By: Blonde Two

“…down to the hollow, and there let us wallow, in glorious mud”.

The Hippopotamus Song is a silly one but it was one of my childhood favourites.  It sprung to mind this morning as Saturday found The Two Blondes in an inordinate amount of mud.

We weren’t  by the “cool Shalimar” and definitely weren’t “combing our hair” – we were squelching round some Devon lanes with a rather nice group of young people.  Points to note here are that although Blondes have hair, hippopotami don’t and the “Shalimar” river is unknown to Google (you can decide for yourself whether Google or Rolf Harris are more trustworthy).

The Two Blondes are used to mud on Dartmoor but Dartmoor mud tends to be peat and smells nice – it also has an ability to fall off clothing once it is dry.  In this particular part of Devon, the cliffs are red sandstone, the beaches are red sand and the mud is red gloop.

My favourite bit of mud (not!) on Saturday came in the form of a river (not the Shalimar).  This was odd as you don’t usually find rivers at the top of Devonshire green lanes.  This river was about 25 metres long, murky brown and annoyingly “just over the boot top” deep.  There was a narrow, slippery and very muddy shelf along the side which all of the students and Blonde One chose to use with lots of screeches (not Blonde One).  I knew very well that if anyone was going to slide off this shelf into said river, it was going to be me so I opted for an attempt to part the waters Moses style (it was a sea of red).

When my miracle skills failed me, I had to wade.  One of the students, rather unhelpfully, pointed out that she had ridden her horse through the same river and it wasn’t too deep. Now I have long legs but unless she has a very short horse, we are probably not in the same height league.  I resisted the temptation to ask why she hadn’t told us about the river, mostly because I was concentrating on not falling into it.  Another student shot a video which is going to prove interesting as it includes Blonde One hanging onto the hedge as she slid along the mud shelf and me hanging on to a lad’s hand as I negotiated the watery route.

We all arrived without mishap at the other side but after Blonde discussion allowed the kids to do an “independent leg” on the next part of the route that showed signs of river development.