29 May 2009

Homeward Bound

A beautiful summers day left me with an urge to leave work early, which I duly did (I will be making up the hours at home, but on laptop in the garden, rather than a dingy office).

Looking to maximise fresh air time, I decided to see if there was an alternative route to walk home from work that was a bit more countrified than the dull repetitiveness of Queen Ediths Way.

As I sometimes have to teach off site at a little training centre that's only about a mile from the hospital, and about a mile and a half from the Slippy Towers (as the crow flies.....), I thought I'd try to negotiate them both and see how long it takes. This would mean that if Mrsslippy's working early and I'm teaching, it means I don't have to drop her off at 7 o'clock, then debate whether to go back home for an hour, or go straight to Magog Court and work on my own in a soulless IT centre for a couple of hours. One day I'll take my Wii with me and make use of the 8 foot square interactive white board, but I might accidentally end up staying the night if I did...

A quick Google suggested that there was a road cutting along Magog Golf Course, then a bridleway through the quaintly named 'Beechwoods', then a track across the fields that Mrsslippy and I have walked across before, but in the other direction.

It would double my usual route, but as I said, the weather was nice, and then I'd know how long it took to walk to the the training centre at the roundabout if I got the bus to the hospital, and how long it would take to go straight there across the fields.

Twenty minutes to the golf club, then start walking along the road towards the woods.

It didn't say 'Private Road', but fuck me, the golfers looked at me as if it was....

I wasn't dressed for golf, but I was still in a shirt and trousers from work, but there were scornful looks as I crossed the car park, and looks of suspicion/derision as I strode out - a spring in my step and a smile on my face, enjoying the weather.

I've never been a fan of golf. I have friends who play, and I can understand why they do, but despite the increase in open courses, I find the whole private club, no women in the bar, old boys doing deals on the greens thing just a bit fucking elitist, and The Magogs strikes me as just one of those clubs.

As I approached the woods it appeared there was a bit of a flaw in my plan. As men stopped mid stroke to look at me walk past I came to a sign saying 'Access to Woods from Fulbourn Road Only'.


The club had done it's damnedest to prevent access. Presumably this was to stop people getting onto the course from the woods, and although I probably could have just scrambles and climbed my way through, I had too much dignity, so I did the next best thing - I faked a phone call.

"Yes, I'm on my way up there now.........what......the one by the club house?....I couldn't see your car so thought you meant the other one.....ok I'll come back down now...see you in a minute",

and I turned tail and walked back down the road, head held high. A cursory glance over my shoulder confirmed what I already knew. They were still watching...staring....cunts.

Back in the car park, I was faced with two choices. Double back to the hospital, or walk 200m up Lime Kiln Hill, and cut across to the woods and over the field to home.

Fields it was, and as I walked along the drive out the car park, more cars with rubber-neckers drove past, furious that scumbag me was walking near where they twat little white balls around.

I heard a car pull up alongside me, and drew a deep breath, expecting the 'What do you think you're doing?'

Instead, in a polite but not posh accent that I could not place, I got a 'Do you need a lift?'

'No thanks' said I to the two blokes inside 'I'm enjoying the sun and the fresh air -cheers anyway'.

They didn't even ask where I was going, or care that I clearly wasn't a golfer - just a couple of good Samaritans checking if I needed a hand.

My faith in the golfing fraternity restored!

For a nanosecond.

As the car drove off I clocked the plates and twigged the accent.


I've been mistaken for a German a few times on holiday. Did they think I was one of their own? Lost and car less on a balmy summers day?

I doubt it, I think they just don't do the whole class/private member thing that the English do so well, and just offered another human being a hand.

I followed the field edge up Lime Kiln Hill, conscious that the cars hurtling down it wouldn't think twice about knocking me down, and crossed over to the north side of Beechwoods, and into the field that would take me home.

Only last time we crossed it the corn wasn't 4 feet high, and what was once a path, was now just crops and very uneven soil. Unperturbed I walked on, enjoying the sunshine,and the rustle of the crops in the gentle breeze.

It took me about 90 minutes to get home, rather than 30, so I don't think it's a route I'll be using very often.

If I need to go anywhere that's too far to walk I'll just hang around in Lederhosen and wait for a passing German.

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