Friday, June 30, 2006

CLOSER

Story contd.

The first time I climbed Helvellyn with Mum and Dad and Evan we had stared, awestruck from the summit at Striding Edge – a razor’s edge path with airy drops on either side. Dad said we wouldn’t be using that route – it was too dangerous. Now with Alec and Jamie it was our route for the morning although even they said it wouldn’t be on if it were foggy or there was a high wind. We left Patterdale and had a long hard slog up to the Edge. Once on it - as long as you concentrated and were careful - it wasn’t too bad, with views of Red Tarn to the right and the summit of Helvellyn ahead. The last bit was a rough scramble and we managed to miss the Gough Memorial where the body of Charles Gough was found in 1803. He had been killed by a rock fall and three months later he was found with his dog still guarding his remains.

By the time we were descending Dolly Wagon it was tea-time. Each day from 3pm onwards we would be twitchy. Was this the day we were going to fail to find a tea-place? We were worse than a bunch of old ladies (I’m allowed to say that!) To cut down on weight we hadn’t bothered with pack lunches and hadn’t eaten since breakfast. We were in luck and stuffed ourselves silly. The Hostel was run very efficiently by two ex- army chaps. After supper we ambled round Grasmere ending up at The Traveller’s Rest. Then had to race cross country to be back in time for curfew.

Since my visit to Oxbridge Jamie and I had got in the habit of giving each other a dispassionate kiss at bed-time - the kind that I would give the family. This night Jamie kissed me and I knew I’d been kissed. He then told me I was scared stiff of men. This was news to me but I was confused – trying not to enjoy the moment and be loyal to Andrew. Both Ginny and I were experiencing that heightened awareness that being removed from the stresses and strains of working with very sick children with its inevitable tragedies can bring. The beautiful carefree environment we were in only served to make the experience surreal. Neither Alec nor Ginny were romantically involved with each other but we both felt utterly safe as if in the care of two older brothers. Now things were getting complicated and each day Jamie and I were slowly but inexorably getting too close for comfort. I wrote to Andrew.

The next couple of days we relaxed more - walking round Elterwater and Blea Tarn, Dungeon Ghyll and the Langdales - where Sarah and I had climbed three years earlier. Jamie and I did a lot of loitering on little stone bridges staring into the mesmerising water looking for fish and being enveloped by a growing sweetness that was hard to resist.

We left Elterwater and walked over Hard Knott Pass and Wrynose Pass. I found an Irish tweed flat cap which Jamie coveted and there was much bargaining with biscuits and chocolate as barter. We began to get punch drunk walking endlessly with our rucksacks and were all feeling high spirited. That night we were going to visit some old climbing friends of Alec. They were distinguished climbers – he had been on the reserve team for Everest and his first wife had been killed in an avalanche. They now ran a pub in Boot and Ginny and I decided it was time to put on our glad rags
and show the boys why dresses and pearls were not just a waste of space.

7 comments:

AndrewM said...

'...it were foggy..'

Eeee lass, 'as tha regressed?

Keep up the good work.

PI said...

andrewm: you know very well you are taking it out of its conditional context. And MTL says its OK. I go by feel, mainly and it feels right.xoxoxoxox

FOUR DINNERS said...

Nowt wrong wi' 'It were foggy'. Queen talks like that in private. Accordin' to a pal who worked at the Palace she once said "Ee up Phil, turn't channel, Corries on in a minute". (I admit he was drunk when he made this claim...but yer never know)

PI said...

4d: take no notice of andrewm - he's just jealous because he wasn't born in Lancashire!
I believe the Queen Mum talked right broad an' all.

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

S'true, and she cursed like a longshoreman too, I heard. Filthiest mouth in the palace.

R. Sherman said...

You continue to amaze. Your "chapters" are perfect. I loved the line "I knew I'd been kissed."

Cheers.

PI said...

Sam: oh dear - there goes my OBE!

Randall: makes me go all hot remembering.