Saturday, 1 September 2012

Walking

BFTF has been pondering the seemingly simple act of walking recently, and has noticed that the BFTF family members have styles of walking that are as different as chalk and cheese, or garlic and coriander, or, indeed, aloo and baingan.

BFTF tends to be looking around and taking in the sights as he walks, and if in the countryside or a park is easily distracted by an interesting looking tree, a weird insect or even a pretty cloud. Any of these can result in the digital camera being whipped out for a quick snap and trees may result in the double whammy of getting their picture taken AND their being looked up in the Collins Gem Book of British Trees if BFTF is not sure what type of tree they are. All of this can make for a rate of progress that is somewhat on the slow side. Especially if the tree in question is a fir tree, as they just all look the same - just needles on branches. You’d think there would be some distinguishing characteristics but oh no that would be too easy wouldn’t it, so often BFTF is unable to narrow the possibilities down sufficiently to have any confidence of being able to identify the tree. This can be very frustrating.

You see ? That’s the problem right there - too easily distracted.

In marked contrast, once Mrs BFTF starts walking somewhere, she has no intention of stopping for anything until she reaches her destination. The surrounding buildings, trees and other features are all just things that get in the way. She might notice changes in gradient, but there is never any noticeable change in pace. You might say she has the same walking style as a Royal Marine Commando.She just wants to how far to go and in which direction before she will set off at a brisk pace with a determined look in her eyes and a rifle on her shoulder.

Okay, so maybe she doesn’t have a rifle.

And maybe that’s a good thing.

Moving on to the kids, well they have a whole different set of styles again. Perhaps most notable amongst them is No3 son, who will start any walk with bags of energy and will talk to you without cessation or interruption (just like BBC2 Test Match coverage in the old days) from the moment you start walking to the moment you stop. No one trick pony, No3 sons could be talking, in his characteristically animated way, about what he has done at school, what he has seen on the TV or maybe what he has read in a book, mashallah. As a parent, it can be tough to stay focused on what he is saying, especially if you are BFTF.

On the plus side, he will walk happily wherever you are going and will keep walking right up the moment he runs out of energy. Now, some people run out of energy slowly, over a long period of time - while other people run out of energy in a rather sudden way. No3 son definitely falls into the latter category, so it always pays to consider what his likely range is before setting out.

Note: This article has previously been published, in a slightly amended form, in the Invitation magazine.

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