Away with the Fairies

Okay, so you might understand this, or you might not, but I had to get out of town. I wasn’t running away from a disgruntled boyfriend, an angry policeman or an investigative reporter, I just had to get away.

When I came back from Sweden, I announced I was not planning on leaving North Wales until Christmas, but I guess after becoming angry at life, the world and everything, I needed to flaunt my freedom and go somewhere; anywhere really. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t booking time off or looking at plane times, just a weekend would do. So I spent a couple of days debating where to go and what to do, (with at least one day looking good) before finally deciding to sack it all off and go to the Lake District. I was a little disappointed I hadn’t made it there and gone to Sweden, and I don’t know anyone up there any more so would have no need to visit or make plans. All I had to do was pack and go.

Only problem was, as I got home from work, I sat down. It was all I truly wanted to do, yet the worst possible course of action. I even put the tele on, as “background noise” I told myself, and then sat, listening to the rain pour down onto my kitchen roof. The enthusiasm drained from me, as slowly I packed, and wondered if I should just sit there, and go tomorrow, if at all. Then my phone made a noise…

It was the one person I’d asked was free, texting me in reply. She was looking for someone to share the petrol costs to the lakes, but offered me a bed for the weekend. Suddenly my enthusiasm came back, probably from the idea of not having to pitch a tent in the pissing rain, and within twenty minutes, I was en route to Leeds. The Lakes would have to wait, again.

I made it there pretty late, but that didn’t stop us from chewing the fat for a few hours, hanging on the fact the clocks were going back. I was quite glad of that too, as my extensive lie in didn’t waste the whole day. In fact, we managed that all by ourselves! After much debate, I decided to enjoy Leeds 50m swimming pool, while my hosts went slacklining in a nearby park. I was led to believe I would be stunned when I first saw it, but my first reaction was “that’s not that big!” With a slight sneer.

That was before I got in, though, and I soon found doing a length utterly exhausting. It brought me back to earth with a bit of a thump, after my ego in the pool had begun to grow, and while my two attempts at IM (fly, back, breast then crawl) didn’t go as badly as in the gala (see previous entry) they both resulted in a panting, wheezing idiot arriving after one length, too knackered to carry on.

I even tried to set a new PB for 50m freestyle, expecting to take several seconds off my time with not having to stop and turn round, but completely underestimated the advantage of kicking off the wall and could only match my gala time. After 45 minutes, I decided I had suffered enough; both from following other members of the public (two of which in my lane were doing breast-stroke in spectacles…) And from embarrassment after trying a tumble turn far too far from the end and performing a rather hefty kick, only to find the wall out of reach… I’d have got away with the latter if not for a class of kids next to me who could easily keep up with me going flat out. I’m sure I’d have heard sniggering if the blood wasn’t pumping through my ears so loud. Besides, I was going climbing afterwards and didn’t want to exhaust myself too much.

So I met up with Beth and Dan, who had become distracted wandering around a new found park, and not getting round to any slacklining, and went to Leeds Wall, unusually with the emphasis being on leading and not bouldering. After all, I’m still sporting that hamstring injury from a few weeks back (almost healed) while Dan is yet to fully recover from a finger-tendon problem from a month ago.

After the usual questions, and having to clearly demonstrate the knot used to tie in (explaining a stopper on a figure of eight apparently wasn’t good enough, to which I took umbrence so demonstrated an Edwards Bowline, a real knot, not one I made up) we were downstairs, trying to remember which part of the harness goes at the front… Once again, I got on the lead, for the second time in a week, hitting 6a as a first route and having no problems and actually quite enjoying it. My companions also seemed quite content, and before long, we were sat on the bouldering mat, feeling rather exhausted. We did try a few boulder problems, granted, but the leg still gave some problems, and I’m being very cautious not to aggravate a problem that has the potential to continue for a few months.

Since I’ve started writing this, we’ve come home and had a lovely European style dinner of pasta, pesto, veg and chorizo, and are now curling up before a roaring fire, Dan whittling sticks and me playing guitar. As for Monday, I have no idea, but my anger seems to have subsided somewhat, and I’m returning to whatever state of normal I had before, right on time to return home. I’m not planning on going away again before Christmas, but let’s not count it out.


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