Tuesday 4 March 2003

Instructions for a walking weekend

Friday Night

  • 20:00 - Congregate at Linhope. Beforehand you must either have lugged inappropriately large bags of walking kit around your various business commitments all day, or travelled at least 100 miles to get there.

  • 20:15 - Pile into the car, ladies first and in the back, men in the front (it's 'cos the women have shorter legs, or something). Barry gets to pick the music, it's his car; there will always be Bob Dylan, other allowed artistes are The Streets, 2 Many DJs, Lou Reed and any Gangsta Rap (Barry likes to keep it real). On no account will Take That or Abba be allowed.

  • 20:15 - 22:00 - Crank music up very loud and drive very fast on a succession of nearly empty motorways. Have at least one major swearing session at bad drivers. If you are sitting in the back you must fall asleep before leaving the M25.

  • 22:00 - Swap drivers on a cold roundabout.

  • 22:00 - 00:30 - Drive just as fast down some smaller roads, overcook at least one bend.

  • 00:30 - Arrive at dark campsite. Ignore "No pitching after 9pm" sign and noisily pitch tent in the muddiest part of the field. Drink whisky and talk in stage whispers.


  • 08:00 - Get up and shower.

  • 08:20 - Wait for Carla to have a shower.

  • 08:30 - Pack bag, look at map.

  • 08:40 - Wait for Carla to finish in the shower.

  • 08:50 - Fiddle with kit, swear at broken gaiters.

  • 08:55 - Send Gus in to find Carla.

  • 09:00 - Head for hills.

  • 09:00 - 4:00 - Walk up at least one large hill. Simon will start fast but not last, Gus will spring into action about two thirds of the way up. Variously comment on good/bad weather, appalling lack/amazing surfeit of views, own incredible/atrocious fitness level. At 700m high enter the "Offensive Zone", like the Death Zone afeared by many climbers, but with more swearing. Make several lewd and offensive comments in earshot of troupe of cub scouts or young family.

  • 16:30 - Finish walk and shower (Gus may omit this step).

  • 18:30 - Go to excellent local pub, unless you're in North Wales, in which case, go to terrible and unfriendly local pub.

  • 18:30 - 23:00 - Drink seven pints of local session beer. Eat large plate of welcome stodgy food. Read gory elements of local Mountain Rescue report aloud in braying posh, London voice.

  • 21:00 - Fall asleep on table.

  • 23:00 - Walk back to campsite and collapse unconscious in bed.


  • 02:00 - Wake up desparate for a piss, and realise with horror that you will have to leave your warm sleeping bag in your semi-naked state to stand by a hedgerow in the night drizzle for an incredibly long time.

  • 06:00 - Wake up very cold.

  • 06:30 - Realise that putting the sleeping bag hood on will warm you up.

  • 07:00 - Put sleeping bag hood up.

  • 08:00 - 16:30 - As Saturday. Walk may be omitted in the case of bad weather or extreme hangover (or general laziness).

  • 17:00 - 20:00 - Drive back to London very fast along a succession of nearly full motorways. Listen to the Charts, swearing at the bland nature of modern pop music.

  • 20:00 - Drape sodden camping gear around house to annoy urban flatmate.

General Notes
  • Destination may vary, behaviour may not.

  • General conversational gambits include The Simpsons, Reading FC's recent form (tenacity, spirit, flair), the appalling laziness of the Linhope landlord, certain flatmate's Barleyesque tendencies, loud and socially unacceptable jokes.

  • On no account may the swearing be omitted.

See here for the latest implementation of these instructions.

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