I’m supposed to be packing for holiday this morning but I am beyond exhausted. In the last two weeks I’ve written 30,000 words, done four hours of live art, spent a whole day arranging a fundraising site for a friend with much more on her plate than I have. I’ve had children home poorly from school, sourced an editor for my children’s book, had the edits back for Class Act and lost a day’s childcare to a ‘bonus trip to the zoo’ to which I had to escort my own child and pay to get in. (Don’t get me started…)
And to top it all off I spent Friday chasing prescriptions and getting lost when I was meant to be finalising my Montegrappa Scholastic competition entry and doing ten loads of laundry and ironing for the holiday. Saturday was out because we celebrated hubbie’s birthday a week early so the house had to be found under the weeks of accumulated dirt, and lunch for six needed cooking.
The only upside of the chaos was that getting lost was great research for my children’s novel. A large part of the action is set in an over-grown bramble-buried forest, and that’s not far off where I ended up for an hour on Friday. I only stopped to let the dog have a run. She’d had to sit in the car for an hour after I ‘popped in’ on the way back from the vets to get hubbie’s prescription and discovered it hadn’t been ordered.
I decided to try a new walk I’d seen before, that looked like a straight forward walk across fields into a wood. When I got there it was beautiful – all meandering tracks shaded from the hot sun, with bracken and woodland flowers. So off we went. But I have NO sense of direction and before long I was starting to panic. I headed in the direction I thought would take me to my car, but ended up at what looked like a disused quarry. Unlike Claire, in Two-Hundred Steps Home, I don’t have a smart phone with GPS. So I rang hubbie and he tried to work out where I was and to give me directions. Unfortunately he couldn’t work out my location (turns out he was looking at the wrong quarry.)
In a panic I hung up and decided to follow the dog in case, you know, she turned out to be Lassie or something. She led me towards the flooded quarry so I climbed a barbed wire fence and headed in. Of course I forgot she loves puddles and hates trees and her only motivation was to get out in the open. When we got in she jumped in a puddle and looked at me as if to say, ‘now what?’
The disused quarry looked remarkably like an off-road course and after I’d scrambled up and down a few sheer muddy tracks (in a skirt and sandals) I realised where I was. And it was a long way from the car.
Panic was escalating: being lost terrifies me, especially when I have a zillion things to do and the kids to pick up in three hours. So I ran back across the land-rover off-road course, having realised it was a dead end. I climbed through a bramble bush, catching my long skirt and nearly falling down the bank, and badly stinging my arm. I raced across a sheep field, realised I couldn’t get out, and walked the full length to the gate.
Being a field for livestock there was no way the dog was scrambling under the wire. So I picked her up – all 28kg of her (the vet told me off for her being overweight) – and I threw her over a four-foot barbed-wire topped gate. She landed on her back and for a moment I thought we’d be going back to the vets. Thankfully she was fine. We were about a mile from the car in 25 degree heat and inappropriate clothing. But we made it. My ‘quick walk’ took over an hour.
No wonder I find myself too tired to get out of bed and deal with the hyped-up mega whining children this morning.
I need a holiday.