It is a strange feeling to come home to a small cottage always complained of as being too cosy after spending 15 nights in a one man tent. I enter the bedroom, lie on the bed and smile… I smile, not because of its comfort, but because I enjoy this particular moment when my bed feels so alien and I re-discover my house with new eyes.
Tent life is rather parculiar – the tent becomes home, carrying home on your back is bizarre in itself and then you very quickly become emotionally attached to it. Pitching at the end of a day’s walk becomes a ritual: I start by scouring my surroundings, a bit like a surfer, hands on hips, who weighs up the size of a wave… Very serious business.
After choosing my spot, my bag drops to the floor and I start analysing the incline – What will it be tonight… would I rather slide onto the side of the tent throughout the night and have to regularly roll my whole body back up the slope or would I prefer to slide down to the feet end, ending up in a ball at the bottom? Or I could have my blood rushing to my head instead. Decision, decisions… Over the course of 2 weeks, I have tried them all… My preference is for a level pitch, aha! Now I understand the camper’s obsession with flatness!
What follows is an account of a hiker’s PPD (if you don’t know what this means, you are lucky: Personal and Professional Development):
Resilience: I reach the dizzy heights of pitch perfection on day 3… So proud of my tent.
No tumble dryer… I use my initiative
I get super organised: bag and boots are consigned to the porch which means there is more space for me ?
Head end… I can sit up but… I can’t do gymnastics – although I do manage to contortion ate myself into my clothes every morning… Hoorah!
Problem-solving: I learn to pack with pecking chickens and scratching cats.
Prioritising: I send ‘essentials’ back home… Lots of essentials… Bag 4 kilos lighter! The deodorant was meant to make me feel nice in the evenings: it makes not one bit of difference! The cheese grater was supposed to enable me to grate beetroot, carrots and courgettes and embrace nature with a salad for my evening meal: that didn’t last long, it’s pasties or pub meals from now on.
Thinking on my feet: Post office says “for security reasons, what is in this package?” Umm… A knife? No “clothes and camping utensils” I reply.
Expressing individuality: rebellion, my body hurts, “I ain’t getting outta bed today!” Sublime style: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Be_zjb-YqME
But the hardest of all is being away from my family, receiving this letter from my little boy and encouragements from my partner kept me going:
All in all I consider myself to be a seasoned hiker, ready for leg 2… I am taking my waterproof trousers with me again, sending them home was one of those bad decisions I regretted on my way to Newquay # rainwind&fog. Onto Newquay by bus and train tomorrow and start walking again on Friday!
so, back on the road on friday, sorry, the trail!! may it go well, and even tho you are taking your waterproof trousers, may you not be needing them! may the sun shine on you – and on us! (we’re Lake Districting friday for 10days) how long you plan on being gone this time? another 2 weeks?
take care – will be watching out for yr words and pictures….