The walk had started out so well, too.
On holiday and staying with friends, I was happy to join them on a late afternoon stroll down the country roads. We meandered past grazing sheep, admired the luscious scenery, played on an old swing set, and breathed deeply of the crisp winter air.
Recent flooding meant that the roads and fields were patched with large areas of swampy puddles and mini lakes. These fresh, clear pools caught the reflection of the clouds scudding across the sky, and mirrored the trees that bowed over them in graceful strength.
It was into one of these pools that I was unceremoniously dumped when I tried to help my friend climb over a fence.
She made it over the fence. I made it into that mirror world where the trees grow upside down and the colours are softened in the low light.
I trudged home in wet, cold jeans, feeling the southerly breeze slowly numb my legs and stiffen my gait.
Back home, I threw my wet jeans into the dryer and pulled on a pair of blue silk pajama pants – the only other pants I had brought with me. I set my damp boots in front of the heater, slipped on my old white scuff shoes, and thanked God that I was now warm and dry.
I love trains. Always have.
This is relevant information, because this is the reason I found myself, two hours later, down the road at the historic railway station, watching excitedly as the 1909 steam train was readied for her night run.
The concrete platform was crowded with photographers, and I wandered among them, taking pictures, admiring the engine, and only realising when I went back to join my friend on the far end of the platform that I was still in my pajama pants.
Oh well. It was dark. And the train was claiming all the attention anyway.
We stayed until she made her final call and let out a blast of steam, then chuffed away into the night, taking the photographers and other lucky passengers with her.
Then I headed back to the house, following my friend as he made his way to the fence we had climbed over to get to the station quickly. He expertly maneuvered his way across the creek at the fence line.
I expertly failed to do the same.
It was then, standing knee deep in a creek in my pajamas, that I realised the absurdity of it all.
Twice in one day? Surely others have this problem? What happened to the little girl who dreamed of one day being a graceful ballerina?
For the second time that day, I showed up at my host’s home wet and cold and shaking my head in disbelief.
I pulled my now warm jeans out of the dryer and exchanged them with my pajama pants. The shoes came off, the slippers came on, and I settled down to enjoy the rest of the evening.
Because nothing like the two accidents of today could happen if I was safely indoors, right?
No water. No fences. No fuss.
So it was with great enthusiasm that I leapt up from my comfy position on the Lazi-boy to meet a group of visitors from Vanuatu who’d come to spend the evening at my friend’s home.
They came into the lounge, smiling. I went to greet them, smiling. The dog dashed under my feet, no doubt smiling.
It strikes me as rather cruel that, when I am face down on the floor and clearly on her eye-level, she still refuses to swallow me up…
© Emma McGeorge, June 2014