'Be prepared .... my ass' I mumbled to myself as I stumbled along behind my Teen Boy scout, who led the way along the rough pathway strewn with gnarled roots that went deeper and deeper into the forest. We'd wandered uphill and downhill and all around the woods until we no longer knew in which direction we were headed.
We were getting hopelessly lost it seemed.
Now maybe you haven't even noticed but I haven't been around much on social media sites in recent weeks. I'd like to say that 'I've been busy house cleaning, campaigning, being a taxi-mum and generally saving the world' and such like but the truth of the matter is I've been busy enjoying the summer sun; while uttering the odd 'get out of that bed...... NOW' admonishment up the stairs to my ever-sleeping night owl of a Teen Boy. I was about to re-assure any of you who did notice my absence that I hadn't gone missing-in-action.
Except that now it seemed that's exactly what was going to happen. And no-one would know!
My ever-slumbering teen has suddenly become very active you see and I've been dragged on park walks, to teen gyms and on late evening beach strolls of late.
And on forest walks. That had ne'er a signpost nor any indication of which direction one should be headed.
Not that the Teen Boy scout was in anyway concerned as he confidently strolled on ahead.
At one stage we came level with and looked out on a nearby golf course, only to look down on it from a great height a mere ten minutes later. Some time after that we heard the familiar sound of the N.11 dual carriageway motoring along from way, way below us. Only problem was, it was coming from the opposite direction from where we thought it should be coming from!
We bravely continued on, enjoying the peace and greenery surrounding us - in between (my) intermittent panics that is. Then we stumbled upon a beautiful old ruin and stopped to admire it a while.
We then ignored a nearby downward path and went on our way. Past some very dark and extremely eerie dense sections of forest we hiked.. All that was missing was some spooky mist. On and on we went, further and further away from the motoring sounds that we knew we should be headed towards. It was okay though, scout-mode truly kicked in as sticks were fashioned from large branches and used to indicate where we'd come from, as we veered off the path and the scout went on ahead to, well, scout the way forward. On what seemed to be a promising downward path.
Except that it wasn't, as my scouting companion nonchalantly advised. Just before he made the executive decision to head back the way we we had traveled.
Back uphill that is, back up past the deep, eerie woodland.
Anything could happen in this deserted and very steep nature reserve, I thought to myself. I mean, this I know - I read many thrillers and watch Law and Order and the like you know. We could end up going home murdered!
But then I saw that my scout still had the big stick he had procured earlier and I had - well, I had a water bottle in one pocket and my phone in the other. With a good aim I could give a good whack on the head to any would-be attacker with the former and summon help with the latter. Or access Google maps.
'YES! Google Maps!!' I excitedly exclaimed. Teen Boy, who was quite content to continue applying his scouting skills, reluctantly agreed to my accessing this genius app. Which I tried to do, only to be stumped at the very last minute by the flashing mini circle of doom, heralding the need to 'recharge your phone...... Now!'
Onwards and upwards we trudged, until we came back to the charming ruin. Which now had an ominous feel to it as I pondered the unsavory thought of an impromptu overnight bivouac.
And then we saw him. The man. He appeared out of nowhere, up from the ghostly depths of the dense green foliage sweeping down behind the ruin.
He was swiftly joined by two sweet little dogs, so rather than running back into the deep, deep forest from whence we had stumbled, we willingly went towards him instead.
And thanks to his directions we were back to our car in no time at all, musing over how 'not scared at all' we had been and how we had thoroughly enjoyed our two hour adventure!
All good practice as his imminent real scout mission beckons. Off on a Swiss adventure he goes. With well prepared scout leaders equipped with all required necessities.
And fully charged phones, I hope!