Exactly as forecast, the sky gradually clears as the sun sinks toward the horizon, revealing patches of fading blue. Between fields and along a bank runs a footpath, beside which crouches Fyse, camera in hand. A few hundred yards away stands a copse of skeletal trees. The setting sun lends the sky a delicate hue, dappled cloud gives an ethereal texture, and shadow highlights deep furrows scoring the surrounding fields; a subtle scene that Fyse singularly fails to capture.
Replacing his camera in his pocket, he breaks into a jog to rejoin his friends. They are stopped, clustered round the map and contemplating a fork in the path.
“I just can’t see this other track.”
“No. Perhaps we took a wrong turn before?”
Heads bow over crumpled map, fingers gesture vainly, and shadow highlights deep furrows scoring perplexed foreheads; a scene that Fyse once more records without great success. Receiving two very dirty looks he puts his camera away again.
He shoves his hands deep in his pockets and surveys the land with a sigh of contentment. Revision stress seems miles away, and there is something profoundly satisfying about walking for its own sake. In four years his forays to the lands surrounding Cambridge could be counted on one hand, but a friend’s car has brought three of them out for this vigorous early-evening constitutional. The perfect antidote to dim and dusty libraries, a reward for a hard day’s work and ideal preparation for more study before bed. At least, that’s the rationale.
Emerging eventually from his reverie, Fyse realises they still haven’t moved anywhere. It appears that the map and reality have differing opinions and confusion reigns. Ever the helpful fellow, Fyse lends a hand.
“Well, that must be the path we’re on just there.”
“That’s a contour line.”
“Look, why don’t you take some more photos? There’s a very interesting old plough over there.”
“Ooh, so there is!” Fyse toddles off down the bank.