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Friday 26 October 2012


Ascending the steep cliff path was a group of older folk. The women in the group seemed to me to be weary; there was also an expression of fear in their faces. The childlike expressions portrayed on the faces of their men-folk put me in mind, first of Valium and secondly – probably because we were on a National Trust footpath – of the National Trust’s luscious Celtic Mead honey wine that I enjoy.

I stood aside on the inside of the track lest one of the group grab me and drag me over the edge.

When the group had passed I was left with no choice other than to continue on my way: ‘Is there evidence of a fault line?’ I asked myself. My fertile imagination was taking hold …my inner thoughts were accelerating into imaginary drama. I visualised an obituary column of the weekly local newspaper and I could even hear my Solicitor clearing his throat before going on to read my Will in his predictably demure tone, so suitable for such an occasion.

In the meantime my partner had marched on and it was only after an anxious few minutes had expired that I stumbled upon her waiting for me in a niche of the cliff.
 ‘There are some nice wild flowers here…shall we take a photo?’

I was pleased with her observation, but dumbfounded by her suggestion, and it took several seconds to re-gather my thoughts before I replied:  ‘…but their roots are anchored at least inches if not several feet deep into the cliff!’

‘…also, what about the wind?’  I continued, hoping that the tone of my voice did not betray the extent of my anxiety, for I was very frightened; yet my partner’s demeanour seemed so relaxed about our situation.

As if nature was trying to emphasise the danger we were in, the neck flap of my anorak slapped my ear several times before I managed to clip it back. Unfortunately, this manoeuvre meant that I temporarily let go of my walking aids; whereupon my thoughts became ever more far fetched.

Was it my fertile imagination or the bloodymindedness of my feelings that induced an image of my partner in the hands of one of the older folk who had ascended the path behind us? Whatever, I was beggared if my thoughts would camouflage my approach to the task in hand.

© Ken Campbell
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