You are here. Or maybe here


Fearful of becoming an Olympic bore on this topic, because it has been taking up almost all my bandwidth for the last six weeks, I haven’t really mentioned the big long walk. But initial stages are complete, a not-very-dry (ho ho) run has been executed on the South Downs between Lewes, Ditchling Beacon and Brighton, and we now know for sure that my navigation skills should NOT be tested far. Which means screw the footpaths, I’m sticking to the B roads. It’s Tarmacadam all the way, baby.

Having made the truly appalling discovery that my new smartphone, the one that’s been languishing in a corner for six-maybe-eight weeks because it’s TOO BORING TO SET UP, will not support OS maps, I have spent two days engaged in fruitless fretting. But all is now well. A mixture of Google maps (to tell me where *I* am, a crucial ingredient in navigation, as I discovered last weekend) and Landranger maps (to tell me where everything else is) will work beautifully.

God, I feel sorry for people who work in outdoor shops, though. The shite they have to listen to! I went into Cotswold at lunchtime today to buy the last map on my route, and hung about waiting to consult the adorable Charlie (and his very long eyelashes) about OS Landranger vs Explorer scales. But first we had to wait for the dullest man in the world to finish cataloguing The Best Equipment, Better Than You’ve Got Here that he’d ever used. When I heard the triumphant phrase ‘…and that one only had a four-minute boil time. What do you think of that?’ I felt poor Charlie’s pain.

SmugTwat was actually wearing a pinstripe suit, hands shoved deep in his trouser pockets, rocking back and forth on splayed feet as he recounted his purchasing purple patch. Beardy Charlie had beautiful manners, though, and only had to say ‘Well, it’s always interesting to hear customer feedback’ 500 times before SmugTwat left to bore some plaster into falling off walls.

It’s tempting to conclude that, at 5′ 6″ in stockinged feet, SmugTwat may have resented handsome Charlie’s rangy 6′ 3″, but that would be unkind. And hang it all, who wouldn’t sing out about a four-minute boil time?


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