If we’d packed sun cream, of course, it would have peed down all week. As it was we only had my calculated-for-weight modicum of SPF moisturiser and it looked like there’d be sun, on and off, for the next two days. Fortunately, Danby Health Shop was right next door to the Duke. Inside, we breathed deeply of that arcane herbs smell proper to independent healthfood shops. Jenny invested a quietly startling amount of money in some extremely wholemeal organic sun cream, and we went outside to get ‘slapped up’, as Susie and I call it.
Easier said than done. The texture of the cream was such that, even after a good few minutes’ rubbing, we still looked like we’d been prepped to swim the channel. Better than getting lobstered, though. We slithered our way into our packs and set off on the ‘Danby Loop’ section of the SHW. (more…)
Two moulded plastic chairs, one grey, one a sort of institution pinky orange, stood in front of Hilda’s spring; another lay on its side at a distance away, under a tree. The grey one was covered with flies. The chairs were that low budget, stacking sort: curved, with metal legs, and a cut out section at the base of the back which is, I suppose, designed to make lifting and stacking easier but which my young self, at primary school, believed to be a vent to let the farts out.
There was something oddly touching (more…)
“It’s a high-risk activity,” the doctor I’d never met told me, down the phone. The man was a stranger and here I was having to talk to him about cramps and diarrhoea so that he could pronounce sagely about the potential for me shitting myself in a field. That’s a possibility? You don’t say.
But St Hilda’s Way had been beckoning for months. We’d booked hotel rooms, consulted local bus timetables, contemplated sawing (more…)
The ‘Yikes’ moment: when Shaggy and Scoob have been running so fast, legs ablur, that they don’t notice they’ve gone off the edge of the cliff—then realise and, with a wail, start plummeting. I love that: it captures an emotional experience I recognise. But, oh dear. If I’m giving existential readings of cartoons, maybe I’ve been a counsellor too long. Maybe I’m feeling unusual.
When Suan and I got back to (more…)
You know when you’re driving along in the rain—the kind that your wipers can’t really cope with, and they go into a sort of frantic ineffectual fastwipe which is slightly silly, somehow, in the way that a powerwalk is—and you see walkers trudging along the verge, heads bowed, sheathed almost entirely in rustling nylon, their huge packs, also nylon-sheathed, rearing behind them like a doom they can’t shake; and you think casually, in passing, ‘Poor bastards’? Well. On day three of the pilgrimage, those poor bastards were us. (more…)