The horse fly saga

I would like to dedicate this post to all the amazing people that walked the 36 miles for charity in Newton Le Willow yesterday. Well done

Why do we do it?

It always seems like a good idea at the time and we say yes with such enthusiasm. Take for instance the Marathon, way back in my youth I took part in that gruelling event. We had to be different, oh no, not for us the running, the walking, the jolking, that’s a cross between a walk and a jog. Oh no, there I was 18 years old and doing the London Marathon, on roller skates. I couldn’t make it up, not even if I tried, and get this, there were cobble stones. You try 3 miles of knee jerking, never ever again. My roller skating days were over. I continued to run, small events, 5k, 10k if I felt virtuous, but as the years took hold and children needed dragging up, I gave in to gentler pursuits, martial arts and abseiling. Now there is a funny thing, I get vertigo and hate heights, but as long as I get to the edge and throw myself off straight away I’m fine. As I said, gentler pursuits.

So why have I agreed to get my running shoes out again and join a charity walk. I just know that the walking will be slow and purposeful, and fun but I will still don my rarely worn Mizuno Prodigy 2 running shoes. You never get out of the habit of buying the best. It will be fun I’ll make sure of it. The walk takes place over 12 hours in a picturesque town not far from me. But I’m poorly and there were so many other things I could have been doing that afternoon. But I did it. “Yes, I’ll join you. I’ll call and we’ll meet up. It will be fun.” I replied with enthusiasm.

I’m planning to do an hour, with good friends and to carry a bucket to collect pennies for a good cause, so why did it feel like I’d promised to take part in another Marathon.

Like every unfit middle-aged woman, every now and again I get the urge to prove that I still have “it” in me. Whatever “it” is supposed to be. After my journey home on Monday from the farm and putting the World to rights with a heated debate on FB messenger with a semi friend.

Interlude: Friends now come in degrees. It used to be just friends and acquaintances, now we have semi-friends, friends, acquaintances, cyber-friends and virtual friends.
Semi-friends are those you have met, formed an acquaintance with but although you intend to stay in touch with them, you are not too sure whether you want to meet up with them again, but know you will. Friends are those people that you would invite into your home and would be happy kicking back and drinking a glass of wine with. Acquaintances are those you have met, have no intention or want to make plans to meet again, but if you did you would acknowledge them. Cyber friends, people you only every intend or will ever imagine talking to on line and then there are virtual friends. Friends that you are not too sure about. Are they real or are they just your imagination, like Ray, ahhh, Ray, whoops sorry, didn’t mean to put that out there.

Anywho, after the debate, I was tired and didn’t get much sleep. Determined to prove that I wasn’t old and decrepit, on Tuesday morning I took my dog and a neighbour’s dog out over the hills for a long walk. It was glorious and doggy heaven. Then the bugger got me. I know why they call them horseflies, I know that they predominantly prefer the blood of horses, so why oh why do the greedy little shites have to pick on me?

It got me before I had a chance to swipe it off my arm. It swelled and it itched and it blistered and by Wednesday afternoon I was in tears. The red veins were a sure sign that there was something wrong. Mark is not a worrier but he put the fear of the bejeebers in me when I called him.

“I’m coming home.”

“Why? What do you think you can do about it.”

“I’m taking you to the hospital.”

“Don’t be so bloody stupid, it’s just a bite.” I tried not to sound worried.

In less than an hour Mark was home. Now that might seem like a long time, but when he usually leaves work at 5pm but doesn’t usually get to the house until 6:30pm, I just knew he had been hammering it. He was just a tad concerned.

I convinced him that the doc would be sufficient and that it wasn’t a matter for A&E.

The doc was concerned and I started to panic. My doc is what you might call unconventional, he has a sense of humour and actually seems to care about his patients. He drew a ring around the swollen red lump that obscured the joint between my arm and hand, where my wrist was supposed to be.

“If it gets any bigger then you go to A&E.” The doctor looked at me with a frown.

I got that, I told you so look from Mark.

Loaded with a prescription for my HRT, which is another story, antihistamines, and antibiotics I felt stupid as I started to get queazy whilst standing in the pharmacists. It took two days before the swelling subsided and I found myself again.

The worse thing about taking medication for me is that I am a stickler for following the instruction. Take on an empty stomach and an hour before I eat, means that for three hours, four times a day for a week I can’t eat. That’s, hang on maths again, that’s 84 hours not eating, I’ll starve, I tell you, starve.

At my favourite café, having finished my tea cake half an hour before hand, I started to feel the pains of starvation, 150 minutes is a long time to go without food, but I was determined to survive. Then yesterday afternoon I decided to get my motorbike out to meet up with my friends and go on the charity walk I had agreed to. At least it should take my mind off of food.

I donned my helmet and my boots, put my best running shoes in my under-seat compartment, and zoomed off into the horizon. Now there are those that are super bikers and have all the latest equipment, heated handlebars, panniers, intercom systems, but me and Nudge (my Lexmoto 125) have an agreement. I won’t make her look stupid by adding bits and she won’t let me down. My phones satnav on and the phone stuffed in my pocket, I headed towards a town I’ve never been to. A ninja nanny on a motorbike.

So much fun, so much freedom, so much joy from such a simple thing. Through the traffic, waving at the bored kids in the back of cars. Swinging to the imaginary tunes in my head as I sat at traffic lights. I almost forgot that I had to stop. I followed the directions to the letter and every now and again I stopped to check the satnav. On route, then not. How the ruddy hell did I do that?

“Through the town centre and turn right she said, you can’t miss it.”

What my friend didn’t allow for was me and my excitement. I got carried away what can I say. Out the other side, way out the other side, Warrington, St Helens, the World….. finally stopping I turned around and headed back, the satnav exhausted, my phone battery indicator weeping at the red bar it displayed.
I stopped as I saw the gaggle of walkers heading towards me. Cheering them on, my friend ran across the road to greet me.

“Are you joining us,” she tried to say through her tears of laughter.

“No, I’m having too much fun.”

“Do you know your way home,” she asked.


“Do you want directions?”

I almost said, “really after following the directions you gave me to get here and ending up on the East Coast!”

“No, I’m fine, I have a full tank of gas and I’m loving this.”

Her girlfriend waved at me, and I couldn’t resist. “You need one of these.” I shouted across the main road. Her girlfriend laughed as my friend kissed me good bye and sent me on my way. I zoomed off and got back just in time before Mark went out.

This morning I’m aching, from top to bottom, half a tank of gas guzzled, and my wrist that had the bite, swollen again and in pain. But it was worth it. I might never have got my trainers out, never joined the walk, but I feel as if I won the Marathon, tired and exhilarated. It’s fun to get out and be unconventional, try it, but I suggest you avoid the horse flies.

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