Conquering The Test Way – Inspired by Branson, Bezos & Musk
Posted on April 18, 2022
I have decided that for no discernible reason, 2022 is going to be the year I complete The Test Way. The Test Way, if you don’t know, is a path that starts at Inkpen Beacon and finishes in Eling, Southampton.
I started this quest for greatness today, when, with no little enthusiasm, I conquered the stretch between St Mary Bourne and Hurstbourne Tarrant. This was a four-mile, thirst-quenching ordeal through tough terrain as the temperature soared to 15 centigrade.
The Start, my Belt & Branson
Starting adjacent to St Mary Bourne lake, I headed off in a north-westerly direction, soon leaving the village behind me. It was not long before it dawned on me that I had forgotten to put my belt on my shorts. I knew this would hamper my efforts on what was already a tough quest. However, I remembered that I am a big fan of Richard Branson, and that I often post his quotes on LinkedIn to prove my towering intellect.
What would Sir Richard do? Well, he ruddy well wouldn’t give up, that’s for sure. When you are battling against your shorts falling down, you battle back, and you battle back hard. So, with my mind’s eye filled with a picture of Sir Richard looking wistfully out to sea and saying something, I marched on.
It wasn’t long before I was climbing uphill and surveying the scenes beneath me. Without a soul in sight, I was at peace with the world with just birdsong in my ear. Sir Richard would love this, I thought. It would almost certainly inspire him to make a quote about nothing being impossible, including flying a balloon.
Undeterred by a Horse
Onwards I travelled, occasionally pulling up my shorts to my waistline that hasn’t expanded at quite the rate of my gut (otherwise the shorts might fit). At around the halfway point, I turned a corner to see a horse that frightened me somewhat, as it appeared to be wearing scary clothes. The dog freaked out a bit as well and I can’t help wondering what Sir Richard would have done.
I concluded that you don’t get to fire a pointless rocket into space by being scared of a horse. This thought inspired me and I marched, somewhat surprisingly, into a pine forest that I didn’t know existed. To go from rolling hills into a forest was quite a shock, I can tell you.
Bezos Sees me Through the Dark woods
As the forest became thicker and darker, I wondered how frightening my journey would be for a coward with a vivid imagination. I then remembered that I am a coward with a vivid imagination, resulting in my toes becoming quite lively. I imagined what another one of my heroes, Jeff Bezos, would do. Jeff didn’t learn how to dodge corporation tax by being scared of dark woods, that’s for sure.
So, with an unhealthy vision of Jeff Bezos in my mind’s eye, I battled on. For what seemed like 20 minutes (but what was probably only 18) I marched through the forest, choosing not to look behind me, just in case I was being followed by someone with an axe. The excitement made me want to urinate so, eventually, I did, just as the first person (a woman with a Labrador) I had seen all morning, emerged.
This resulted in an abrupt halt to proceedings and a searing and alarming pain ricocheting through my testicles, both left and right. Unfortunately, the shorts that kept falling down are beige and in effect, blotting paper. How was I supposed to pull my T-Shirt far enough down to cover my accident?
A Musk Do Situation
I imagined what another one of my heroes, Elon Musk (who I often quote on LinkedIn) would do with overheating testicles and a wet patch the size of a billiard ball. Like Musk would have surely done, I brazened it out and marched onwards. Fittingly, at this point, I saw the light emerge from the trees and the forest opened out onto the beautiful village of Hurstbourne Tarrant below me.
I wanted someone to stand behind me and take a photograph of me looking out wistfully at this splendid view. I could then put a quote at the bottom of it to inspire the next generation to do great things.
“When faced with a battle featuring falling down, pissed stained shorts and bollock cramp, you battle back” – B Lethaby, Explorer.
*Next time, inspired by the religious virtues of Jacob Rees-Mogg, I take the St Mary Bourne to Longparish route