I currently work for the NHS, which for those of you who know me as a nicotine-caffeine-alcohol addict might be a bit of a surprise. Even more, I work within an area of that organisation which is specifically for the promotion of 'Healthy Living'. We're the ones who tell you to eat that 5 fruit a day, get that 30 minutes of exercise a day, watch your alcohol units, decrease salt intake, take the stairs instead of the lift, etc etc.

Yeah, the dozen or so of us cadging fags out the back of the building do look at each other guiltily now and then.

Several of us have taken up a challenge starting next week to increase the time we spend walking every day, on a 12 week chase to build us up to 10,000 steps a day (which is apparently what is healthiest for non-athletes). And I've been made 'Captain' of a team to keep them motivated and set goals and all that whatnot.

I love to walk. By walk I mean, ambling along paths, down streets to lanes to mews and out again to across this park and popping through an alley and downstairs through a parking garage. Exploring and looking and finding all the shortcuts. I used to do a lot of nightwalks, especially in the countryside, enjoying the transformation of darkness to my surroundings, and the wide sky's starlight.

Unless the weather is really shitty, I walk to and from work. On the weekends I walk to the various shops for shopping and sometimes to the museums and galleries, taking a loop around the city visiting each one in turn. This work challenge will pretty much push me to do even more exploring and enjoying the city, going further afield, and finding myself whereever I end up.

On Wednesday evening I left work just after sundown, and although there was a drizzle decided to walk home. There's about a dozen different strands for me to take to get home, some adding a few more minutes, but just different, others in a direction of a shop I can get cat food at on the way, another where I can pick up cat litter near my home. For some dumb reason I decided to go down a road I hadn't taken for a while, that added little of aesthetic value, and saved no time. A number of cars take this road to drive along a 'rat run' off the main road, avoiding a couple of long lights. There's a zebra crossing set up at a crossroad to make sure people slow down for pedestrians, but is not visible clearly for those turning into the road at speed.

Right in front of that zebra crossing is where the car hit me.

I'd put my hood up on my coat-- not having an umbrella since it had blown to pieces in the wind a few days ago-- and I'm not positive if I clearly checked to see the car approaching. I mean, I know I check at every crossing but I don't remember 'clocking' it. What I do remember is being halfway across the road and seeing a car swerving in and if I or they didn't do something I'd be squashed. I tried to leap back--or maybe I just froze--; they tried to swerve-- or maybe they kept going. I was hit on the right side of my chest, my left hand whacking their side view mirror, and fell away, twisting with my hands out, palms gouging on asphalt and my left cheek faceplanting the road.

Through all of this I was saying 'No, goddamit!' like that was going to stop anything.

The driver stopped, others showed up. I felt, well, not 'ok' but not fucked up. I'd done that patting down to see if anything was broken thing. Parts of me that were numb were starting to sting. The driver offered to give me a lift home if I didn't need an ambulance, and I accepted. Their sideview mirror was broken off, and windshield cracked, although the driver insisted the latter wasn't me. When they dropped me off, I didn't think to ask if they were ok.

At home, I buzzed myself in, stumbling to confront my wife with my bleeding palms outstretched. She more properly checked if I was seriously hurt, cleaned out wounds and bandaged me up as I settled down from shock to sorrow for myself.

Still sore, still feeling sorry for myself. Since my leg wasn't broken, or ankle sprained, or kneecap shattered, I'm also still walking, and counting those lucky stars.