Paring Weight. (or Lost Johns in style)
There comes a time in many peoples lives when ones figure becomes somewhat more than Junoesque. Ladies are prone to
fall foul of this misfortune in an earlier stage in life than gentlemen due perhaps to natures
physical metamphoses with which we are well
acquainted (I hope), though more likely because their mirrors reflect a pampered
imagination not a pampered fogure. The result is a
healthy sales figure for Slimcea, Nimble, Ryvita and all those other brands whose company directors
grow fat on the proceeds -- and
so the wheel turns full circle. Emaciation nurtures an art whose form reveals
the vice factor of its propagator. Fortunately
my body has no need of repatriation, with the sylph like figure of moderation. But for one exception. As the very embodiment of blue eyed
innocence, I have for years dragged
an excess tonnage of ropes, ladders, ammo-tins & even fellow friends, through
squeezes, up & down pitches,
over lakes and all other predicaments with which you will be familiar
(I knew this was a fairy-tale. ed.) It
clicked recently that some of my chums
were getting a free ride at my expense. Was I the fool in the subterranean
theatre of comedy? Could this be why, my arms stretch down to my ankles? I was resolved.
No more, dear reader, would I play slave to my simple yielding nature while
bearded knaves chuckled in heinous anticipation of relief from their jangling
shackles. (Oh dear, come back Barbara Cartland. - ed.) I had a plan. The scene was
set the lights went down, & down, & down --- to the New Roof Traverse.
On this day, I was partaking of a second brew at the farm along with Pete who
got the drift of this game when I was still green. Eventually we sallied forth
into the muslin mists of Leck Fe1l changed & descended, reeling unsteadily,
unused to the novelty of weightlessness. This was unlike anything before. It was the experience of a runaway train, a downhill racer & hang-glider all
wrapped in one attractive package. Surely there would be a catch. But still no
tackle lay strewn across our path. And what was it my stars had said, “Friends
will come to your aid. This is the time
to relax & let others take care of your problems” Tee hee!
Being back of ‘the queue’ was not all roses and a lengthy wait ensued at Hammer Pot, and the Centipede where Keith piddled about with SRT line, & Andy’s stentorian voice boomed to no effect & everybody’s confusion. Finally I could press the ground floor button & idle smoothly down to the bottom & Dome Junction, Pete & I were shortly reposing at the Stemple traverse, mindless of the frenzied activity on the pitches below. And still all the tackle was in front.
A clever rig of ropes & pulleys
made light work of the traverse, though I half expected to find Buzby perched on one of the lines that crisscrossed the
passage. “Make someone happy with a free fall.” Down the
thirty to the ledge where the ladder swings in and you hoist round over the
black void of Wet Pitch & then on down the sixty with raindrops falling on
your head. The eager beavers had hurtled off to Lyle Cavern, making
however, the fatal mistake of leaving the all-vital ladder with Andy, .&
Andy doesn’t know where Lyle Cavern is. I found him wandering despondently in
Several welly flushing sessions later I arrived back at Groundsheet Junction, ate a Mars bar whilst nobody was about and curled up on a ladge for 5 minutes shut-eye. My lucid dreams were shattered just as I as being booked for the fourth time by one PC Pickup for laddering with intent to explore. I was right. Keith, Paul & Sandra had been upstream all the time. We nipped back to the big pitches via the small one which some twit had hung in the water & sped into the rafters with an ease which bore no Red Rose Hallmark.
The remainder was all plain sailing if such a phrase can include hauling Sandra bodily up No.3 Hole where, the use or a ladder had been waived. On the surface we were shocked to findit was 8pm. & horrified by the ferocity of the midges, which homed in for a late evening snack. Paul pulled, out his insect repellant (no, not that,) & wearing face compacts that: Este Lauder would be proud of, we beetled back to,the. farm, where worried Gill was boiling Pete’s sprouts for the fourth time. Bob’s parents were waiting as well, but decided that as a good film was just starting on the telly he might as well be a couple of hour’s late.
I was still feeling remarkably
fresh, despite the late hour, & fancying
few pints with my friends back home, I set off, thinking this would also make
more room for the late arrivals who, were still struggling with the tackle
somewhere. Ah well I didn’t go to university for nothing, did I?
Why this bright idea took so long to manifest itself however remains one of the mysteries of modern education.