One of my notes last term was to ‘get more mud’ in my life. Now, as a child I was never really into mud. I don’t remember making mud pies, though I’m sure at some point I must have, and I certainly don’t remember ever finding mud fun. In fact, my most vivid memory of encountering mud was during a school trip to a farm, when I got my welly stuck in the mud. I remember panicking as everyone wandered off, unaware of my predicament. The more I struggled to free myself, the more the mud sucked and slurped at the sides of my welly, until all I could do was call out for help and hope the others heard me or at least noticed I was no longer with them.
Naturally, then, when I got the note about mud I didn’t jump at the prospect. However, I have embraced this new direction, albeit tentatively at first, and the other day on a walk with my coursemates I well and truly went for it when I slipped and ended up lying on my back in the mud! Admittedly, this isn’t something I plan on repeating any time soon, but it was strangely liberating at the time, after I’d brushed the inch of gloopy sludge off my backside and peeled off my sodden gloves.
Every time I go for a walk now, either out in Epping Forest or back home across the rugged hills of Yorkshire, I make a point of heading straight through the muddy patches rather than skirting around them as I would have done before. It still doesn’t come to me naturally. I was never a mucky child, in fact I did everything I could to avoid dirt. When out walking in my shiny red wellies with mum and dad, on encountering even the smallest of puddles I would deftly step around the muddy water so as not to get any muck on my prized footwear. My sister was the opposite – she seemed to seek out muck. Perhaps more time spent traipsing after her across the muddy fields back home as she marches ahead in her typical no-nonsense Yorkshirewoman way is needed.
Sadly, we’re currently miles apart, so until my next trip up north I’ll be stomping around Loughton looking for the nearest patch of mud to squelch through. Hmm, I wonder if a trip to Lush to buy one of their mud face masks also counts….