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  1. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the way you feel. The only important thing is that you are true to yourself. Whether or not your feelings remain constant on this for your whole life is something that only time will tell. But it does not matter whether they do or they don't, as long as you continue to be honest with yourself and do what makes you happy. I think it is very understandable that your friends repeatedly bring up this topic. Your desires in this matter are likely to be completely foreign to them and thus a considerable challenge to their own concepts. I'm afraid that is something you will just have to accept. All you can do is assure them that you are making these choices because that is what makes you happy. If they are really your friends they will want you to do what makes you happy and eventually be able to accept that your truth is different from their own. The hardest part of this will obviously be to find a partner who fits in with your feelings on this matter. All you can do is be honest and open about yourself to the men you meet. Practically all men are very keen on sex and I think it is unavoidable that many potential relationships will fail and that there is likely to be some heartbreak because of it. It is always difficult for people who have minority desires and yours are definitely those of a very small minority. However, just because your road might be hard, does not make it wrong for you, only difficult. Try not to get into a constricted way of thought, be constantly reflective and open to all the possibilities your truth has to offer you.
  2. There is no one just like me, lol. Actually, I can't claim to be unique reagarding this matter, but flatsy-lovers are indeed a small minority. But then who wants to be part of the herd anyway? My guess would be that there is absolutely no connection between, or pattern to sexual desire and personality types. That's good, a vital ingredient of attractiveness is having self confidence.
  3. Like previous posters have said, what men desire differs greatly from man to man. For some, the bigger the breasts the better, then there are those for whom it is all about proportion and shape, while for others the smaller or flatter the breasts are the more attractive they find them. So really it doesn't matter what size they are, as long as you are happy, because there are always some men who will be sexually attracted to them whether they are huge, or medium, or right the way down to completely flat-chested. Of course having a pretty face and being generally attractive will increase a woman's desirability on a purely physical level. Once a man gets to know a woman, then her personality will either increase or decrease the physical desires he might have for her. Though in my experience this has a far more pronounced effect when working negatively, rather than positively. That is, if I am at first physically attracted to a woman, but on getting to know her I find she has a personality I just can't click with, then that can be a total turn off and kill it. Where as if I really don't fancy someone at all in the first place, then however well we eventually get on, the relationship will only ever remain that of friends and will not develop sexually. I don't think age has anything to do with it. My physical desires have remained constant throughout my adult life. I have always been turned on by flat-chestedness, (for me the flatter the better), and guys I know who love medium or huge breasts don't change their views either. Whatever desires a man has are his for life and I don't think he is suddenly going to radically change his sexuality.
  4. Look, love is fun. Sex is fun. A man is not just a blue eyed Prince because the blue eyed Pince is the woman's own archetype, not the man. When you have a relationship with someone, they are everything, partly a blue eyed prince, but all the rest as well. Try to see the actual human being not just you own ideal. If your partner is no good, trade him in for a better model!!! But basically, a relationship is about discovering the truth of the other person and learning to care for that actual truth, not just your own "in love" persona. Really love is great, you can hang out together, enjoy doing stuff, or just chill. Exploring your partner physically, mentally and emotionally is fab. Enjoy it. It's good. Honest!!!
  5. image removed Take sail amongst their tender lips Where rows of daggers gleam, Cruel guardians of those deep dark wells From which these sweet lips scream. The howling of the Shadow-Man Assailed by weaponry, Alone, unknown, with no defence And lost far out to sea. The Goddess now divided Into separate, different worlds, The golden sphere; the crimson globe Eternal enemies. And all the stars of numerous shades Sink deep beneath the waves, This vessel's light, my only sight Still holds me from the grave.
  6. **********************SKINNY MINNIE (Part 10)***************** "No, no," I laugh, "not really." I'm standing, watching my gorgeous visitor turn three-hundred and sixty degrees in my hall, her eyes wide with disbelief at what for her is the splendour of my home, but for myself is merely the everyday. "Do you live here alone?" She inquires with a hint of mirth in her voice which suggests that although she asked the question, the idea is patently ridiculous. "Well, yes I do," I confess, laughing with her at this seemingly unbelievable situation. "But don't you get lost?!" She demands, perhaps seriously, perhaps in jest. "Ah, well, you're right there, especially along the upper floor corridors." The house does require a bit of getting used to. There are a great number of rooms set over four floors, with four staircases, three major halls and several passageways , both formal and secret! My favourite runs underground out to the stables and was originally built as an escape route during the Civil War." "No," she informs me, her face completely deadpan. "I didn't mean in the house, I was just talking about here in this hall!" I laugh out loud again. "No," I assure her, "I never get lost in my entrance hall!" Skinny Minnie shakes her head as if what she hears can't be true. "Would you like some tea?" I ask her. "The drawing-room's just along there." "You mean the sitting-room," she smiles cheekily. "Yes," I blush, not because I've used a term that is probably a little old-fashioned, but because I'm suddenly overwhelmed by the attractiveness of her slightly mischievous attitude. I guide my guest accross to where the east-hall opens off to the right and from which my drawing room is the first on the south-side. "You know I want to see every single room," she tells me, "and the stables and the gardens and... and anything else there is to see! You promised to give me a grand-tour." "Good grief!" I reply in mock-horror. "You're not thinking of putting in an offer for the old heap, are you?" Skinny Minnie stares at me for a moment and then her face breaks into a smile. "Oh, no," she responds, "It's far too much for me, I'd have to share!!!" ******* It has taken almost three hours to show off the estate to my beautiful supermodel-bodied and filmstar-faced companion. We are returning now toward the house through the formal flower-gardens and the still warm, but no longer fiercely hot evening sunshine is full of buzzing bees, flitting butterflies and the scent of the roses which we are passing. She pauses beside one flower-festooned shrub, placing her right hand gently upon my left arm. It is the first time that we have touched. The thrill is incredible. Skinny Minnie has been very enthusiastic about everything she has seen, friendly and actually somewhat flirtatious. I, of course, have been the perfect gentleman, which is to say that I have been far too reserved. Why is that so? Why can't I touch her in the same friendly way that she now touches me? Even as she bends forward to bring her face to the welcoming pink blossom, I feel constricted, almost to the point of bursting with all the passion built up inside of me. I am head-over- heels in love with this woman and it is quite obvious that she, at the very least, fancies me also. But to every little advance she has made through this perfect afternoon, I have responded too cooly. Naturally, I am polite, I am friendly, but why, oh why can't I show her how I truly feel? If this goes on, she will think, and quite understandably, that my invitation was just good-neighbourliness and nothing else. Will this day pass by and I have blown this fabulous chance that fate has given me? I remember standing by the river and watching Skinny Minnie fade away into the golden-green light of the wooded-bank. No, no, no! I will not let that happen again! With a trembling hand, I reach out and very gently, very lightly, as if she were something most fragile, lay my palm softly upon Skinny Minnie's white-shirted back. My breath is held, my body tensed. I am ready to withdraw, to recoil, to appologise, to say goodbye, to let her go. How I stop myself from closing my eyes in fear, I just don't know. And in that state of absolute panic, I watch my desire's blonde head turn toward me from the depth of the scented rose and... and smile that most brilliantly heart-melting smile. I think my breathing returns with a gasp. "Come, smell this flower," she implores me. "It's fabulous!" I lean forward to bury my nose into a blossom adjacent to hers, necessarily removing my hand from the small of her back to do so. But as I draw in a great lungful of the indeed beautifully smelling rose and while blinded to all else by the flower before me , I feel that hand taken hold of by another, smaller and more delicate than my own. My heart is thumping in my chest like a tremendous booming base-drum! I can't believe it!! I'm sure I'm going to faint!!! SKINNY MINNIE IS HOLDING MY HAND!!!!! **********************************************************
  7. **********************SKINNY MINNIE (Part 9)****************** I open my eyes and stare at the red digits of my bedside clock. It is five a.m. I close my eyes and try to go back to sleep. I open my eyes for the second time to find it is now five-twenty a.m. "Bloody hell," I moan and pull the thick, soft duvet up from below my waist until it comes right over my head. Immediately I am way too hot. I kick the duvet off and onto the floor, turn over and try to settle. When I awake for the third time, I am relieved to find it is half- past-eight. After I've slowly shaved, showered and breakfasted, it is a much more respectable ten-thirty and I'm ready to begin my day. There is absolutely no way that I'm going to be able to concentrate on my artwork with the impending visit by Skinny Minnie due this afternoon. Instead, I make for the music room where I sit myself down at one of the two pianos that are set side by side, but facing in opposite directions, and which form the central feature of the room. For long periods I am able to looses myself in sound. To be honest, I don't play particularly well. In fact a friend once said that if I lived at Hogwarts then all the figures in the pictures in here would have their hands placed firmly over their ears! But nevertheless, I am totally absorbed by my amateurish attempts and the racket that it produces. I only stop when I am surprised by the clanging of the brass bell that tells me someone is at the front door. My first thought is that it's the postman with a parcel that needs signing for. Probably some books I've recently purchased over the internet. It is not uncommon for him to deliver out here anytime up to midday and when I look at my watch I am expecting it to be around eleven-thirty or so. "Oh my!" It's ten-to-three in the afternoon! I've been playing the piano for more than four hours! As I rush for the main stairs that descend in a wide, graceful sweep down to the entrance hall, there is a small part of me that feels somewhat annoyed that I haven't yet had my lunch. However, there is also another much bigger, extremely excited part of me that is screaming inside my head: It's Skinny Minnie! It's SKINNY MINNIE! I leap down the final five steps and run for the lobby. By the time I reach the doors, I'm moving so fast I have to do a skid-stop to prevent myself colliding into them. Breathless, I unbolt both sides and grabbing the handles, pull them open in dramatic fashion. Skinny Minnie stands a little way back and to my right beside one of the stone porticoes. The house faces south and so she is sunlit from behind. Dressed all in white - a collarless, pearl-buttoned, long- sleeved shirt, skinny-jeans and trainers - it appears as though she is completely surrounded by a golden aura. She smiles at me with her wonderful soft, wide mouth and those dark, slanting eyes gitter like black diamonds set within a blinding white fire. Light is bouncing off, though and about her mass of shaggy, blonde hair and gives the exact impression of a perfect, brilliant halo. How could she appear any other way? For she does indeed have the face, (not to mention the body), of an angel. "Hi," she says while I'm still staring dumbstuck at my heavenly visitor. "Hello Ski- er, Emily," I just about manage, eyes still wide with disbelief at just how incredibly stunning a woman is stood before me. She takes a step forward and my inertia is broken. "Come in," I tell her, letting go of both handles and moving aside to let her enter. I watch my guest as she passes through the lobby. At the moment she is side-on to me, it is once again confirmed that Skinny Minnie is perfectly, totally and very, very beautifully flat- chested. My heart is racing. She continues on into the marble- floored, high-ceilinged entrance hall and my eyes linger happily for a second or two upon her tightly-clothed, cute little behind. I turn to close the front doors and even as they bang shut and the bright sunlight is cut off, I hear her exclamation at what she finds. "Wow!" She cries out, "You live in a palace!" **********************************************************
  8. If torture's iron fist Has forged the cast Which wrought this raving mind, And if those flames Have burnt a truthful path What heart have I That shadows now When finally I'm crowned?
  9. ********************SKINNY MINNIE (Part Eight)****************** It's Wednesday and I'm a nervous wreck. I can't concentrate on anything. I sit in my library and try to read, but end up just leafing through the fashion magazines of which I have an ample supply. In Vogue I see a picture of a Chineese-style, high-collared evening-dress that is a slinky-sparkly black and embroidered with a sinuous, glittering red dragon that coils around the model's tall, slender body. She looks fantastic and reminds me of Skinny Minnie, but in my mind is not quite as beautiful, nor as flat-chested. The fool in me is very tempted to buy the dress and have it delivered ready for tomorrow. But that would be ridiculous, I've been in relationships before and I know that you really can't buy love. I move from the library to the music room, but Mrs Cooper who comes to help out on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays is cleaning in there. I feel enclosed. There is nothing I want to do inside and decide to go into the garden and plant something. Not that the middle of the summer and in the middle of a heatwave is the ideal time for planting-out, but I need to do something physical or I'll go crazy. I take one of the back-stirways, the one which leads to the ballroom. As is my custom, I climb up onto the stage and cry out, "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your elbows!" The particular body-part changes with each of my infantile performances. Then I leap off from the front and stride purposefully down the length of the great, empty room toward the three sets of French- windows which line its far end. Outside, I head for the nursery and hope that Tom the gardener is not there. Please don't misunderstand me, Tom is an absolutely wonderful fellow, but without any shadow of a doubt he would be very annoyed that I am going to plant out one, (and maybe two, or three), of HIS plants that he has grown from HIS cuttings or seeds at completely the wrong time of year. My friends would laugh at me for being worried by what the gardener thought. Isn't it my home and my garden? Of course, but Tom's been here for decades. He was my mother's gardener and his father worked for my grandfather before that. So there is almost seventy years of family history here. When he's put out by the, (foolish), things I do, he still addresses me as "young Master Daniel" as though I were still a child. And of course that is exactly how I feel whenever I'm with him. Fortunately, he is elsewhere on the estate and, hurridly taking a nearby barrow, I load it with a holm oak, two shrubs a bucket of compost, trowel, spade and a watering-can which I fill from one of the large, circular collection tanks. Then, feeling as guilty as a thief, I set off quickly to loose myself somewhere well away from the formal gardens which surround the house. I spend a very long, hot and happy afternoon planting my little selection and wandering about, occasionally tending to things that require attention. I don't encounter Tom at all, for which I am, (guiltily), thankful. I have found that by staying well away from HIS flowers, I can remain in the garden for days and yet quite easily avoid him! At about six-thirty I return to the house to start preparing dinner. When I was a child we had a live-in housekeeper who was a wonderful cook. But she passed away only a month after my mother and I never replaced her. Although in many ways it would be sensible to do so, I have become very territorial about the house. If Tom rules the place outside, at least I am still Lord within! Having Mrs Cooper come and clean three days a week is as much as I tolerate nowadays. So far I've kept myself busy all day, but I know that if I stop then toughts and worries about Skinny Minnie's visit will start to overwhelm me. So, after I've eaten, I settle down and start watching films selected from my dvd collection. By the end of the third, it's one-thirty in the morning and I can hardly keep my eyes open. It is all I can do now to get myself into bed, knowing that when I awake, the great day will have finally dawned. **********************************************************
  10. ********************SKINNY MINNIE (Part 7)******************** This revelation that my heart's desire is actually a local, if only of a week's standing, changes everything. Certainly it would not be improper to ask her over, for it wouldn't be right to be unfriendly to a newcomer. My mind is racing: Ask her! ASK HER! It screams at me, my blood thumping through my head in a percussive accompaniment to my thoughts. "Oh well," I say, trying to sound as casual as I can, for this is it, the pivotal moment, the line I am casting out to her in hope of a bite. "If you have a moment free, do come over. I'll give you the grand tour around the estate, though in truth it's not much really..." Skinny Minnie sits up above me in judgement upon her fine black horse. Luckily she can not see my hands, for suddenly now they are trembling nervously upon the steering-wheel. I grip it harder, but this only transfers the shaking up to my arms. Has there been a whole second's silence? I feel doomed. She is thinking. She is frowning. Surely she's trying to find the right words for a polite rejection. Have all my fantasies of the last few days been based upon my own desires, completely unaware that the person they are about feels absolutely nothing of a similar nature? Of course, I am a fool. After all, we only met for one minute. Not really even a meeting, just two people passing by on opposite banks of the river. And she is so beautiful, who am I kidding? Only myself as usual... When I hear her words, I realise that I am staring at the toe of her riding boot which is at my eye-level. "I'm pretty sure I've got a day off on Thursday... I could come over in the afternoon if that's ok?" Did she really just say that?! I look up... Oh my, she's smiling at me with that heart-melting smile. Skinny Minnie's coming over to my place on Thursday! Skinny Minnie!! Skinny Minnie I love you!!! That is what I really want to say, but somehow I respond in a more appropriate manner. "Yes, that would be great!" And I know I probably sound way too eager, but I'm so excited I don't even care. My heart has un- melted and is pounding rapidly in my chest. I can't think of anything else to say. The horse is becoming impatient, getting frisky again. It tries to move forward, but is held in check by the reins. Instead, it side-steps away from my car and lets out a loud indignant snort. Its beautiful rider is having to work hard now to keep it under control. "See you then," she smiles at me, somewhat distracted by her disobedient beast. She urges it to walk on. "Oh," I cry, "You don't know my name." "Yes I do," she tells me back over her shoulder as the great, black stallion carries her further away. "You're Daniel, the artist." She seems to be able to speak and smile and laugh all at the same time and once again my eyes focus upon those two beautiful, full, soft lips. Her ride breaks into a trot, the clicking of its hooves loud upon the tarmac. Skinny Minnie knows my name, she knows what I do and she knows where I live! I feel honoured, but somewhat bemused by it all. I am just about to turn away when her voice calls out: "I'm Emily!" Skinny Minnie is called Emily. Emily's real name is Skinny Minnie. These are the two sentences, the two thoughts that fill my head. Of course the first is true and the second I have made up because it is my truth, it is true in my world. Whatever happens on Thursday, whether it is the last time we ever meet, or whether all my dreams come true and we spend the rest of our lives together in love, Emily will always be Skinny Minnie to me. **********************************************************
  11. ************************SKINNY MINNIE (Part 6)**************** Acting quickly and determined not to miss this incredible second chance that somehow has arisen, my finger finds the button to lower the driver's side-window. Nothing happens! I press harder, but of course there is still no response. When I turned off the engine I must have rotated the key fully left and now all the electrics are off as well. Meanwhile, Skinny Minnie's ride has drawn level with the front of the car and will have passed me by in just one second. Desperately I fumble for the ignition without taking my eyes away from my prize, remembering all too well what happened last time I broke eye-contact. The key is between my fingers. Gently I turn it one click right, careful to avoid the disaster that would befall if the great rumbling engine fired with the horse right along side it. I don't know why, but in my panic I'm expecting the window to lower directly as a result of my turning of the key. Of course it doesn't. Skinny Minnie is right above me now where I sit low down in my machine and I hear her voice call out: "Thank you." (For turning off the car's engine). My finger finally returns to the button for the window and this time it descends even as the glistening black crature has taken one stride beyond the point where I can comfortably address its rider. "Hello again!" I shout at the back of Skinny Minnie's head. Inwardly I cringe. To myself, my voice sounds breathless and way too loud, after all, she's only gone a yard by me. Thankfully two things happen, or rather, one thing doesn't happen and one thing does, both of them good. Firstly, my raised voice has not scared the horse, which it easily could have, and secondly, Skinny Minnie halts her ride, looks back over her shoulder and smiles at me. My eyes fix upon those full, red, wide-smiling lips and I feel myself totally melt inside. Oh my, I really am in love. And then a third thing happens which is more than I could have hoped for and is even better than the first two. Skinny Minnie is reining back her great, black horse. Gracefully it high-steps backward until its rider is once again above my now fully-opened driver's side-window. I gaze up at her somewhat puppy-eyed. "We met... three days ago down by the river," I explain, pretending that it was something she might not remember. And perhaps she doesn't, after all, hadn't she hurried away without hardly a word? "Yes," she smiles. She does remember and, oh, she's blushing again! Almost I divert my gaze as before, but no, not this time. Instead, with just the briefest snatch of a glance at her beautiful flat- chested figure, I force myself to maintain eye-contact. Skinny Minnie is wearing a black, quilted, sleeveless wind-breaker over a black tee-shirt, which does nothing to reveal her perfect form, but instead actually conceals it. However, I recall very well her oh-so- sexy breastless-chest and just the thought of it has me blushing too! And now my eyes do fall, not to save her embarrassment, but my own. Her lower half is clothed in skin-tight white riding trousers and black riding boots, but my gaze does not linger there for she is speaking... speaking to me! "You live at the big house down by the river, don't you?" Wow! Skinny Minnie knows where I live! "Er... yes," is all I can manage in return, now held by those narrowly slanted, dark eyes that peer out from below the brim of her black velvet riding hat. "I'm at the stables," she continues. "Oh, Fern Farm?" "Yes," she confirms. Fern Farm takes in visitors for riding holidays on the Moor each summer, but usually they go out treking in groups and always accompanied by someone. I reason that Skinny Minnie must be an excellent horsewoman to be out on her own and on such an obviosly expensive and energetic mount. "Are you enjoying your holiday," I enquire, secretly meaning how long are you down here for and where will you be returning to? And also hoping beyond hope that it's not too far away. "Holiday?" The rider laughs. "I wish I was!" "Oh?" My God, is it really that bad down here? But no, that was not what she meant. "I'm not on holiday, I've just started as a stable-girl. It's all work, loads of it!" I'm sure my jaw actually drops. This is the best news ever! Skinny Minnie is living down here! Skinny Minnie is living just half a mile away! Skinny Minnie and myself are neighbours! **********************************************************
  12. Thanks Ailec, perhaps I am. I'm so pleased you're enjoying it. And so the story continues... ***********************SKINNY MINNIE (Part 5)***************** Up ahead I can hear childrens' voices, laughing, shouting, the sound of playing - splashing in the river. Then I glimpse one of them, a small boy perhaps seven or eight years old, running along the water's edge. And as my eyes follow the path he is taking, I spot two adults - the parents - half hidden by the greenery, seated there in the same patch of sunlight where I had waited earlier. Between them is a rug of dark maroon with a collection of plastic bowls at its centre and maybe four or more, (I can not see clearly), paper plates around its edge. The mother is dishing out food from the containers and the father shouts out that the picnic is ready. Another two children suddenly appear as if from nowhere, but obviously from the stream as they are both wet through. Again boys, but elder than the other by several years. I immediately get the picture that this couple had two children and were happy, but then after half a decade, probably the mother wanted another, was really hoping for a little girl this time, but... I am somewhat annoyed by their presense. This no longer feels like a place where Skinny Minnie would venture. I am absolutely sure she would not like somewhere so busy, I mean, that's two lots of visitors in two days! From my unnoticed vantage point twenty yards upstream, I stare at them accussingly in much the same fashion as I did to the midges and with much the same result. Then I turn away and, taking a large detour around the unwanted company, I wander slowly back to the crossing and on home, still vainly hoping that I might encounter my very beautiful and perfectly flat-chested heart's desire. The next couple of days are spent in an art frenzy! Once I get in the mood and start working on a picture, nothing else matters. Meals are missed, chores are left undone, I don't even take the time to go to bed, falling asleep right there where I'm working, only to wake after a few hours and carry right on with it. Of course I am still thinking of Skinny Minnie, I am making this picture of her, but this is replacement therapy. In my mind I now realise that we won't meet again, I've come to terms and accepted it. At least that is what I tell myself... only it isn't quite true. My conscious, intellectual self understands, but inside, right at the core of me where there is only animal need, where there is only animal desire, I have only one vision... and that is of her. By the third day the art frenzy is over, I'm exhausted and I need a rest before I carry on with the picture. Besides, it's my shopping day, the day I drive into town and buy what I need - food and household goods - and then buy what I want - usually books and dvds. I shave and take a bath and dress in smart clothes. I scrub-up quite well and am considered to be handsome by those who've ever offered an opinion. The lane from my house is very narrow and winding and only wide enough for one vehicle at a time. It is bordered either side by high, stone hedges of grey granite that have passing bays set into them every few hundred yards. Having driven only a quarter of a mile and still along side my garden which lies behind the hedge on the left, I encounter my first on-coming traffic. It is a large, black horse, whose rider seems to be having some problem keeping the skittish animal under control. At once I pull into the bay that is luckily just ahead of me and turn off the car's engine. This seems to help, for the very fine-looking and gleaming black mount quietens down and its rider is able to spur it forward toward my now dormant red monster. As they approach, I look up from the beautiful stallion for the first time in order to nod my greeting at its rider, but can hardly believe my eyes. The rider is even more beautiful than the horse! The rider is SKINNY MINNIE!!! **********************************************************
  13. ********************SKINNY MINNIE (Part 4)******************** The following day I go for a walk. I wait until after lunch which is hard, but hey, we met yesterday in the afternoon so there is absolutely no point in going at anyother time. Of course I set off directly for the stream. Why? Because it is so beautiful there? Who am I kidding, not even myself. My pace is brisk to rapid and I'm hardly looking at those oh-so-beautiful surroundings as I charge toward the scene of our accidental rendezvous... Did I really and truthfully expect her to be there? Remarkable as an indication of the depths of my stupidity, eighty-five percent of me did. Oh well, I'm all of one hundred percent disappointed. Never mind, I tell myself as I check my watch, I'm almost an hour early! I wander downstream perhaps a hundred yards to where two large boulders jut in from either bank to form a narrow gap of no more than five-and-a-half feet. In the winter the water is a raging torrent through this tiny gorge and one has to summon up quite some nerve to jump from one wet and slippery rock to the other despite the relatively short distance between them. However, now, during the height of this long, dry summer, there is barely an eighteen inch swell at the crossing point. So now I'm on Skinny Minnie's side of the river, heading back upstream to where she first appeared. Right at the point where she stopped and we exchanged that briefest of greetings, I sit down in the sunlight, feet dangling down toward the sparkling water's surface and begin my wait. At first I am distracted by the small black fish that dart with surprising speed from one patch of water- weed to another. Heron and kingfisher are regular predators around here, but one has to wonder how they ever catch anything when their prey can swim so incredibly fast. Damsel flies with electric-blue bodies and dark-blue, dark-red, or black wings dance gracefully before me in joined mating pairs, dipping down repeatedly toward the sluggishly flowing stream to lay their eggs. A swarm of midges seem to bounce up and down on the water as if attached to elastic strings. Thankfully, they keep to the well-shaded areas beneath a large beech tree and don't trouble me out here, slowly cooking under the relentless summer sun. Fifteen minutes of that heat is all I can bear and then I have to take refuge along with the midges in the cool green shade of the trees. Grubs up! They must all cheer to one another because I am at once feasted upon by numerous scores of these tiny blood-sucking flies. When they approach withing a few inches of my head, I can hear the extremely high-pitched whining they make which induces in me a panic disproportionate to their annoyance. Repeatedly I slap my own face where I can sense the tickling caused by their feeding. Each time my palm comes away with five, six, or seven small dark smudges. But no matter how many pay the ultimate price for their dinner, there are always more of them to take their place. This is intolerable, far worse than the roasting I was getting before. Defeated, I scramble up and make a dash for it, both arms whirling about in order to fend off the chasing squadron of my assailants. And as soon as I return to the light, my enemies disengage. I look back menacingly at the unconcerned swarm that is now once again immitating a crowd of miniature bungee jumpers over the shaded section of the river. I look at my watch. Still thirty-five minutes to go before this imagined second meeting with Skinny Minnie. I set off again upstream in the direction from which she approached the day before. Gradually the woodland trees give way to scrub- willow, may and blackthorn and then finally gorse. After I've covered about a couple miles I'm out onto the open moor looking accross an uninterrupted panorama of rolling grass-covered hills strewn about with great granite boulders and the occasional wind- stunted hawthorn. In the far distance two mountains rise up into the perfect blue sky. I stand there beaming with delight at this wonderful view and then check my watch again to see how I'm doing. Oh no! It's taken me all of half an hourto get here and now I've only got five minutes to return to our meeting point! Hold on, I tell myself in a moment of rare rationality. There is no set time for her to be there, she probably won't even take another walk down by the river if she's here on holiday and so what are you panicking for? But despite knowing that the whole thing is absurd, I can not help myself but hurry back downhill, every so often breaking into a gradient-assisted trot. Thus it takes me just over half as long to retun and I'm back where I started only ten minutes late. I am not alone... **********************************************************
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