It's all about balance.
From one perspective, having a dodgy ear can be a good thing, as Mark Alvarez has pointed out to me. On the other hand though it does lead to minor complications.
On Saturday morning, after packing the rucksack in virtually winter conditions (a very unpleasant cold, northerly wind with lots of stinging rain) I was dashing over to Phil's car for a bit of shelter as he made his final preparations to depart for our day's walk. I had just been on my hands and knees rolling up the tent and dodged over to the car as a sprinter out of his blocks. The effort of standing up into the teeth of the wind and rain, the complete lack of balance induced by the dodgy right ear and a very large, somehow unseen, very slippery rock all combined to create a balletic pirouette and a resounding thwack of my left hip on the said very hard unforgiving slippery rock.
Lord Elpus and I had already ruled out the Old Man as impractical given the general weather conditions and had set our sights on the more attainable stroll over to Coniston via the Walna Scar Road (that's a Landrover track, not a metalled road); a good enough test, we believed of Phil's recovery from radiotherapy only three weeks previously. He is still on all sorts of other weird and wonderful treatments as well, just because he likes the nurses over at Addenbrookes Hospital. They just cannot get enough of him.
At this point, we were joined by Shirl and her 6 month old border terrier, Piglet.
Well Phil did okay but the radiotherapy and current treatments have played havoc with his stamina and when he came to a halt 1300 feet up the side of Brown Pike we could see that the fellow had had enough of this nonsense. The weather was pretty poor and it was a good deal worse further on, so we devised a cunning plan whereby he could stroll back down to his car and pootle around the hill on heated seats and meet us in Coniston. We got the balance about right. I am sure that in kinder weather he would have made it, but let's be sensible - there's no point in damaging anything, is there? We escorted the war-horse down to the tarmac and then set off once more up into the nasty weather.
Lord Elpus & The Walna Scar Road in more benign weather
You will have seen from before that we all met up successfully in Coniston and enjoyed a convivial time in various hostelries, set up just for the purpose of customers enjoying copious libations of thought juice.
The following day, as reported before, was a far better balanced day, with just the one stroll, mostly in the morning in fine weather, taking in stepping stones over the River Duddon and the fine pub at Seathwaite: The Newfield Inn.
Shirl & Piglet, finely balanced.
A smashing weekend with Phil, Piglet & Shirley - all great characters.