We walked until we found a patch of woods to settle in for the night.
“I’ve got all sorts for dinner. I’ll pick some nettles to go with it.” Miranda said moving towards a clump of nettles.”
“Have you got gloves?” I asked.
“You don’t need gloves, you just have to pick them in the right way.”
I shrugged. I’ve seen the jars full of dried nettles at Miranda’s house and I know she eats them a lot. A short while later Miranda had a bundle of nettles and a blotchy painful looking hand.
“I’ve got antihistamine in my first aid kit if you want some?” I offered.
“That’s ok, I just need… some dock leaves…” she said searching the surrounding vegetation.
We carefully removed all the sticks from the ground and I set up mine and Miranda’s tentas she got out her stove, while Tom and Sama did theirs. I went to move Miranda’s pack to the tent to set out her bed.
“Shit. What have you got in this? I can barely lift it.” Miranda’s pack was far heavier than mine and I hadn’t heard her complain once.
“Well, dinner and breakfast for one thing.” She said coming over and pulling all sorts of food out. “Some lavender oil, a book.” It was clear that there must be quite a lot else.
“Is it not too much?” I asked.
“I can carry quite a lot more than you.” She said.
By the time I finished laying out our beds Miranda had already got the food on and gone for a short walk.
Miranda came back from the undergrowth looking uncomfortable. I gave her a questioning look.
“I just stung my bum.” She confessed as we all burst into laughter.
“Look before you squat!” I called out.
Miranda cooked the nettles with the couscous, vegetables she had brought and sprinkled it with various nuts. It looked wonderful, but the nettles looked rather green still. Being of a cautious nature I watched the others and waited.
“Um, Miranda?” said Sama, slowly opening and closing her mouth with discomfort. “These nettles? Um, they’re a bit, um, stingy.”
The following morning the dawn chorus was amazing. Very loud. So many surreal and different calls. We all stood in silence and listened.
Miranda made porridge. Not the gruel that some children dread, but a porridge that other porridge wants to be when it grows up. Seeds, raw cacao, sliced apple, cinnamon. It was stunning. Last night’s nettles were almost forgotten as we chewed. Almost.
“Wonderful! Thank you Miranda.”
“You’re amazing, thank you.”