Noticed at some point this morning that it was raining. E3 repeated insistently that she had no desire to go to school. ‘I do not want to see my friends’ she said firmly, pre-empting my stock response. E2 wanted her hair in a plait at the back, so her hat could sit on her head comfortably. I looked at the rain. I tell E2 ‘I had wanted to go walking in the fields again after dropping you off at school, but I can’t because it is raining. When I went yesterday, it was like walking on wet clay, very slippery. I think I’ll give it a miss. But what if it rains again tomorrow?’ I ponder over this as I get each girl’s hair into an acceptable state and then it occurs to me that I can still go for my walk, albeit along a different route.
On the way to school, I notice my friend Toyin’s car behind us. I keep an eye on her, and on the road ahead. There is a build up of traffic in front of us, and l see her turn off into a side road. Suddenly, I have a mission. To beat her to school. ‘Come on girls!’ I exclaim , ‘we need to get to school before your aunty’. E1 turns to look at me perplexed. ‘Mama, are you sure it was Aunty Toyin behind us?’ ‘Yes I am’ I reply as I inch forward, impatient to turn into the next side road. ‘Well, what if it wasn’t her and you are trying to race a random car which might not even be going to our school?’ ‘It doesn’t matter’ I retort. ‘It’s the taking part that counts. And the winning.’ There isn’t any logic in this, but it makes perfect sense to me. We get to school and park, Toyin is nowhere in sight, then as the girls come out of the car, we see her drive up. ‘I was racing you!’ I yell across the road at her. ‘Mama, shh, you’re shouting’ remonstrates E1 ‘it’s embarrassing.’ ‘Anyway,’ she continues, ‘it can’t be any more embarrassing than what happened yesterday.’ I had been exasperated at her and had roared ‘shut up’ at the top of my lungs, surprising all of us in the process. ‘Yes,’ I agree, giggling. ‘That was a rather loud shout wasn’t it? The force of it made me come to a halt as I was walking.’ We both laugh.
The girls safe in school, a mother goes past talking to Toyin. She says ‘Yes, I was even telling Jokey…..’ I smile at both of them and walk on. And then I turn and say ‘Vee, it’s Jo-KEH! Jo-KEH, not Jokey.’ Toyin bursts out laughing. I’m in fine form this morning. Someone else is given the same lecture before I get to my car. I wait for Toyin and Yemi so we can have our morning gist. ‘Are you going to the party this weekend?’ Yemi asks. ‘No o’ I reply, it’s not on my radar at all. Neither Toyin nor Yemi are going, they have other engagements. I set off for home shortly after.
I park along the top of the road next to the field, set my timer, start MapMyWalk, and begin to walk. It is hard going. I am soon covered in a light sweat. I check my phone and blink in disbelief. It claims I have only been walking for 3 minutes. I gulp down some water and soldier on. It is my plan to walk 15 minutes up the road, and then retrace my steps to the car. The further I trudge on, the more apparent it becomes that I won’t make the whole 15 minutes. I am also getting dangerously close to my house, and I have a mental image of going to my neighbours, asking for my spare key, and begging for a lift back to my car when I have recovered from the walk. So I turn, and head back to my car. ‘Joke, ba wo ni? Kilon sele now?’ I look up to see Folake grinning at me, she is driving, and there’s a car behind her so she can’t stop.’ I wave at her, then call her on my phone. I explain that at my recent health check I was told to incorporate more activities into my day, hence the walking. She then asks if I am coming to the party. I say I’m not, and then she says ‘O de wa joo? The children would enjoy it and there’d be lots of food.’ She has said the magic word. Food. ‘Traditional ni, so you can wear anything’ she continues. ‘Joo now, it’ll be lots of fun.’ I mentally ransack my wardrobe. There’s a dress I could wear….and the girls would enjoy going out..’Okay, ma ro’ I respond. I am out of breath so I say goodbye.
My car is just ahead. The app claims I have walked for 17.55 minutes. I do not believe it. It feels like I have walked for hours. It claims I did 1.55km. I have no evidence to the contrary. I get into it with a sigh of relief. My top is damp, I feel accomplished.
At my health check, everything was fine. BMI 23.9 etc, but I guess I can do better. Hence the walking. If you live in the UK, and are over 40, you are entitled to a free health check at your GP’s. Height, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, everything measured, so you can address any areas of concern. One life, take care of it.
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