Yes, I now have a baby. Obviously this has had a slight impact on my walking, i.e. I can no longer do any.
The pram is unsuitable for any terrain more adventurous than a suburban pavement, the sling is not waterproof, my hiking rucksack doesn't have enough space in it for all the baby stuff....
Today I decided that these were all lousy excuses and I needed to re-start my walking. Due to all of the above, my first walk as a bona fide mother took place in Central London, just in case it started raining and I had to take refuge, non-waterproof sling and all, in the nearest Starbucks. As my rucksack had no space for the baby stuff, I had to take a tote bag, which must have looked slightly incongruous with my serious hiking attire (I was wearing walking boots), making people think I always dressed like that and was just a fashion no-hoper who wears hiking boots just for everyday life, rather than saving them solely (check out my hilarious pun! Did you see what I did there?) for my epic Himalaya-style treks.
Anyway, my little Piglet (not his real name, obvs.) seemed to enjoy his cosy position in the sling, from which he could see a good deal more than just my face, which he is condemned to look at for eternity when he is in the pram, and which is indeed the only thing he can see from there, except the occasional death stare from members of the Great British Public on crowded tube trains as they wish he would stop yelling and attempt to move to a different carriage. For my part, I also enjoyed my view of him, which was only partly like this.
Why the phone could only manage to fit one of his eyes into the photo as I gazed down at his lovely visage with radiant maternal love God only knows, but for the record, he is not a cyclops, contrary to what I had feared just before my 20 week scan, when someone at work breezed into my Year 10 Classics lesson on Book 9 of the Odyssey and exclaimed "ooh, it's the scene with the cyclops. A friend of a friend of mine used to be a midwife, and did you know, she once delivered a cyclops baby!"
Anyway, you get my drift, Piglet liked his "slingy time" (since having Piglet, I have felt the need to refer to everything he does as "*insert activity here and attach a Y to the word that describes it* time"- to be said in a voice that makes it sound much more interesting than it actually is-such as, for example "foody time!" "sleepy time!" "pooey time!" "X Factory time!") The only point when Piglet did not enjoy his slingy time was when he decided to let out an enormous scream on the Jubilee line on the way home, for reasons I can only assume involved his first experience of having his ears pop in a tunnel.
One interesting observation I was able to make on today's walk, which was supposed to be the Jubilee Walkway, except that I couldn't find any of the signs for it and didn't want to spend hours walking round Leicester Square staring at the ground looking for them (the signs are on the pavement. Very useful when you have an 11 week old baby attached to your front and don't particularly want to crash into any of the passing hordes), was that when you have a baby, all of a sudden everyone wants to talk to you. Or at least they want to talk to the baby. Because he is such a great conversationalist. When I sat down briefly in St James's Park, people were quite literally queueing up to sit next to us. One old man sat down, examined Piglet thoughtfully, and came out with "What's your earliest memory?" which was presumably aimed at me, rather than Piglet, whom I was unsuccessfully trying to get to show some interest in a passing pigeon. When the old man told me that his involved a bike he had received as a present from his parents, I had to silently chastise myself for imagining a penny farthing. Now that I'm a parent, Piglet doubtless already thinks I used to live in a cave and keep a dinosaur as a pet, as though I was Pebbles Flintstone in my own babyhood.
Piglet will almost certainly never watch The Flintstones. It isn't even on CBeebies. These young 'uns don't know what they're missing.
Anyway, the day out was so successful, with no rain and-surprisingly-no backache for Mummy from wearing the sling for hours (I must have finally learned the trick of positioning it correctly) that I will doubtless do it again, only I may be a bit more adventurous next time and head out into some actual countryside.....