Today, as I sat at my desk at work gazing out of the window at the cloudless blue sky (my Summer job isn’t very mentally stimulating), my mind wandered back in time to the holiday I took with my family to Devon three weeks ago. And by holiday, I mean walking bootcamp.
I’m notoriously grumpy when it comes to walking. I don’t mean stroll-in-the-park or amble-down-Brompton-Road walking. I mean proper walking; the type where you need walking boots, waterproofs, backpacks, CamelBaks, packed lunches, spare socks, blister plasters, torches…oh and foil insulation blankets ‘just in case’.
My mum and stepdad, on the other hand, are hardened walkers. They walk and walk, stopping only to exclaim how wonderful it is to be walking. Cody, the new canine addition to our family, agrees: he always ‘needs’ a walk.
Clearly there’s a conflict of interests when we go on holiday, one which, in Devon, was resolved with the promise of cream tea on each walk.
This was my first experience of proper cream tea. Rather embarrassingly, until not so long ago, I thought that a cream tea was, well, tea – with cream.
Conveniently, my favourite food blogger, Emma of Poires au Chocolat, wrote an enlightening post which cleared up any misunderstandings. She baked six (SIX!) batches of scones to perfect her recipe. True dedication. I even whipped out my phone before I started spreading to check her words of wisdom regarding what goes first – cream or jam (it’s scone-cream-jam, just so you know). I dread to think what would have happened had I not brought my phone with me, and spread jam first!
One of these days I’ll try my hand at Emma’s recipe. For now, the thought of cream tea still has the Pavlovian effect of evoking memories of pain and sweat, so perhaps I should wait a while!
Thinking about the walk/cream tea compromise made me wonder whether the walk was really just a means to an end (the end being a yummy reward). The truth is I don’t really mind walking, but only because it makes me feel good for being active, and the views really can be rewarding. But it’s not like jogging, which makes me profoundly happy in itself; not just because it’s burning calories or taking me on a speedy tour of central London, but because it makes me feel strong, powerful and in control of my body. Pain during a jog is welcome confirmation that I’m pushing my body to its limits; pain during a walk is just confirmation that I should have stayed at home.
I decided that walking, for me, is a means to an end, but the end in question isn’t a sweet treat: it’s the promise that I won’t feel guilty for not going on a walk. Oh the twisted thought processes of women! Or is it just me?
Cody’s thoughts revolve around food, walks and sleep. I know because he told me.