Today was not an auspicious day (although it was slightly better than yesterday as there was no “half a mouse” at the bottom of the stairs) I started it by sitting in the car for 3 hours and travelling through 7 counties in order to get to Epping. But the weather, the weather was fabulous, I could almost believe that spring is here…the weather did remind me of a very good day in my life.
Haircuts, especially drastic ones, have always been my way of drawing a line under a situation. Usually one I wish to forget. January 2002 found me standing at the top of Guildford High Street with a cold wind blowing through newly bobbed hair and rain gently falling on my cheeks. Alone again, but happy and free. I made a list of things I wanted to do because I wanted to do them: go back to the south pacific, learn scuba diving, spanish, to Salsa, go to south america and hopefully lots of other things some of which wouldn’t begin with “s”.
The next day I read an article in a sunday paper about how it had never been cheaper to go to Japan. Japan ! A place I had been mildly obsessed with for years (I blame childhood reading of Miss Happiness and Miss Flower), kimonos, gravel gardens, cherry blossom, tea, food food food.
Fast forward 2 months and the airline ticket has been bought, yen obtained, accommodation booked and plans made. There are still several weeks to go and I’m in Reading high street on a fine march day (like today in fact) the sky is blue, sun shining but a cold wind, all is green and bursting out yellow and I am in search of decent footwear. My plan was to do a lot of walking if I could to save money and avoid the problematic issue of buying public transport tickets.
In an outdoor gear shop in Reading, a man called Jonno spent an hour selling me footwear and I let him…because it was nice to be so outrageously flirted with (I was recently single and still feeling bruised…despite being free). In the course of the hour he showed me how to lace boots up properly, the importance of good socks, Italian Lasts v German Lasts (german are wider), how a footbed can help with fit…but mostly he talked about the outdoors and about climbing “see these, feel these, these are climbers hands”
Dazed and happy, despite having been relieved of the best part of £100 I stumbled out of the shop with decent footwear and went back to the office where in between phonecalls and letters I sneaked onto the internet to google climbing…and discovered UKC.com and their forums.
Over the course of a few months I discovered some wonderful people many whom (Wingnut, Captain Paranoia, Gingerkate, JayH, Sutty) are still friends today and eventually I bumped into Husband.
Three years to the day that I stumbled into that outdoor shop in Reading and bought my hiking boots, in fact almost to the minute, (12.45pm) Spider entered my life.
The boots may have been expensive but I still have them today and they have never given me blisters. If I hadn’t bought them on the day I did I doubt whether mine and Husband’s path’s would have crossed (despite having lived in the same town some 6 years earlier) and there certainly would not have been Spider.
Never did learn Spanish though…