Once a month, on a Sunday, we go walking with three other couples.
Regardless of the weather, we trudge across the countryside negotiating styles, ditches, slippery "plank" bridges, and kissing gates.
We deceive ourselves into thinking we are pioneers and pathfinders discovering ways through the wilderness.
The truth is that we rarely walk further than 6 miles, and we always end our walk at a suitable local hostelry and quench our thirsts with something suitably alcoholic (apart from the drivers) and a well-earned two-course lunch, usually from the carvery if there is one.
We've known these friends for years and years. Our children went to the local schools together, for at least some time in their scholastic careers, and became friends, attending the same birthday parties and discos whilst growing up.
We all have different characters, but we get on well together and chat about all things under the sun as we wander the countryside.
We have a mixture of likes and dislikes, live in an assortment of houses from modern to very old, and we are an assortment of heights, shapes and sizes.
But as far as I am aware, it is only Dan and I who live, shall we say, a slightly different lifestyle to the others, and until now it has never bothered us in the slightest. Still doesn't - only now Dan has realised he needs to be just a tad more careful.
We were out walking last Sunday. It was a horrid day to begin with - windy and wet, which is beginning to be the norm around here.
The footpaths and tracks were flooded or muddy, or both. Walking was difficult and we were slipping and sliding all over the place. We were enormously glad when the pub finally hove into view.
We'd left our cars in the car park at the back of the pub. (We always do circular walks.) We take a change of footwear with us as we wear quite heavy duty hiking boots, and most of us wear waterproof jackets, hats and gloves. It's a relief to discard all the heavy outerwear and put light shoes on before entering the pub.
There's usually a lot of joshing and banter as we all discuss what we want to drink and what the quality of the meal will be.
Dan had quickly changed his shoes and jacket and moved away from the back of the car to give me room so I didn't see exactly what happened. It was whilst travelling home that he told me.
"Blimey, Jen's got a big arse on her these days."
"How can you say such a thing. No she hasn't."
"She bloody has."
(I could tell that something had got Dan on edge, because he doesn't swear very much at all unless he's angry. He rarely does in front of me.)
"Well what were you doing looking at her arse?"
"Believe me, it was hard to avoid."
"I'd moved away from the car boot to give you a bit of room. I'd walked over to have a chat with Giles as he was waiting for Jen. One minute she was standing up, then the next she was bent over untying her shoelaces with her arse stuck right up in the air in front of me. I nearly fell over her."
He was looking very sheepish.
"It was purely instinctive. I didn't give it a thought."
"Give what a thought?"
Horrors! Please no, not that!"
Dan's voice wavered a bit.
"I lifted my hand up to give her a bloody good spank."
"Oh my goodness!" Now Dan had every atom of my attention. "You didn't!"
"It was a very near call, I can tell you. My hand was high in the air, just at the second before it began its downward arc, when I happened to look up. John and Giles were watching me completely wide-eyed with horror, John speechless for the first time ever since I've known him.
"Giles managed to gasp out "I really wouldn't do that if I were you" and turned quite white with dread."
"Good grief. What did you do?"
"I just managed to come to my senses and stop. It was awful. I just wasn't in command of my own actions. My hand had developed a life completely of its own."
Poor Dan. He was virtually traumatised. I was in fits of giggling just imagining the situation. Jen would have had him for breakfast! Lunch, anyway. She would've killed him. She wouldn't have seen the jokey side at all.
"Look what you've done to me," Dan said plaintively. "I've lost the ability to look at a bottom without picturing my hand giving it a good spank."
By this time I was crying with laughter and searching for a tissue to wipe my eyes.
Dan glanced sideways at me.
"I wouldn't have stopped if it had been your bottom in front of me, you know." He grinned smugly.
I grinned smugly back.
I was thinking that all my friends would say "Welcome to the Club, Dan."