Morning, too tired to check watch:
"Wow, I made it through the night." I gasp in amazement, observing the mist-laden hills. A bird overhead screeched. Lucky bird. It has wings. I don't.
Breakfast was little cereal packets. I want toast. Why didn't Sophie or Emma bring a toaster?
Maybe I could ask Caroline to make me some. Caroline is another of my friends, she is lucky enough not to be on DOE. The field we're camping in is on her land. Though she has not been courteous enough to invite us into her comfy house. At least she smuggled some scissors past the DOE supervisor last night so that we could open our pasta packet…I am touched…
Hmm…the smell of sizzling bacon drifts on the wind and into my nose. If I can rely on my trusty scent receptors, then I believe my search for the source of the bacon smell will end at Suki, Laura and Anna's cooking pot.
Have traced bacon to Suki's tent. The bacon is indeed sizzling within the depths of their cooking pot. Yummy. I will now revert into 'begging' mode.
Begging mode successful. Bacon is very scrumptious.
More tins, this time baked beans, appear in Suki's hands. The DOE supervisor approaches again, and I watch her eyes settle on the tins. What wrath has Suki unleashed?!
Returned to own tent to watch the "Tins! Tins!" shouting barrage at a safe distance.
Getting ready to leave. Tent has been dismantled, though I did not help. I watched Emma and Sophie bring it down. I protested in my defence that I had a right since I would be carrying the heaviest part of the tent.
They put it down as more relentless whining. I am the group's whiner.
Experience tearful parting with Caroline. I fear that I will never see her, or anyone else aside from my team mates, again.
We pile into the minibus. I am squished up against a window, listening to some form of rap on the radio that is my sole companion on this sordid journey to the starting point of our second walk.
We arrive at the starting point. Our deputy headmistress is there to 'egg us on' (which means smiling at us while thinking, "God, these poor sods".)
She has a Labrador called Jaffa. The last time I met Jaffa he tried to eat my gloves.
The torture resumes. I lead the team, though it is wise Sophie and Emma that confer with each other on the topic of the map.
The countryside is full of fields.
Lots of them.
Some have sheep in them.
Some have cows in them.
And some have horses in them.
Horses are cute.
Made the team stop for a rest. I sat on a stile overlooking a golf course. Nearby golfers giving us funny looks.
Noooo! My final Lucozade energy tablet! Why?!
Made it to the first checkpoint. It turns out the first group took ALL the water, selfish buggers. I am in a state of dehydration. Collapsed onto ground, only to be told to that we had to get going as soon as possible. Was not amused.
Downhill! Perhaps the Lord has not deserted me after all!
Then again, he may have. We face another hill. It is steep.
Rested on the stile at top of field till told to shove off it. Was offended.
Made it to the next checkpoint. And lo behold, once again the first group had taken all the water. Hallucinations are not far off…and I wish for them to contain an ice cold Diet Coke.
The DOE supervisor has wine gums! Yum!
Got more wine gums. I will laugh if the next group coming after us doesn't get any, because I will have eaten them all… :P
Set off again. My rucksack is crippling me-I will sue whoever began DOE in the first place if my spinal vertebrae collapse, which I'm sure they will.
Pity I can't barter for one. I could ride all the way to the end point. Maybe I could trade my Fruit Winders and half the tent for one. The Fruit Winders would be worth a lot, you see, because they have sentimental value.
And are very tasty.
Peer into the distance to see the first group (stupid water stealing lemmings) coming back the way we are going.
"There's a dead end up there." One says, panting.
My faith and hope crumbles. I flop onto the grassy bank. Despair clouds over me.
Sophie and Emma are conferring over the map. I await their verdict, praying to God that we haven't just walked ½ a mile the wrong way.
Meanwhile, Laura and I are putting plasters on our blisters. Mine is threatening to burst at any inconvenient moment. The pus will get onto my socks.
It is confirmed: we have gone the wrong way. I don't know what secret reserves of faith and strength pulled me up and got me walking.
Now on the right track. We are traversing through a wood. There are lots of woods around here. They are starting to get monotonous.
Just as we got there, the minibus pulled up. For a brief, euphoric moment, I thought that we were being borne home in it. I was wrong. The retarded year 11's got really lost. They had to be rescued. Haha.
Although they did get a free lift. I should not be laughing, I should be complaining.
Jaffa the dog (yes, he is here) jumped up at me when I approached him. My arm is caked in mud. Oh joy.
My blister has burst. It is very painful. No one issues sympathetic noises when I tell them of my plight.
Then again, I have been christened 'Group Whiner'.
Have stopped for lunch (joy!). I sit on a log in an uncomfortable position. Sandwiches fail to console me.
It has started to rain. Crap.
It is still raining. Crap
Passer-bys giving us funny looks. Crap
Three dogs come running up to us and harassing us for our sandwiches. I lean backwards and hold my sandwiches in the air, stricken.
Dogs go away.
Dogs come back.
Wow, Suki, Laura and Anna's Pot Noodles are finally ready.
We're extra behind now. Everyone will be laughing at us when we get their. (No Chantal, must NOT think about that, it will lead me to indulge in false hope, when I know that I will collapse before reaching the end.)
We are lost. Crap.
I have been saying crap a lot. It has become my favourite word. Well, no other word sums up DOE better than crap does.
Actually, shit is a better word, but if I say that too much I'll look like a swearing-addicted maniac.
We asked interrogated innocent walkers as to where we might rediscover civilisation. Apparently, civilisation is up the hill we have just walked down. Crap.
Trees…trees…trees…I'm getting trees on the brain. Surely there is more to the countryside than trees?
CHECKPOINT! (Again, thank the Lord).
MORE WINE GUMS!
Oh my God…the DOE supervisor at the checkpoint just informed us that this was THE LAST checkpoint. Praise be thy Lord! Thoust hast not forgotten thy tortured one!
My feet are killing me. They feel like a clawed reptile is scrunching them up, even though they are clearly intact within the depths of my steaming walking boots and are clearly not in the clutches of a giant reptile. A giant reptile clinging to my feet would be quite obvious.
Sophie and I believe that our chemistry teacher is an evil lizard-like Devil (not to offend any lizards who may be reading this, I happen to find lizards sweet unless they relate to the evil chemistry teacher).
I am lagging behind the rest of the group. Despair is slowly dragging me down.
Aw, some adorable tiny dogs just came past! One is tinier than the others; it has to move its legs really fast to keep up! How sweet!
No…it can't be…I mean, this must be a hallucination conspired by the Devil…hang on…no…wait…OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD…THE END IS IN SIGHT!!!
As soon as I had hobbled into the car park (last, as usual), a Diet Coke was thrust into my hands. It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen in my life. The glass was cold, so very cold, with little trails of condensation on the sides. The sun shone through the coke, creating a wonderful reddish-brown display on my shaking hands. The ice within the glass jingles. It is a sweet sound.
Ohhhhhhhh…drinking this Diet Coke has to be better than sex (not that I would know or anything).
Wow. A car. I haven't been in one of these for a while
Being in a car is good. I don't have to use my legs. This must be a small sampler of heaven.
Got home. Dumped stuff. Jumped into bath, emptied a ton of muscle relaxation oil into it.
I am happy. Never before have I experienced such blissful euphoria.
Unfortunately, this whole weekend was just the DOE practice weekend. I still have to do the real thing. So basically, I will be doing what I have just done all over again.
Pointless, isn't it?
I wasted these days of my life on DOE. I hate DOE. When I rule the world, I shall ban DOE.
And I will make sure that my children know absolutely what they are getting into if they want to do it. Because, quite frankly, no one appears to have told the TRUTH about DOE.
LIE: "DOE is about fun and good memories."
TRUTH: "DOE is about pain, and it will scar you for life."