On the other hand, do go for walks in the country after it's just rained, while it's raining, in just-spring or in the summer. Wear your wellingtons, or if you only have one pair of shoes, go barefoot. Do not wear your only pair of shoes. Tromp through the inches of mud, cake it up, see what big rafts of mud you can make on your feet, then run for a puddle to dissolve them and start again. Bring a friend and see who can make the biggest muddy splash (you'd better have dry clothes at home to change into). Slog to the top of the field, and survey the grey countryside. Best if foggy. Pretend you're on a planet with high gravity, lifting each mammoth foot with great effort.

If it has just begun raining, and there is a dirt road nearby, and the road is not rocky but smooth (or clayey), and it is summer and the dirt was packed, sometimes you can slide in the slick new film of mud: just run and slide, like on the surface of a pond in winter.

And when you're filthy, just an utter disgrace, and your friend is too, you can play Who's the neatest? and fall dramatically into the mud. Then stumble home, hose off, wash the mud out of your hair, and drink tea.

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