Monday, August 27, 2012

The easy bit

It was a really good idea when I thought of it, six months ago.

"Sweetheart", I said, speaking to the gorgeous item with whom I have cohabited for the last thirty years "Why don't we have a staycation this year and walk the Coast to Coast path?"

"What a good idea!" she exclaimed, much to my surprise and consternation.  I know she doesn't like climbing hills.  I only did it to annoy because I know it teases.  "We'll need to start training."

I put my head in my hands.  She was meant to say "I thought we were going to Canada this summer." Instead with the enthusiasm that sent a chill through my heart she was talking of training.  Training?  That would take all the fun out of it.  I did training when I spent a year in the army in 1979.  In case of any doubt, I would like you to know that training is no fun at all.  My motto is "No pain,no pain" and training breaks my motto into tiny fragments before crushing them beneath the iron heel.

On the plus side, compared with the Lake District, through which the Coast to Coast path passes, Hampshire is like an ironing board.  So we trained by walking a circuitous route to the news agent every morning.  I practised carrying a backpack by carrying the Telegraph, which is a broadsheet and therefore very heavy.  All the way home.

And today we set off for the Lake District, having in the interim bought maps, boots, walking trousers, a compass, a transparent map pocket (which I left at home, together with my pyjamas), hiking socks and a book or two.

My heart quailed so, having got all the way to Bicester, I said "You need some clothes, dear.  Why don't we go shopping?"    I had in my mind that we would spend a few hours there, discover it was far too late to get up to the Lake District and abandon the exercise.

Instead, with unbecoming haste that set new records, the DBW found some clothes that fitted her perfectly within 43 minutes.

So, a few hours later, here we are at Kirkby Stephen.  It's not the worst small town I have been too.  Indeed I am compelled to admit that it has it's own water-logged charm.  Our host, Nick, admitted us to the B&B, which is actually quite delightful.  It's a Georgian house and from the miniature chaise longue in the entrance hall to the sashed curtains on the window, it feels lovely.

At the top of the stairs is a library of holiday reading - hundreds and hundreds of lovely books, from classics to thrillers.  You could easily spend a week reading them.    Let me repeat that: you could easily spend a week reading them.  I may just settle down and let the DBW have a refreshing walk and report back to me on how it went.

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