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Memoirs of a Moldywarp

Memoirs of a Moldywarp






















Publications > Memoirs of a Moldywarp


Your field of vision is filled with mud, or rather great slobbering cakes of wet mud and gravel that adhere to the soles of a pair of boots a few inches in front of your face. The floor, just below your chin, is mud too, three or four inches deep; you wriggle through it, like an earthworm. The walls and roof, hardly any further away than the mud, are of fluted and serrated limestone, studded with countless small eroded fossils that stick out like razor-edged coathooks; you find yourself a rather belated member of the fauna of what was once a coral reef in some warm and sunlit sea. Now things are rather different; the corals have waited several million years in the cold and dark for the bit of excitement they are now experiencing, trying to detain you as you try to wriggle past.

Somewhere up in front, beyond the mud, the boots, and the person wearing them, something is happening. There are grunts and groans and the clink of a crowbar, then grating and scraping as loose slabs of rock object to being manhandled into a position that allows their sharing the passage-space with a human intruder. You tactfully delay enquiry as to the results of the contest until the sounds of struggle briefly cease, bar someone panting, and of course that eerie rhythmic thumping that you have realised is your own heartbeat, amplified by the confines of the tiny passage in which you are lying prostrate.

"Does it go?"

"One more block to move - but I can see ten feet beyond".

Another ten minutes waiting; you start to shiver. The enforced idleness allows what little warmth your previous exertions had imparted to the water between you and your wetsuit to seep away. Then louder sounds ahead, struggling and muttering - and suddenly the mud and boots in front of you convulse and suddenly retreat, like a piston into a cylinder; then they slither to one side, and disappear over a hump in the floor, leaving only blackness, and the passage wall curving out of sight.

"What's happening?"

The answer is garbled by an echo; you will have to follow and find out...

Until this afternoon, whatever lies round that bend has been as remote as the headwaters of the Amazon, as remote as the last uncharted Himalayan peak. Man has set foot on the moon, but here no scientific equipment has ever probed, no satellite has ever scanned. Yet this is England, on a September afternoon, quarter of a mile from the layby where you left the car and half an hour's drive from home.

You are about to enter the unknown....

This is what being a moldywarp is all about.


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