub.  I pulled out an OS map asking where, but, rather typically of a group where the men outnumber the women, each had his own idea about that, so no actual decision was taken.

So we just wandered off into the heat haze.  Noone thought to take any liquid, because we were going to the pub, weren't we?  We passed several that looked good, but some didn't serve meals on a Sunday, and members of the group objected to the brand of beer in others.  Lunchtime closing came and went, and we still hadn't even had anything to drink, let alone a meal.

All afternoon we wandered up hill and down dale, climbed to a monastery or folly (still not sure which) carved out of a hillside, posed for photos (which I still have) outside a delightful country brewery that we could have toured and sampled the product of, if only it hadn't been Sunday, and the more foolhardy explored a ruined house with rotten floors, fortunately without mishap.  After about 10 miles of this without food or drink on one of the hottest days in a very hot summer, we were all quite a bit further on than 'a little light-headedness'.

As we neared home, we passed a farmyard, waking up a cockerel, who decided, that yes, it was clearly daylight, so it was its destiny to crow, and it upped, and it crowed.

We all looked at each other ...  It was clear that some pithy or smart alec remark was called for ...  You could practically see the cartoon cogwheels in clouds above our heads.

T groaned and said:  "Ugh!  There's nothing more useless than a late-rising cock!"


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