Hills are our friends!

A very bleak looking Wrights Hill from our turret window

It’s now mid-winter down here in the Southern Hemisphere – the temperatures are dropping. Today it hasn’t yet reached double figures.

When I awoke at 7.15am (very late!) I heard nothing. That’s good I thought, no rain. Time for a walk before the day turns to custard.

So, on with the walking gear, grab iPhone and earphones, find some gloves, finish off with my lovely warm jacket – and better stuff some tissues in my pockets. Cold weather always gets my nose running. Out the door …

I tuned in to Desert Island Discs podcast of Kirsty Young (with her gorgeous Scottish accent) talking to setter of fiendish crosswords John Graham, and set off of my normal route on flattish terrain – a walk of around 35 minutes. I hadn’t got too far, was about to listen to John Graham’s third music choice, when I saw an old friend also out walking. Oh my God, the last time I met her she told me that she walks the HILL every morning, and suggested I come with her one day. I was not going to be able to get out of this one with dignity!

‘Why don’t you join me?” she shouted from across the road, “come on…” followed by a big inviting smile and gesture. No way out … I thought of Greg from martinidesign, who yesterday, or was it the day before, ran up Mt Kaukau. Guilt … of course I can do it, I know I can …

OK – off with the iPhone … later Kirsty, later. A girl’s got to take all the company she can get, I spend far far too much time on my own!

We used to play on Wrights Hill when I was a child. When it was virgin territory, no streets and no houses. We used to clamber up the hill and, much to our mother’ annoyance,  slide down on our backsides. The hillside, covered in yellow-blooming gorse, was an exciting playground especially the World War II gun emplacements at the top. I’ve always lived within sight of it.

I could feel the pull on my leg muscles as we progressed upwards, repeating the mantra to myself  ‘hills are our friends, hills are our friends, hills are our friends’ while we chatted, catching up with family news. I absolutely hate being seen as unfit or struggling, so I put on extra pace, then started worrying about not having any sugar on me, and I hadn’t cleaned my teeth … after all, I only intended to go out for a sedate suburban walk. Didn’t even take the key to the house …

The climb finished off with a stairway ascent was worth it, the view spectacular along with the feeling of accomplishment. I’d done it – legs feeling good, bit of a pull in the glutes, not puffed, not strained, a damn good time. Yes!!!

Going down was easy, a just reward.

As we waved our goodbyes (yes, I will join her again), I retrieved my earphones and rejoined Kirsty and John. Twenty minutes later I was back home, feeling well and truly set up for the next twelve hours.

Hills are our friends … no need for a swim today!

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