DAY 9 – Mrs P’s Birthday
Happy Geburtstag Mrs P! The birthday girl awoke to tea in bed, trickier than it sounds in a pop top VW campervan, and some small gifts; book, floating candles… floating candles!? I have no idea what possessed me. Where the heck are we going to float them!? No baths till November! Hey ho, best go find a bucket and a dark room.
We had aimed to go Geburtstag climbing but it rained heavily all night and was pretty overcast in the morning. Rock looked very wet so we went for a Geburtstag walk instead. Hiked from the valley floor up to 2000m. 6 hours round trip. Perfect day for hiking. For those who haven’t worked it out yet ‘Geburtstag’ is German for ‘Birthday’. (Learning has taken place, my work here is done.)
CONFESSION TIME: I once went into a book shop and asked for an Austrian phrase book CONFESSION ENDS (and so does credibility).
Cooked Geburtstag tea for Geburtstag girl (ok, I’ll stop now), spaghetti bolognaise. This involved a bike ride into town to get food. I am soooo glad we bought the bikes. Though Gandalf is very mobile, he has wheels and everything, once he is settled in a campsite he is difficult to shift. Mostly because the interior becomes a bit of a dumping ground for kit, clothes, cooking utensils, guide books. The gas is turned on, awning attached etc. etc. so the bikes are not only a Godsend but great fun too.
Mrs P a.k.a Birthday girls and rock with the same initials (minus the ‘e’)
DAY 10 – “I proper cacked myself up there…”
Excuse the language but that is a quote.
Glorious morning. Off climbing. Easiest way is to pack kit and head off on bicycles…
Methinks twill be a less smiley face on the way back up the hill.
We get to the climbing area just ahead a large group of dead’ ard looking blokes and at least one dead ‘ard looking girl. We are surprised. This is a pretty low grade area. All soon becomes plain as a mixture of accents from Scouse to Scots assail the air. Tis either a charabanc from Germany’s building sites of the 1980’s or Her Majesty’s armed services out for a jolly at the UK tax payer’s expense. (Sorry, meant to say; ‘on a team building exercise.’) Turns out to be the latter. Some are good climbers, some are bad and some are downright terrified. Which is where the quote comes in;
- Matelot No 1: 12 feet off ground (4 metres for the youth amongst our reader): “I think I’m coming down. I can’t do this.”
- Matelots No’s 2 – 8: Safely on Terra-firma: “I say old boy, whilst we realise it is a terribly unnerving situation you are in we collectively feel that a man of your calibre is capable of getting just a bit more than 6 inches off the ground. Oh do go on old chap. For the team.” (Or words to that effect).
- Our hero, Matelot No. 1, squirms unhappily higher and finally makes it to the top of the climb.
- He is lowered to the ground.
- On landing he says, and you already know this but he says it anyway; “I proper cacked myself up there.”
- Offstage right Mrs P is reduced to a fit of the giggles.
Mr P, who used to be scared of heights feels sorry for Matelot 1 and considers for a whole nanosecond remonstrating with young, fit, muscled and tattooed matelots No’s 2 – 8 with regards their lack of consideration and empathy for their fellow mariner and their general conduct (however amusing) unbefitting of Her Majesty’s Royal Navy. However, self-preservation dictates that the words never make it past his Cerebrum and thus he lived to tell this tale.
ASIDE: Royal Navy, climbing? Some of them were divers for heavens sake!
Anyway, back to the real heroes of this story. Mr & Mrs P. We climbed some nice easy stuff, just by way of practice. Some longer climbs – 20 metres (‘high’ for the older readers) and one 2 pitch route (37m) to practice rope work, abseiling and swapping leads but not necessarily in that order. Great fun. Lovely rock. Hot!
Back to campsite for tea, medals and a long debate as to where it would be best to view Friday’s lunar eclipse from. This was made easier by the fact that all the high altitude huts we tried to book were full on the night of the eclipse, Friday 27th July.
We’ll probably just find a bench downtown facing South East and hope the mountains don’t get in the way (and that we don’t get moved on as vagrants). Do check it out though, It’s gonna be cool. Very visible in the UK. The Lunar Eclipse is being covered live by timeanddate.com. It will be visible for 103 minutes, which makes it the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century.
More people from the Netherlands arrived on the campsite. This could be the friendliest, smiliest invasion ever.