So the next day, a Friday, braced and full of beans after Thursday’s thrilling blackberry-scrumping adventure in which I had unequivocally stuck it to The Man, I took a northward lane up the hill towards Lansdown.
By and by I happened upon the gate depicted below. I leaned there and gazed out across the valley.
The above picture deceives by flattening the hill. In reality, the gradient is fairly steep and – in a flash it struck me – eminently rollable. There was, I realised, absolutely nothing save societal convention, the fear of being observed and the odd cowpat to prevent me from leaping over the gate and tumbling, like a giddy child, down the grassy slope.
Once again I was faced with a test of my sense of adventure, of my capacity for devil-may-care spontaneity, perhaps even of my very manhood. I had passed the blackberry exam with flying colours, but would my determination to be master of my own destiny allow me to take this further, still more daring step?
I took a deep breath, and – do you know what I did? I thought ‘nah’, turned and walked down the lane, back to the office: a slinking failure, a simpering poltroon, a hollow man, a wretch.