Wednesday, 13 August 2008

A Cliché Too Far, or how to benefit from a ill wind

The Keen Mountain Biker has hurt his back, but it’s an ill wind as they say. The first twinges were felt as he made hay in the Millennium Garden (see previous blog) and the coup de grace arrived as he hoovered the bedroom. carpet. Yes, my old man, is a new man, I’m pleased to say.

‘What are we going to do?’ wailed the granddaughters in unison. ‘Granddad’s slipped a disc and we won’t be able to go camping.’

But he would never let a simple thing like severe pain stand in the way to our annual trip to Derbyshire.

‘Now don’t get all stressy,' the elder one advised as we sweltered in the second hold up on the M1. We’ll stop in a minute and you can have a cup of tea and one of your little tablets.’ The little one nodded at her sister’s wise words. I kept my mouth shut. I’d never heard him swear in front of a child, but there’s always a first time.

Five hours later we arrived at the camp site in the pouring rain. In the old days, BG (before grandchildren) we’d have had our two person tent erected and the kettle on, in two shakes of a lamb’s tail, two bedroomed luxury with added kitchen takes a little longer, but we managed.

The camp site, more a farmer’s field with adjacent loos, is the closest place to paradise when the sun shines. In the rain you have to use your imagination, particularly when the mountains are completely obscured by dark clouds. We spent the rest of the evening doing French knitting with damp wool and playing cards.

It rained all night but the morning came with a slight breeze and bright sunshine. We put our best feet forward. The girls and I sauntering along at our own speed, KMB staggering manfully behind, a look of determination on his rugged face.

‘Sleeping on a hard surface is meant to be good for bad backs’. I suggested helpfully. ‘And you’ve got three doting females to help you on with your socks.’ He wasn’t convinced, as I was one of the females and I’m not much good at doting.

‘Where does the ill wind come in?’ I hear you ask. No the tent didn’t blow down. No tent erected by the KMB would dare. Despite horrendous weather forecasts the rain fell only at night. I had a lovely restful break. The girls carried their own packs and didn’t argue once, or lie on the ground saying they were too tired to go on any further. Neither did I beg for a short cut home.

For the first time in the twenty years I’ve been staying on this site, I was able to relax and lie around in the sun. Not once did I have to do a route march, one eye on the compass the other on a gathering storm.

Along with a bad back came humility. For the first time KMB realised what a mere mortal feels like in the mountains. He was grateful when we stopped for a snack. He didn’t sigh or look at this watch when we stopped to build a dam by a mountain stream or paused to take in a view, or admire the flowers. There were no complaints when we walked back via a quick route. So you see, ‘It’s an ill wind...’

The man is a hero and I love him to bits. Now we're home I promise I’ll make it all up to him. I’m pampering his every whim, while he watches the Olympics, flat on his back on the front room floor. I'm rushing around making tea. We even had a pudding last night. I hope this bad back business doesn’t last too long though. The potatoes down the allotment haven’t been harvested yet and the lawn needs cutting.

‘What’s sauce for the goose....’ I hear him mutter, as I struggle to get the lawn mower out of the shed.

(If you fancy the campsite look at The picture is of KMB giving helpful advice on how to build a dam)