Thursday, August 16, 2007

Woodwork, cleanliness and radioactive badger.

1. I look at the half log in my hand and wonder how it will ever be a wooden spoon -- until I am told to carve away everything that is not spoon.

2. Showering under a yew tree from a canvas bag filled with hot water carried in a can from the fire. As I rinse my hair and rain patters around me, I wonder if I will ever be dry and free from dead yew leaves again. A few minutes later I am fully dressed in clean(ish) clothes and tingling as my skin warms up again.

3. Just before settling into my bivi bag, I turn off my torch and stash it where I can reach it. I wriggle down in my sleeping bag and slide down my self-inflating mat into the bivi bag. I am startled by a scuttering noise at my feet, and then terrified by a movement at the end of the bivi bag. My thoughts run in this order:
a. What the hell is that?
b. Get out of the bivi bag.
c. Who is screaming?
d. It's me.
Out of the dark come shouts of 'Don't move' and 'Come here' and 'Are you all right?' and 'Don't worry, it's nothing' and 'Where are you?' and 'Who's that?' and 'What's happening?' Then Dave appears out of the darkness with a torch an 'Are you decent?'
I pull on my trousers with one hand and point gibbering at the bulge in the bottom of my bivi. Shaking his head, Dave turns the bag upside down. My mat falls out and nothing else -- no adders, no badgers, no rats. The mat, however, has a large blister at the foot end where the lining has split.
Then the instructors come running from the far end of the site: 'What's happened?' and 'Our ears are bleeding' and 'I'd just got to sleep.'
Dave asks if I would like him to explain to them. I decline, and have to explain, between gasps of relieved laughter, in my own words how a malfunctioning sleeping mat made me produce proper Dr Who screams.
Chrissie makes me sit under her tarp until I stop catch my breath again.