At this time of year I often choose a route that takes me past the deserted caravan (trailer) park and over the little wooden bridge which crosses the brook, where the ducks have been replaced by a rusty bicycle frame, a couple of traffic cones and a supermarket trolley from ‘Tesco’. I note that the water has now turned back to it’s normal colour from the bright orange it had been a few weeks ago.
I walk along the muddy path stepping over a couple of overflowing bin bags and pass the local scout hut, nearly slipping on a used condom, as I try to read the colourful graffiti on the heavily shuttered windows.
I reach the small churchyard and pause to listen for the sound of a familiar hymn. Instead I hear the cry of …
“F**K OFF REF !”
… from the field behind the church, where once I heard a skylark sing.
Yes, it is winter and the Sunday morning football (soccer) league is in full swing. The game in progress seems to be a bit above the usual standard as most of the players are running about, rather than walking along with their hands on their hips, spitting on the ground as their beer bellies heave between each wheezing breath. The ball hits the back of the net, the keeper rolls on the ground clutching his groin and a heated fracas breaks out as the referee points towards the penalty spot.
I drag myself away from this exciting spectacle and procede along the narrow path across the marsh towards the seashore, dodging a group from ‘cycling for the visually impaired’, and avoiding the attention of ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ as he tows some silly old cow through the puddles towards me. “Please stop! There’s a good boy!” I hear her cry as the brute drags her off towards the large sign which reads … ‘DANGER! Soft Mud!’
The waves are gently lapping on the beach and empty beer bottles bob in the foam, as I look toward the horizon, being careful not to tread on any discarded needles hidden in the pebbles, where a huge windfarm has become the latest tourist attraction along this part of the coast. I take a deep breath of sea air and soon discover that the wind is blowing from the direction of the nearby sewage works.
I head for home and pass the large seafront houses owned by those with a few bob more than me, and am stopped in my tracks by the sight of a pair of our local ‘gendarmes‘ infringing the ‘human rights’ of a bunch of picturesque ‘pikey’ travellers who have decided to set up their combination camp and rubbish dump near the yacht club.
As I pass the local pub, where once I might have stopped for a pint, until it became a ‘family friendly’ restaurant. I watch as the 4x4s and SUVs disgorge their gangs of little hooligans as they prepare to tear the place apart.
I arrive home. I open the street door and smell the roast beef cooking as I hear my wife mixing the Yorkshire pudding … Ah! Just what I need after …
… such an enjoyable stroll.