Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Walking very slowly

Walking very slowly around Mooragh Park, I look up at the mountain road, and imagine my other life, driving to Douglas in the dead of night. Rosa has been asleep for thirty minutes, but the bright sun is annoying both of us - I have to keep moving my position in relation to the pram to keep her eyes in the shade. There is a bag of redskin peanuts in my pocket and every few steps I accomplish a small handful. I'm focusing on my feet, bringing the leading foot to land directly in front on the other, as if I'm walking on a tightrope. I often pay attention to my neck, to the weight of my head - is there any pressure, any strain that could be relieved by a better posture?

There is an elderly lady approaching - she's certain to say 'good morning' loudly. I make a point of rocking the pram gently and shushing, but if I'm not careful I'll wake the baby myself. 'Good morning!', the elderly lady bellows. Rosa's eyes flash open and she sits bolt upright, cheeky, happy and nosey, looking for the voice.

We spend hours in that park. Until the nap training began it was twice a day, rain or shine, round and round the lake at a constant, slow pace, avoiding lawnmowers, seagulls and other walkers. It's started to feel like home, and the daily, repetitive walks have become almost meditative. It's wonderful to have the time to get to know the park, to recognise the gardeners, to know when the kayaks are out, to overhear the funny conversations between the families on the tennis court. This slow-paced time with Rosa lasts exactly half a week. From 6 am Monday morning to midday on Thursday I am 'Carer A', as we say in our house.

Last Thursday, Emma signed off work at 12.30 pm. Rosa was already strapped into her high chair with her food half-mauled, and Emma's lunch was sat waiting. I was dressed up in my Lycra and fluorescents, warmed up, stretched out and ready to leave. 'I can't believe you're actually going out in this weather,' Emma said. 'There isn't enough time to train as it is,' I explained, 'without waiting for good weather.' She agreed.

One hour later, at Bride church, I was abandoning the mission and turning for home. Socks, leggings, coat, everything, wringing wet and deathly cold. I was blowing hot air into my cheeks to stop the sensation of anaesthesia in my face as I walked back through Dog Mills. No gloves, no spare socks, and no phone to call for help. The only moment of pleasure came when I dived into a hedge for a wee. I looked out over a short field that seemed to collapse a mile into the sea. Everywhere the sky was one grey-blue shade, and the rain was infinite over the shifting waves. Wouldn't it be nice, I thought, to take a nice stroll along this road one day. In fact, maybe one day I'll come and sit here for a bit, just to watch the rain. When I have the time...

The wee was over. I had to move. The walk was being cut short but the stopwatch was still running, and Bride church and back again is a round ten miles. I picked up the speed, my trainers splashing over the flooded tarmac. I'll never sit there and watch the rain. It's not a question of having time - I have the time now, all the time in the world. Given the time, this is what we do - start families, get obsessed with bread, join a band, do the Parish Walk. We may have fantasies about how we would spend our free time, but this is already it - turning a corner into the wind and feeling the sodden t-shirt pressed icily against your skin, squinting through the water running off your eyebrows, checking your stopwatch in the mad hope of keeping up at least a five mph average. Why didn't I bring my phone?!

I remembered all this as I trundled home from work the next day, and turned the heating up in the car. Those are amazing views from the mountain road as you approach Ramsey, and I always look down at the tiny lake and imagine myself looking up at the cars on the mountain. Training isn't going terribly, I said to myself. After the sickness, a couple of solid, fast ten mile outings, followed by an eighteen mile warm up for next Saturday's Rushen to Ballaugh epic. It will be the first seriously long walk of the year, and I'm determined to make it happen. I have Saturday off work and Rosa's grandparents are over to babysit - nothing can get in the way. Though I really do hope for better weather this time.

No comments:

Post a Comment