Sunday, 5 February 2012

It's Snow Joke, Becoming Brave

There has been an odd side effect to having The Small Boy, I have become brave ... really I have. Or at least braver than I was.

I famously DO NOT DO snow, I hate snow.. and frost and slush and anything that might be slippy and unpredictable under foot. Partially it's because I fell down a ski-run when I was a teenager (like you do) and because the fear of heights I've had since I was a child is, technically, also a fear of falling.

Heights are usually quite easy to avoid .. don't climb on chairs or up the Pont Du Gard (which I did once and ended up vomiting on a French teacher who will probably be a little bit more understanding next time a pupil says she has Vertigo).

Oh, and don't stand on the edge of anything .. like high curbstones, for example (yes really). Snow can also be avoided by the clever expedient of just not leaving the house.

Now it has snowed again, you might have noticed, but for the first time in, well, years I haven't spent the usual amount of hours uselessly panicking about it. In fact, I and The Small Boy dressed in our woollies and wellies and WENT FOR A WALK on our own in the snow, while it snowed. No, I'm not quite sure I believe it either.

Footpath to Mallyan Spout

And from where comes this new fearlessness? I'm putting it down to surviving the family's very own "127 Hours" moment, thankfully without loss of a limb, during our last holiday. North Yorkshire during an unseasonably sunny October and a trip to the renowned beauty spot, Mallyan Spout near Goathland. Totally unequipped we envisaged a pleasant stroll, a jolly look at a pretty waterfall and a happy wander home.

Ha, HA .... the walk started well right up until the point we realised to get to the pretty waterfall we had to clamber over wet slippy rocks. I didn't want to climb over those rocks and so an advance party of three pressed ahead leaving me, Teen Twin 1 and the Third Girl all absolutely sure the best course of action would be to turn right round and head back the way we'd come.

The path to Mallyan Spout North Yorkshire Moors
The advance party

The advance party came back and encouraged us to go on. The waterfall was spectacular they said, the rock clambering not too bad. It would be worth it. So on we went, even though I was apparently transporting half a dozen angry moths in my stomach as well as a huge cannonball in my throat. I managed by cunning dint of clinging on to The Man and shutting my eyes during the dangerous bits.

Mallyan Spout
Pretty waterfall
And we got to the waterfall, and lo, it was very pretty but frankly not worth the trauma of getting there and there wasn't ANYWAY that I was going to go back the way we'd come AT ALL. My legs were still like vibrating violin strings. We would just go on, along the river bank. It couldn't be ANY worse than we'd already endured, right?


Steep, muddy, slippy with lots of edges, and depths, and heights and improbable wooden steps leading further and further up sheer banks of tussocky grass and puddles of mud eventually, after literally hours of senseless wanderings, ending in an almost vertical climb up a hill on the most ridiculously inadequate steps ever. It was nightmare made real, the stuff of horror and terror and really bad things.

The path to Mallyan Spout

I clung on to The Small Boy ostensibly to take care of him, while daddy coaxed and clucked after the girls. But at some point in this journey through hell it soon became clear that The Small Boy was taking more care of me than the other way round. "You alright mummy?" he'd ask. "It's alright. I'll look after you," he'd say.
He was my little hero, utterly unfazed by a great adventure and positively joyous that he was looking after me for a change.

Eventually we reached civilisation again or at least an empty road and land flat enough to stand on without spiraling dizziness, lurching fear and suppressed screaming.

Phew and thank f*ck.

But having faced my most feared fears and survived, I don't feel quite so incapable of dealing with the little things - like a bit of snow - anymore. Hence striding out into the weather yesterday and of course I took The Small Boy .... because he makes me just that little bit braver than I really am.

Boy in snow

Though we won't be going back to Mallyan Spout anytime soon, thanks.

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