It is a cliché that has been uttered many a time where bad which may have been foreseen with at least a small measure of consideration, has occurred, but for me it was very prescient last week. I refer you may have guessed to the sometimes over-used idiom, 'hindsight is a wonderful thing'.
I was walking through the Hermitage of Braid, a country park in the south of the city. A park containing a multitude of clearly marked and delineated paths and trails to choose from. Alongside the burn, up the man-made steps to venture through the woods, through to the more leisurely stroll along the old estate road that traverses through the 'Hermitage' as it is known to the locals. This time though I was travelling in the opposite direction to my usual walk. I was moving east to west. Come to think of it, maybe that was the catalyst for my woes.
I was walking with my good friend George and my ever present companion Daisy the dog, and we were travelling along a high path way above the burn in an area where the paths were not so familiar to me. With a view to a change of scenery, we decided to alter our direction and make our way down along the burn. However, for reasons still unclear to me or anyone for that matter, I imagined I was 16 and not rapidly approaching 60, so I decided I would criss-cross the steep embankment in a kind of dry slalom down the hill (even though the leaves were in places thick and very wet underfoot). I have a very low centre of gravity and saw that acting in my favour. I am one of the few Celtic fans that refers to our mutual hero Jimmy as 'Big' Jinky Johnstone.
It started well to be honest, the soft ground allowed me to gain a bit of purchase underfoot and even when and as I slipped, I was able to grab on to the young maturing trees I met on my downward trajectory, which slowed my travel somewhat. Alas, it was not to last. As I slipped and tripped my way downhill, momentum gathered and any control I had was lost. What felt like a sense of slowing of time ascended as I completely lost my footing and landed on the ground, rolling and with gravity dragging me over assorted tree roots, low branches and the occasional stone, as I plummeted toward the burn.
Conscious of the speed I was building but unable to do anything about it, I was kind of resigned to at least knowing where I would end up. It was not to be though as I suddenly 'skelped' into a tree trunk and was stopped in my tracks. A concerned bystander, who had no doubt witnessed the entire episode or at least saw me hurtling over the brow of the hill before crashing into the tree, called over, asking if I was okay. Instinctively I checked, but no, it appeared that other than being pretty dirty, my expensive North Face jacket was not ripped and was intact, so I was fine. In agony, of course, but fine and no, I did not need her to call anyone for me. I half thought about getting her to call my wife but to be honest she has had her fair share of laughing at my escapades over the years.
It was not over yet though. George, who had last seen me careering down the hill and out of sight had to make his way down the same embankment as I had come to grief, in order to see that I was okay and all that before he could allow himself to laugh hysterically about my fate!
Daisy? Well she couldn't have cared less as she nonchalantly stepped down the slippy, steep slope as those blessed with four legs can, had a wee sniff at me lying prostrate and moved on to continue her adventure foraging the leaves.
I am well on the road to recovery now. The first thing I did on getting home was to have the hottest bath I could endure. Well, it is a family thing, I think.
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