Florence v Lara

Ads has been feeling poorly and run-down so I heroically suggested that I would make dinner and that he should put his feet up. Before collecting him from work I bought bottle of wine, ingredients needed for Macaroni Cheese and then headed to Blockbuster to return his DVDs (v.overdue) and rent more for his poor tired eyes to relax upon.

“You know these films were utter shite,” I informed the young ginger-bearded man whilst pushing the cases across the counter. Pressing a finger on the award winning production Tree of Life featuring Brad Pitt, I added, “couldn’t even watch that one.”

Ginger-Beard raised an eyebrow. “Apparently if you persevere it is meant to be good.”

“I don’t know. Maybe if you were on LSD it might be good.”

“What about Midnight in Paris?” he laughed. “What did you make of that?”

I shook my head. “What started as a slightly annoying mixture of weak dialogue and a the most unlikable characters ever, quickly became the purest agonising torture.”

“But you watched it all?”

“Mm yes,” I admitted. The truth was I’d watched it the day after Freya’s birthday paella and was so dreadfully hung over that I couldn’t physically move my body to press STOP on the remote control.

Anyway, Ginger Beard and myself proceeded to have a very boffiny film chat. Turned out that he and I share a mutual dislike for sheeny Hollywood blockbusters and a mutual love of old gangster movies and arty European films with subtitles. Skipped out of Blockbusters with one of each but only as I got in the car did I have a sudden recollection of the traumatized expression on Ads’ face last time I brought home movie with subtitles. Nipped back in and grabbed Preacher With A Machine Gun.

Collected Ads whilst feeling extremely Florence Nightingale.

At home got him to chill on the sofa while I whipped up Macaroni Cheese. Did my whipping with the nervous facade of someone who is living with a top chef and hasn’t had to prepare anything other than a cup of tea in the last 13 months. Popped it in oven and concluded I should go for  a little jog to relieve my nerves.

Five minutes later I was jogging happily along Undercliff. Soon reached the 30 speed limit “turn back and go home” sign but had a major a dilemma.

Should I go home? Or run on?

“Run back,” ordered Florence Nightingale/Ma Walton. “You have a sick patient to nurse and Macaroni cheese to serve.”

“Don’t do it. You could could run on!” jumped in Olympian/Boot Camp Bethan with an adventurous grin. “You could take the extra, extra long route back and just run really fast. You’d be like Lara Croft on a deadly mission to get back before the Macaroni burns.”

“Ridiculous!” Florence gasped in dismay. “How could you even think that?”

“Because it would be a challenge?” cawed Boot Camp Olympian. “And it would make me feel buzzy and ALIVE! And anyway, look. It’s too late. We’re still running!”

And it was true. While this whole silly debate had taken place in my head, my feet had continued to run, making the decision to continue all by themselves.

Well. There was only one thing for it.

I ran at breakneck speed into the next village, down the road, along the track and into the  village beyond. I sped as fast as I could without falling over. Each time I slowed down my mind was racked with visions of burn cheese stinking and the possible carcinogenic properties that would impact upon Ads and my babies.

Running like the clappers, I finally hit the Whitwell road.

I was nearly home.

Problem was that last time I ran along here it was first thing in the morning, the birds were chorusing and the sun was watery and cool. Now it was late afternoon. Tourist coaches hurtled round the bends and the locals were hurtling after them. The sun was sweltering, sweat was stinging my eyes and I was suddenly hit by the realisation that this road was Very Dangerous and I Might Die.

“Don’t look at me,” sniffed Florence Nightingale very unhelpfully.

Nice. Thanks Flo.

Just then I noticed a large tractor pulling out of the field on the opposite side of the road.

In a flash of heroic inspiration I realised that this field joined the winding lane that led to my house. Genius! Waiting for a gap in the Motorway-Driving-Around-Country-Road-Blind-Bends traffic, I sprinted across the road and into the stubbly field.

“Ha ha!” Boot Camp Olympian cried triumphantly. “Screw you Flo!”

However, triumph quickly fizzled. As I reached the perimeter of the field it became clear that there was no road. Instead there was a very thick hawthorn hedge. I stopped, hands on hips, panting and staring in dismay. I could hear the whining engines of Formula One Juggernauts screeching around the Whitwell road.

“Gate,” muttered Florence voice irritably and nodded to a rather bend, old, unused looking gate that led into the next field – the field which edged my road.

“Thanks.” I jogged over hopefully, but it was as I’d expected. No one – not even a badger – had used this gate in over a decade. The one gap I could get through was filled with a three metre thick wall of nettles that were above my head in height.

It was at this point I asked myself The Question.

Are you Lara Croft enough to get through a wall of stingers in a pair of knee length, skin tight running trousers and a vest and get home in time to save the Mac n Cheese?

I liked the question. It made me laugh. This was the bit I love; are you Lara Croft-Enough?

If you ever ask yourself that question, I can predict what the answer will be. YES! You can’t NOT rise to the challenge of such a question. It is humanly impossible.

The next ten minutes involved me lowering myself off the side of the gate, painstakingly pressed one trainered foot onto the thick nettle stems and easing them backwards. Once one foot was firmly in place, I gradually lifted my leg, balancing with Siberian ballerina grace and eased back the next nettle-mama. I continued this process, with arms held high above my head to avoid stings and to occasionally balance by holding onto overhanging hawthorn twigs. It was like walking a tight rope and as I reached the other side of the wall, I took one final leap and FLEW forth into the field of freedom.

If a farmer was watching he’d think I was mad. Running through the next field I must’ve looked like a gazelle on laughing gas. I sprinted up and over the slope and out through the opening onto the road, then sprinted all the way home.

Threw open the front door. Kids hadn’t moved from where I’d left them watching old reruns of Batman. Ads hadn’t moved from where he was chilling with the lap top. I zipped into the kitchen, pulled upon the oven door to see that my Mac and Cheese was … ? What?

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