Hilly stroll

“The kids have started calling me Juicy Simon,” announces Juicy Simon. “I used to be bald angry Simon. Now I’m Juicy Simon. It’s an upgrade.”

He’s given us a bottle of apple juice each. Pasteurised. “Come back later and I’ll have the fresh stuff juiced up.”

We are walking in tame woodland. Juicy Simon is installed at the bottom of an incline with all his kit. His apples are all scrumped which basically means he’s nicked them, although in this hipster culture we can go with saying he’s foraged them. Still, it’s his labour to find them, his labour to juice and package them, and pretty costly in terms of energy to keep up the constant monologue with which he regales us in his presence. He is definitely juicy. He’s also pretty angry. And he’s bald. I resolve to buy some of his juice when we get back down to pay for the entertainment.

We walk up an incline. The brambles are ripe early and the birds and tourists haven’t caught on. We should tell Juicy Simon, so he can start a sideline with blackberry jam. We grab blackberries and get sticky fingers. We stalk domestic animals. We are full of the joys of late summer.

I have no idea where I am but it’s near The University of Sussex and the Football Stadium. Attractive woodland with some old growth, and I’m scanning the trees for mushrooms. Patches of green pasture where I can imagine clutches of horse mushrooms or parasols in a month or so. I was hoping for some luck today in the old mushroom stakes, but the bounty was not to be found despite a long heatwave followed by rain. A bit early in the season yet I guess.

Just as I’m starting to relax, Basil the schnauzer comes flying at me all ears and snout hungry for blood. He’s all mouth and no trousers though, gumming the back of my calf while his embarrassed owners try to discourage him, as concerned for my reaction as they are for my safety. I’m relieved his teeth didn’t get involved as he was talking a good game. Glad to still have my left calf intact, we find a small calm group of totally indifferent horses standing in the shade. It’s not as hot as hot as it has been but it’s still pretty muggy. The horses are conserving energy. They give fewer fucks than any horse I’ve ever met. Still they make me want to get back up in the saddle. There’s another lovely money sink, but one which can pay for itself down the line with little one line parts in historic dramas. If the industry ever opens up again…

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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