Last week the lovely Cantrix and myself were being INTREPID and ADVENTUROUS by going on a stomp down the country lane near her place. It wasn’t originally intended to be particularly intrepid or adventurous, but owing to the torrential rain that characterises British summers, the path occasionally turned into Passchendaele-esque mudpits or, at one point, a river. Between this and the way the path narrowed to be about six inches across through foliage taller than her, we were feeling pretty intrepid by the end of it.

On the return walk, we discovered a grizzled chap hauling a bike up the path, and he found a decent enough place in the matted nettles and brambles to stand aside for us. I thanked him for his courtesy as we passed, and he offered up friendly comments about how nice it was to see young people out and about being all healthy and stuff.

Which segued seamlessly and cheerfully cheerfully into a tirade about how much he hated fat people who remained at home. And ugly people. Also people with tattoos. And piercings. Fat ugly tattooed pierced people who didn’t go on country walks. Peppered with praise for our clearly upstanding morals and superior physical forms, based on the fact that we’d gone on a one-kilometre stroll during a break in the rain.

This Kraft durch Freude-themed lunacy continued with him deciding we were going to have good children, and bring them up right with hill walks. Tall (there’s a 13” height difference between us) attractive children! He expressed pity for our parents, because we wouldn’t visit them in hospital (I think he was implying they were in hospital for being fat and ugly) once the cars and oil ran out; these vague apocalyptic meanderings quickly gained a religious component, though fortunately, he was chilled when I said I didn’t believe in God (“he believes in you”) and I was in turn chilled when he announced that he was a prophet sent by God (he had a black eye; being a prophet isn’t easy.)

After introducing himself (John), and wishing us long and happy lives, he admonished us a final time to ignore the blandishments of people tempting us to get rings in our eyebrows by telling us they’d improve our vision, and not get roses tattooed on our cheeks.

Cheshire is weirder than I was expecting. 


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