THE night walk is one of life's great underrated pleasures, particularly around this time of year.
Cool, private and alive with atmospheric lighting, it appeals to people with the demeanour of fruit bats.
And it's good for burning off Christmas excess.
Often it's the defibrillator for the day which will enable you to spark up for round two.
Charles Dickens loved a good night walk.
So did Jack the Ripper.
I'm not sure if that's a constructive connection.
But there is something poetic, yet slightly psychopathic, about wandering the streets in the dark. Almost a metaphor for life.
The world is your oyster. And we all know how much fun sloshing around an oyster can be.
On a good night the stars are shining, the loungerooms glowing and a gentle breeze is blowing. Often you are blowing too, which can only be healthy.
It's not quite jogging but it's giving the motor a workout. Jogging takes such a toll on limbs.
It can be bad for you.
A while back I was out having a Cliff Young shuffle with Acca Dacca belting in the earphones. I hit a darkened sidewalk and lost visuals on the footpath. With Back in Black booming, flight control drew up a contingency plan where it thought the footpath might be.
In retrospect, I'd call it a hallucination.
With that, I hit the edge of the cement and rolled the ankle.
I could hear my yelp above Angus' searing lead break, which meant it was being broadcast at 11. I imagine it rocked the quiet suburban green belt I was now hobbling in.
Lucky I wasn't mauled by one of the many shitzus and Jack Russells that started barking.
So much for getting fit.
It took me about five weeks before the ankle ligaments felt comfortable with their position in life again, connected to my foot.
Talk about an inverse and opposite reaction to getting fit, which reminds me of another incident that didn't turn out exactly how I'd planned on the self-improvement front.
Flossing. It's important, right? It stops people suggesting you have fish mouth, or worse.
So in the interests of oral hygiene I was in there the other day doing good on the dentures.
Or so I thought.
With a tinkle and shimmer something fell on the sink. About the size of an ingot.
In an attempt to improve my toothy pegs, I'd managed to floss out not one but two fillings and left a hole in my molar which would be matched only by that coming out of my wallet in the near future.
Didn't that make a mockery of preventative medicine.
Probably not if you were my dentist who subsequently suggested root canal work.
Just goes to show, there's at least a double edge to everything in life.
Walking after dark can have its pitfalls. Like spiderwebs, and bumping into Jack the Ripper.
But there are also the pluses. Like the Christmas lights. Hats off to all the people who go to the trouble I say.
This year there has been a terrific show in our local area, which as nightwatchmen, we've taken to marking.
Important criteria include sheer amount of electricity to run the monster montages. Extra marks for solar power, and blow-up Santas that don't deflate as though Santa may have a heroin issue.
Light dynamics are important. Some of the combos can induce epilepsy. I've been clubbing at a couple.
Depth of field and ambient heat get a mention and finally, of course, narrative.
I'm really digging the Harry Potter crossover wand things this year. I'm loving the cascading rain/snow pouring off the roof. You can never have too many reindeer and if all else fails, get some candy canes.
Such a contrast to our house.
We have one light, the sensor, that sometimes comes on when we return from our stroll.
It's a pretty dodgy sensor.
We'll have to lift our game next year, and get some candles or something.
Another great thing about walking in the dark, apart from actually getting off your butt at all, is that you travel distances by foot you'd normally only drive in the day.
Not sure why that is except that maybe the visuals are a little less appealing during the day. That is, the visual of you hobbling around in public, being seen.
Damn you, pride.
It's surprising how little you will walk when you have a car. Often only as far as to the car.
In the dark, pride goes out the window. Or at least the door and up the street.
Unlike Patsy Cline, we rarely go walking after midnight.
But given the demand for taxis this time of year, if you're out after midnight, chances are you will be walking.
Uber may shake that up, but in the meantime, remember, the boots are made for walking, even if the brain takes a little convincing.