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Mad Dogs and Englishmen... Tuesday January 7, 2014

The wind was bitter, snapping at exposed faces with the bitterness of a recent divorcee; the freezing rain could have been driven by Lewis Hamilton in a particularly vicious mood; the ground was beyond sodden, with large areas of lying water which sucked at our feet and forced long detours when it became too deep for wellingtons. My nine year old daughter was NOT having fun!

It was the first of January and the family was out for a nice little walk.

In summer it would have been a delightful walk. Quite why my husband decided that 1st January, with the weather flagging up amber warnings across the whole country, was the day to do this particular expedition must remain a mystery. For the whole walk we saw only one other human, head down, plodding at an angle into the wind, obviously exercising his dog.

So there we were, splashing and sploshing through the flood, in the wind and rain (previously described), getting steadily wetter and colder. It was only a couple of miles, but it was quite enough.

My husband is one of these rough and tough outdoorsy types: he was in his element. I would far rather be curled up with a book. Daughter number one takes after her father and was having a whale of a time. Daughter number two can normally be found glued to a computer game and was not enjoying this one bit: oh no – and was making the rest of us fully aware of her displeasure.

So what does Mum do? Laugh, of course! This was one of those times when a sense of the ridiculous comes to the rescue. If you're busy laughing at how silly you are being, then even getting cold and wet and muddy becomes an adventure. You can cope with soggy feet and a numb nose if you're laughing. You can even cope with a cross and whiney daughter.

Maybe a sense of the ridiculous is something one only gains with maturity, or maybe it's the ability to be able to laugh at oneself that comes with age. Whichever it is, I do hope my nine year old will develop it eventually: she's in for a rough ride through life if she doesn't.

That goes for all of us, I suppose.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our Blogspot:

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curious212000 Tue, Jan 7th 2014 @ 8:28am

Thank you for this Blog Iam one of these Mad Dogs of an Englshmen!

Anonymous Tue, Jan 7th 2014 @ 9:16am

Thanks Mary for your posts - they are always very apt.
May I ask for any thoughts on how to plan ahead when all you can think about is going back to bed ?

Anonymous Tue, Jan 7th 2014 @ 10:39am

So true. Looking back I have got into a tizz about so many things that really weren't worth it. And taken myself so so seriously. I know humour isn't always appropriate but it sure helps.

Anonymous Tue, Jan 7th 2014 @ 1:15pm

Another great post, Mary. One of my colleagues recently told me I had "a good eye for the ridiculous". I took this as a huge compliment! I like sharing my experiences of the ridiculous with my friends on facebook, in the hope that it makes them smile too. A lot of people overlook these small and silly (and in a lot of cases very immature) chances to laugh in the face of depression. It's interesting that in your mind it's related to maturity - I feel as though I haven't quite grown up, and I like that.

Anonymous Tue, Jan 7th 2014 @ 3:27pm

Leaning against win and rain - preferably with other/s YES ! Wet feet, preferably
NO ! I speak as I found...paddled to retrieve my dog's ball from a
flooded field; result....a nasty cold !

Anonymous Tue, Jan 7th 2014 @ 6:47pm

I put the kettle on and make a drink - and focus only on that; then I choose an easy chore e.g. putting on a washload or doing the washing up or cleaning the sink; and focus on only that; that usually helps me to "bump start" myself;
I tell myself, sometimes out loud, "I'm NOT thinking about ..." ( for any negative thoughts that try to flood me) "because I am doing the washing up/cleaning the sink" (or whatever the chore is). On bad days sometimes all I can do is drink the tea and do the one chore - but it does help me not to feel totally useless because I have a washload or a clean sink to show for it ...
If I do end up going back to bed, I try to set a time limit on it - 1 hour or 2 hours, then get up and try again.
If I feel the day has been completely wasted, I tell myself, out loud, "tomorrow is another day, a new start" ; I try really hard (not always successfully) not to beat myself up about the bad day - this I find the toughest thing to do, to forgive myself, to be gentle with myself as I would be to my best friend; to try and be my own best friend (not my own worst critic). Good luck Anonymous - I'm rooting for you and I'm sure others are too! Frankie

Kirsty Tue, Jan 7th 2014 @ 8:34pm

Last year, on a walk/hike/torture trail in the Lake District, we became lost on top of a mountain with very similar weather conditions and light fading fast. We eventually found a way to get down, and once the danger had passed, I started to laugh at the state of us. Sopping wet, starving, covered in mud and surviving on chocolate eclair toffees. You're in the same situation whether you are crying or laughing...I Know which I would rather do.

Lostinspace Wed, Jan 8th 2014 @ 1:09am

Have quite forgotten about these kinds of walks as no longer live in the U.K. but anyway Thanks for the Memory! brought it all right back and the only saving grace for this kind of thing is a sense of humour and how wonderful a hot bath is after a thorough soaking. Put my mind on a different track after finding out that the ex Miss Venezuela who was recently killed here was with her ex-husband who turned out to be the son of a good acquaintance ( I couldn't call her a friend as I don't even know which country she presently lives in but at one time she taught both of my children).
Only humour, even if in retrospect, makes some unbearable things, bearable. Obviously the death of my friend's son will never be lessened by humour.

Anonymous Thu, Jan 9th 2014 @ 12:27am

Mary I love the way you write - superb, thank you!

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