Electricity is a wondrous thing.
Every night I connect the battery of my scooter to the holes in the wall, and, hey presto, the next day it moves silently ahead . . . or, indeed, backwards, if I want . . . when I press the lever. The nice man in the shop told me all this, and I nodded wisely, and so it has turned out.
The magic works.
But I am reminded of the wise words of the Indian chief in the film, Little Big Man (Dustin Hoffman), who, when he went up to the mountain top to die, lay down and didn’t die but instead got rained on, “Sometimes the magic works. And sometimes, it doesn’t!”
You know how you just say something and expect your listener to instantly understand the context of your remark, and how hilariously apposite and funny it is? And they don’t? Well, this is one of those quotations I employ from time to time, where nobody thinks it apposite or funny at all.
It’s no good me explaining the context or the flat acceptance in the actor’s voice as he shrugs off the ruin of his final farewell moment because he doesn’t want to get wet. There can be no sudden flash of comprehension or sudden laughter after such a deconstruction of a laconic aside.
What happens is this.
I set out on our morning walk with gusto and with Ruby (I might call my next dog Gusto!).
My speed is set to 3.7 miles per hour over the railway bridge (which is the fastest it will go), because there is a bit of a blind bend and so I want to get over it as quickly as possible, then I slow down a bit for the slow, gentle climb up to Reddisher Farm . . . an easy saunter for Ruby . . . and then we speed up on the downhill side to Tunnel End. Ruby breaks into a languorous trot here.
I join the path that threads alongside the river at this point The gate, of course, is really difficult to use. The path is labelled as wheelchair accessible, which is true. But the gates that lead on to the path require the upper body strength and flexibility of a gymnast.
Oh, what bliss it is if a walker in boots and bobble hat arrives in the other direction at the same time. If no bobble hat is available, the gate can be managed with skill and dexterity, both of which I have in abundance, as I know you know.
Now I set the speed to the Tortoise setting on the dial, let Ruby off the lead, and slowly amble along the river, through the alder carr and marshland, through the bracken and over the little bridge, swinging down to the river, as it rushes down from Hey Green.
This is all lovely, and is about as far as we go, though we have been further . . . and there is a story there for a future time!
It is quiet here, and a bit chilly. The wind comes straight off the moor, and Lancashire is almost within site. Another couple of miles and you would fall off the edge of the world . . . the civilised bit, anyway.
And here I have run out of electricity THREE TIMES!
How stupid is that?
These embarrassments happen because I don’t check that the overnight charge has actually worked.
I entitle these incidents, The Awfulnesses at Tunnel End.
Once, it was because I had deviated up a steep hill . . . to see if the scooter could cope with it . . It couldn’t, and I can still smell the motor burning out. Both the other times I used my phone to summon help from friends in the village.
And it is only through the selfless heroism of Judi and Alex, respectively, that your Blogger survives today to blog about it!
I would like to think that, in extremis, Ruby would race to the village like Lassie, and someone would hear her barking and say, “What’s that you’re saying, Ruby? Steve’s in trouble? Where? At Tunnel End, you say? Quick, arrange a search party.” And Ruby would lead the horses to me, and I would be given piping hot coffee and brandy.
But she wouldn’t. She would just lick my face as I passed out.
Obviously, what I need for Christmas is a thermos flask, a survival bag, and a GPS collar.