Before I left the house, I put up the hood of the leftover raincoat. It is such a deep hood that it felt almost like being inside my own portable tent, complete with the ever present sound track to any camping I have misguidedly done - the steady pattering of rain.
No-one else was about except a solitary lycra-clad cyclist turning the corner ahead of me in a spray of mist and water - either a two-wheeling zealot or a frog, I'm guessing.
And, speaking of frogs, reports of their imminent annihilation from environmental catastrophe seem to be exaggerated, judging by the racket coming from the creek I crossed on my stroll. While the noise the local frogs were making lacked the syrupy melodiousness of Macartney's frog composition:
But onwards and upwards I went, tramping along the muddy path toward the summit. And, just as I reached the point in the walk that I think of as Bahrain - that is, the exact midway mark on the journey, (in the case of Bahrain, the journey is the one from Australia to Europe) - the point where you realise that, however much you might regret having set out, going backwards or onwards will be equally long and tedious a trip - the deluge really got going again. Simultaneously, I discovered that my shoes were totally unwaterproof, which meant that the during the remainder of the walk I was never without the impression that I had two cold, wet sponges strapped onto my feet.
But never mind. There were other creatures apparently feeling even worse than me. In the trees ahead, I spotted a bunch of galahs, crouching on a branch and shivering. A couple of them began squawking miserably to each other as I drew nearer. The noise of their conversation was muffled by my hood and I'm not fluent in galah at the best of times. However, I had the impression that one of them was expressing regret at having done quite so much radical moulting while the other was muttering about building a nest with a corrugated iron roof.
Most of the other birds normally present in the bush appeared to have scarpered - into hollow trees or ingenious bower bird nests presumably - except for a couple of crimson rosellas sheltering in the bushes outside my house when I arrived back at the end of my swim - I mean walk. Until I saw them I'd imagined that only London pigeons could mimic that hands in pockets, shoulders hunched posture that Andy Capp perfected:
So was it worth it? Yes, it was - mainly for that wonderful moment when I opened the front door and stepped back into the dry, sheltered world of my house. Now, in the warmth again, I can begin to gild the experience with nostalgia. Soon I'll even believe I enjoyed it.