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Saturday, 25 February 2017

Seventy seven days, slippers, soft sinews & slothdom.

Casting aside old friends is a painful experience. For years you believed them to be reliable; they would never let you down. Sadly however, time takes its toll on a relationship. I could no longer take any more of their nonsense.

Hating confrontation, I would have preferred to do the deed by text message, but decency got the better of me. Instead, after a stiff drink we had a face to face at Mission Control and I told them that they were dumped. It was all their fault and I had to move on. As I literally closed the lid on that part of my life, I caught a last glimpse of my leaky old Scarpa Nepals and Salomon Quests staring back up at me from the very bottom of the bin...

No more soggy tootsies for me. No more trench foot. And HELLO to these new beauties!

SCARPA R-EVOLUTION GTX


It's been a whirlwind romance. In less than a week my new slippers and I have been to heaven and back, *three* times! Well, Englemere Pond, Tescos and the long way round to Englemere. 

But, it's important not to scare the horses. After a long period of slothdom with my foot (Yes, thank you, it's feeling much better now) I've had nine months with very little walking. We all know that soft tissues need toughening up, and this must be done gently to start with. So let's not go too mad. 

Now, in your world, yesterday may well have passed almost unnoticed. But in every Challengers' calendar, yesterday marked just seventy seven days before setting off from the west coast of Scotland with some well-hard bastards, with the ambition of arriving at the east coast some two weeks later.

As keener members of the congregation will recall (Yes, that's you at the back: Sit up straight and stand in a polite line) this stroll involves Munros, Corbetts and all manner of wondrous ridge walking. Obviously perturbed, and perhaps some might unkindly say deranged, by this chilling statistic, one of the keener blighters in our team has taken to strapping his person into full Challenge kit, ballasted with a complete set of Funk and Wagnalls, and frog-marching himself some twenty European Kilometers! A risky strategy that, what with Brexit and all. This could end very badly.

To calm your nerves, dear reader, here are some settling photographs of gentle landscapes from my strolls this week. Of course it's nothing like Scotland in a hurricane, but there again, neither is sipping Champagne and nibbling tasty canapes in smart hotels. It's life, Jim...

WHITMOOR BOG

HEREFORD

ENGLEMERE POND

ENGLEMERE POND

ENGLEMERE POND

18 comments:

  1. Your photos are great and well demonstrate that doing the TGO and finding quality country walks are two things as different, to continue your analogy, as drinking Champagne and then chateau bottled Claret. They are both to be valued for their own attributes, and cannot be compared.

    The new boots look formidable. As for the old ones, there are only so many you can keep back for gardening, which as far as I am concerned is something I try to do as infrequently as possible.

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    1. Quite so, Conrad. There are oodles of finer things in life, and they must be pounced upon with glee and wonderment. Who knows - we may be knocked flat by the Clapham omnibus tomorrow!

      The pictures are from my phone. The anti-shake device isn't as good as that of my camera, so I had to sharpen up the shot of the blurry reeds in a phone app. It still didn't do the job, but I liked the picture.

      For the TGO Challenge I'll be taking the camera.

      Delete
  2. By the way, 77 days is significant for me - the duration of my Land's End John o'Groats walk.

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    1. You must have scuttled along at a fair old lick, Sir. Mine was 119 days, but I did wander about quite a bit.
      :-)

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  3. How could you? Confine trusted old friends to the bin?
    My collection of old leather boots (and Lynne's) sit in an old bookcase in the garage and like my old climbing gear, ropes etc, are assured of a home for life-:)

    Okay, I'm a sentimental old fool. I admit it.

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    1. Not so sentimental that your old friends are cosseted in a warm indoor cupboard in the main part of the house then, Gibson ;-)

      At least until their final demise my pals were tucked warm & snug on the shoe rack in the wardrobe. But, I made a decision, and like a good sacking, the message was delivered, the company car keys removed and the chaps were off the premises within a matter of a moment. It's kinder that way.

      They'll be in boot heaven now, looking down with gratitude at their master, knowing what a good job they had done for him, until he abandoned them, heartlessly.

      They will probably hate the new flashy pieces adorning my tootsies. A knowing wink will passed between them, understood to mean "They're next. Well see them up here in a few years time."

      Delete
    2. I nearly added that the ones in the garage being leather were a hardy lot but the fabric ones, being more delicate souls, are indeed cosseted in a wardrobe in the house.

      Delete
    3. I knew you were a decent sort, really, Gibson.

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  4. I'll admit that I did wonder where your opening paragraph was leading. I know we've had our differences, but to be publicly discarded via Blogger ... how humiliating is that?

    So it was reassuring to read on, and see that it's all about new footwear - and, to quote an old phone company, "The future's bright - the future's orange".

    (I've often wondered if they ran that ad in Northern Ireland ...)

    Anyway, they look very smart. Well done, sir.

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    1. I couldn't do that to you, Sir! Well. Not by text message...

      The bulk of the orange will be discreetly tucked beneath the hems of my trouser legs. The soles are comfortably black, unlike Mr Walker's fluorescent red trainer soles of yore. They were violent! However, you will be pleased to hear that this somewhat sober styling has been passed on to the said Gentleman, as he has been out to Open Air and bought a pair himself!

      We should ask our Norn Iron correspondent, the young, athletic handsome Michael (I think that's how Miss Whiplash described him all those years ago?) to establish the veracity of this Unionist PR. But there again - he may well have not been born then.

      Delete
    2. Today I spoilt my Scarpas rotten, with the addition of a pair of (*incredibly* expensive) Superfeet Carbon insoles from Cotswold in Windsor, and then walked home in the new set up. Eleven miles and AOK.
      Happiness.

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  5. Me an' all Alan; new boots, that is...

    The cuff around the ankle is the bit that's taking longest to acclimatise to and, as always, I've put off replacing the old ones for longer than I should. Oh well...

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    Replies
    1. Repeated exaggerated bending of the knees, Dave.

      But not in public.

      Delete
  6. Didn't you have a pair of Ecco? Or was that someone else.

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    1. That was two Challenges, and many more miles ago, Sir!
      :-)

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  7. Just off to Google 'Funk and Wagnalls'....

    ReplyDelete
  8. ... Funk and Wagnalls. They are American, sir, and I would never trust an American reference book. Full of fake facts, sir, fake facts.

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