Chapter Two: It's not the end of the world

Not all who wander are lost

This week, unlike last week, I had very little planned. The Alzheimer’s Society had bagseed me to help them out on Thursday, but nothing else was even penciled in my diary. I spent Sunday night at the pub with a great group of people and another night playing cards with some of them too. I’ve finished season one of House M.D and I’ve made absolutely no progress with the scrapbook. Last I heard, the teaching agency who interviewed me last week are still waiting on my references, so no news on the job front just yet either.

I’ve been spending a joyful amount of time outdoors. I love this time of year, if not for the obvious reasons, just because I rediscover my spirit of adventure. As much as I love cosy nights in, my fluffy slippers and galaxy hot chocolate, I can’t help but dream all winter of light evenings and Pimms and lemonade and fruit salad and days spent sat in a dress and sandals in the sunshine with a good book.

On Tuesday, my boyfriend (Dave from here on in. There’s something about the word boyfriend that makes me squirm) and I had a whole day free to spend together for the first time in a very long time. He picked me up and we just drove a little while in the hope of finding somewhere new to explore. We ended up at Danbury Common and before long we were lost in the woods. Well, I was lost. Dave’s sense of direction got us back to the car no trouble at all when we decided it was time for food. It’s an amazing place and although I’m sure it looks even prettier in the summer, I think we timed our visit perfectly: There were still muddy puddles to be avoided and there were still piles of leaves around for me to stomp through like a child. It was warm enough, but not so hot we had to stop every few minutes for water.

I met one of my oldest friends at a country pub for lunch on Wednesday and like in all the best stories, we just found ourselves full of food and headed up a path that would take us on an adventure towards a lovely village I’d never been to before. This story gets most exciting when we see a very angry looking grey cloud in the distance, but take our chances and carry on going anyway. Half an hour later we’ve been hit with rain and hail and wind and we’re hiding in a bus shelter shivering, we’re drenched and we can’t stop laughing at how ridiculous the whole situation is.

You only have to mention Essex before stereotypes spring into the minds of anyone listening. I’m sure you’re now thinking about fake tan before I’ve even had chance to say the words beautiful and countryside. I’m not saying that the stereotypes aren’t true. (In fact I can personally testify to the fact that the majority of them are, but that we wouldn’t have it any other way.) I’m just saying that it is a shame that people don’t know just how beautiful Essex is, particularly on a sunny day.

When the rain and hail subsided and the skies cleared, we finished our walk in bright sunshine and everything around us shone and I couldn’t help but wish every person on Earth could see what I was seeing.

My winter boots are done for. We didn’t avoid all the mud on Tuesday and I certainly couldn’t keep them dry on Wednesday and now I think they’ve had enough. They’re also the reason for the massive blisters on my heels, but I’ll let them off the hook: They’ve lasted me well and honestly, I cannot wait to go and invest in a pair of summery trainers and some new sandals. After all, spring is here.

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