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Walk No.24

Route: Blackpool to some outer rural village...
Duration: 2 Days

When I was 13 my best friend and I were planning what to do for the forthcoming half term break at school. Should we go nocturnal or go camping?  We were unsupervised, wild and fairly unhinged but we had the self awareness to know being nocturnal would be a shit idea.
So we went camping.
We got a bus somewhere - I'm not sure we actually knew where - got off and walked until we found a dingly dell fitting the preconceived notion of what an ideal camping pitch should look like (neither of us had experienced much camping before this...).  We had with us a small Action-Man play tent, borrowed from my friend's neighbour - who we nicknamed Mark Twain for some reason - about eight jumpers each and some tinned Alphabet Spaghetti.  Maybe we had blankets, but I have a memory of being constantly cold, so I doubt it.
That night we were invaded by local boys who all smelled of ale and wouldn't leave us alone.  The weather took care of the 'tent' and we eventually relocated to squat the night in the belfry of the nearby village church.  The boys eventually got bored of our lack of femininity and exclusive private jokes (and no doubt, our unhingedness...) and left us to the night.
Early in the morning we explored the tiny village, settling down in front of the only shop to boredly await its opening.  My friend decided to open the tins of spaghetti which were horrible and  - in what we thought was a stroke of genius - began to write out phrases on the steps with the alphabet shapes.
It wasn't long before a local policeman came to ask us to leave.  He went through the routine of asking our names.  To my horror my friend said my name and so in disgust I said hers.  He escorted us to the edge of the village, pointed us in the direction of the seedy metropolis that had spewed us forth and we began the long haul home.
To save carrying our baggage we wore all eight of the jumpers....
We arrived at her house that evening.  Sitting on her sofa with bowls in front of us (puking probably due to the untreated water we had drunk out of a brook) we watched a programme on TV where one of my all-time favourite entertainers, Tommy Cooper, died in front of us on the stage.
If I told you this was an unusual event in my childhood I would be lying.  We constantly wandered off on strange, unsafe and crazy excursions.
The reason I'm posting it here is because I want to use it as an example of remembering a journey, a walk. And look at what it is that reminds me, because despite not being able to remember exactly what the place was called that we landed upon I can tell you lots of details about the experience.


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