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I am just going outside...

PUBLISHED: 11:13 17 November 2009 | UPDATED: 16:21 20 February 2013

If Wordsworth could manage 30 miles a day, surely our wordsmith Sue Limb could make it out of the front door?

I was watching TV the other day when I noticed something really peculiar. Somebody was sitting on my knee and that somebody was me. I glanced down and discovered my own tummy sprawled all over my lap, rather like a sleeping grandchild, but not so picturesque.

Instantly I leapt to my feet: I had to get rid of this interloper! What I needed was a life-changing fresh start. First I went to the fridge to clear up the last bit of cheese. It was bigger than I remembered, but I forced myself: one must make sacrifices at historic moments.

Writing is a sedentary occupation, but Wordsworth walked 30 miles a day sometimes, polishing his odes as he strode, easily notching up the 10,000 paces we all need to stay fit. Like him, I live in a remote region, with rocks and streams outside my door. (Inside, too, since the cleaner retired.) It was all out there, waiting for me.

Of course, I would need a pedometer so I could be sure Id done my 10,000 steps. You can get pedometers which calculate how many calories youve burned by multiplying the length of your stride by the amount of steps taken. But that kind of maths always makes me feel faint even when somebody else is doing it. Besides, I dont like the thought of trying to measure my stride: Ive got a feeling I could end up splitting my jeans.

For months, a rather more basic pedometer has been gathering dust on the bathroom windowsill. I clipped it on and marched enthusiastically six times around the house before allowing myself a peep at my progress. But the pedometer had only registered three steps. Three? Suddenly I remembered why its been gathering dust - the wretched thing will only register a step if I lurch menacingly from side to side like a mummy in a horror film, or bound like a kangaroo.

Who needs pedometers? I flung open the door and strode forth, but halfway down the track I paused: sun cream? Even in winter you risk skin damage without it. I raced back indoors, basted myself, and set out again, my glasses slipping down my nose. Wait! I had forgotten water!

Wordsworth probably drank from pristine mountain becks, but Im not sure I could sip water in which fish regularly crap. There were no small bottles of water in the house, so I was forced to polish off a jar of marmalade, wash the jar, and fill it with water. Right! I stepped out into the fresh air, the leaves crisp under foot.

But what if I tripped and fell - onto my jam jar? Id need my mobile phone to alert the emergency services! I went back and searched for 40 minutes and, when I found it, it needed charging, so I sat down with a muffin and a cup of tea - its what Wordsworths sister Dorothy would have provided while he was waiting for his boots to warm up.

Finally I was ready: suncream, phone, jam jar, and a small bar of survival chocolate. I made a last bathroom visit, smiling fondly at my loo: I was going to miss it out there. If only somebody would invent a portable inflatable lavatory that doubles as a stylish sun-hat! Finally I strode as Wordworthily as possible to the door, and threw it open. Thank God! It had started to rain.


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