Saturday, July 21, 2007

A Walk through the Woods

This walk takes a little under two hours.

When you have gone though the gate, shut it behind you to keep out the cows. Turn right. Immediately on your left you see the small cottage hugging the shoulder of the road. In an amiable way greet the couple who will undoubtedly emerge to see who is passing by. Have a short chat, but don’t become over sociable, for they have a tendency to stick their noses into all your affairs. In addition they are inclined to an overindulgence to alcoholic beverages.
Having shaken them off, follow the road up. Above the field with the tied-up goats you see a house. So does the dog, who will bark at the two dogs in the yard. They will run along the fence, and will sometimes slide under it to come closer, but they are harmless.
The house is inhabited by a truck driver who was once convicted for sexual abuse of children. After he had spent his time in jail his boss gave him back his old job. He lives alone with his animals. At night we sometimes hear opera coming from across the valley, or jazz. But we’ve never seen him.
At the end of the road turn right, cross the main road and take the trail into the woods on the left. At the next intersection turn left again. After you turn right where the path forks, you will come to the best chestnuts in the area. They are small, but they are full and without worms, so they are worth a forage.
Be careful, the track here gets muddy. Avoid the puddles by walking on the Left Bank. Watch out! The dog loves the pools and tends to rush through them in order to splash as much mucky water as he can.
When you’ve reached the road, turn left, cross over at the intersection, and when you’ve come to the main road again, take the road across, slightly to the right. Turn left into the tree-lined lane between the fields. Then right onto the rocky path that goes steeply down.
The small mansion you pass on the right is P’s dream home. Look at the vintage cars in the shed, peep through the windows. Although the house seems to be abandoned, you will still see a dirty glass on the kitchen table next to a half empty wine bottle. The palm tree in the living room is still standing, although the grass outside is high, and the weeds are everywhere.
The owner was long gone, leaving unpaid bills. But the other day he turned up at the tax office and paid all his debts. So gone are P’s dreams to buy the house.
Turn left at the T-crossing, and left again at the next one.
When you’ve reached the top of our road again, turn right into it.
After a friendly wave at the neighbours you deserve a nice cup of tea!

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