Friday, 9 June 2006

a few miles too far

‘We’re in the middle of f***ing nowhere’ reverberated across the Valley.

Far off in the distance a keen hill walker turned round, squinting in our direction, thinking we were shouting for help. Always willing to lend a hand the hiker stalled her party and began marching towards us, armed with a map in a plastic keep dry pouch.

‘Well, you said you wanted a surprise!’ said my somewhat flabbergasted boyfriend who had done his very best in organising our trip.

‘Yes, but I didn’t say I wanted to walk seven f***ing miles to the next f***ing Village.’

I’d known about the surprise for a whole week. I’d actually requested it and had provided a map, a list ‘of desirable places to visit’ and suggested a number of activities (most of which involved eating) that might take place at the aforementioned locations. As the week had passed by I’d been looking forward to the ‘magical mystery tour’ and in my daydreams I’d created a mental picture of the occasion. I would be dressed in my finest, most feminine bohemian/English rose/gypsy outfit, sipping champagne and laughing in a carefree manner in the sunshine, my cheeks flushed with fresh air, dining on a picnic of fine food. Then we would walk hand in hand around a picturesque village, smiling at each other, and the friendly locals, as we passed in and out of the quaint little craft shops and cafes.

‘I’m wearing f***ing flip flops’

‘But I told you to wear sensible shoes’ said James

When I’d received the email which informed me ‘that there would be ‘a few miles’ of walking but not too much’ I had assumed that this would be ‘a few miles’ covered within the whole day. Confident that I probably covered ‘a few miles’ on a typical Saturday in town I’d opted for footware that was bearable for shopping trips and looked good with my outfit. Unfortunately my assumption had been way off. There we were at the top of the Yorkshire Dales wearing jeans and flip flops clutching a bag of sandwiches, watching walking booted, rucsacked, APPROPRIATLEY DRESSED seasoned walkers striding across the Valley in the distance.

I wanted to swear some more but the arrival of the friendly, helpful Hiker was imminent so I shut up and seethed inwardly. The map was pulled from its packet. Turning the map this way and that and pointing here and there, the helpful Hiker explained our whereabouts.

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