Friday, 19 August 2005


I’m sure the theory of gravity is something of which you have at least a rudimentary understanding, basically the earth sucks; some bits suck more than others which and you never hear of people getting stuck in places that don't suck - Mauritius but barely a summer goes by without thousands of people getting stuck in places that do -Heathrow. For some reason the bottom of hills suck more than the top; so if you where to put a smooth surface (thermarest mattress) on the side of a hill and then put a moving object (me trying to get to sleep) soon the moving object would be off the end of the smooth surface. It was with this in mind that I made sure that there where no nettles or brambles at the end of my bed last night. 'I have been doing this for a while now' thought I as I carefully selected my sleeping spot, 'I am nearly an expert, nothing can go wrong'.

So why, when I have been so keen to extol the virtues of a flat sleeping surface of late, did I sleep on the side of a hill? Well yesterday I was interviewed by the Observer, in the pub, and after a fairly hefty meal and what with it being late and all that I really couldn’t be bothered to go all the way back to chez ditch monkey, so I didn’t. The interview had gone well, I guess, I tried my hardest to sound knowledgeable and sage like, “here be blackberries”, “it’s going to be a cold winter for sure”, “no it won’t rain tonight”. It was that last one that really wouldn’t have stood up to closer scrutiny seeing as how the sky was filled with ominous looking clouds. We had a chat some, photos were taken and I tried very hard to sound as though I had something intelligent to say but was probably a little too concerned with battered Plaice stuffed with Prawn and Mushrooms to actually structure a coherent sentence.

It was quite late by the time I headed home and so I ended up, as I say, on the side of a hill clothes being used as a pillow, suit underneath a Gore-Tex jacket just in case it rained, the Gore- Tex poncho that gets strung between trees over me in case it rains was cunningly rolled up in a ball by my side. I’m not sure what time it started raining but whenever it was it was making sure to get in as much raining as possible in as short a period of time as possible. Whatever time it was it was long enough after I had gone to sleep fo Gravity to have taken over and so I was lying at the foot of the mattress but cunningly not in a pile of nettles or brambles. I grabbed the Gore- Tex poncho, eschewed the ‘getting out of the nice warm sleeping bag into the rain and attaching it between the trees to keep me dry’ option. Instead I went for the ‘pull it over me like a sheet’ option, this has many benefits over the first option; first it channelled rain water down my neck, so I pulled it over my head until I ran out of oxygen and went back to the water down the neck option. Time flew by, before I knew it it was six am and the alarm clock was going off. There is nothing like waking up wet, cold, tired and in a heap. At least I was not lying in nettles – man I’m good. There was no way I was going to get out of bed until I located my clothes, I was going to put them straight on as it was a little chilly. My clothes were where I left them, at the top end of the mattress and thus had managed to avoid the protection of the Poncho. Imagine my delight as I stepped into sodden clothes – I told you the earth sucks.