“That was a bit of a night.” said Tom as we were all tucking in.
“Why’s that?” asked Miranda.
“Well our tent collapsed and I had to prop it up.”
“Did it?” asked Sama with mild curiosity.
“….” Tom turned slowly to Sama in disbelief.
We were all almost out of water, but it was too early to knock on a house on a Sunday morning. We shared out the water that we had and headed towards the reservoir hoping we would pass another house at a more reasonable time.
Near a large stone bridge a willow tree leaned precariously out over the river. Sama dropped her pack and walked out to the end while the rest of us gratefully took it as the signal for a rest break.
Miranda’s knees seemed to have started giving her trouble. My complaining about my pack and shoulder had begun as we left the pub the day before and it would be fair to say that by this point it was more accurately described as bitching. I was in constant pain and knew that it would be impossible to do the big walk with a pack like this. Every few minutes I was having to stop to lean forward and take the weight off.
Tired of my endless moaning, Miranda said “Come here.” And began to bruskly grab at the different pack straps.
“I’ve already adjusted it, it just doesn’t fit.” I said with petulant indignation.
“Hmmmm.” Miranda doubtfully looked me up and down. “Stand still.” She said sternly. Bracing against me she pulled on the hip straps hard and was able to tighten them another several inches and pull up my pack up so that now the weight sat at my waist and not halfway down my hips.
“OooOOOoooo.” I said. It was immediately clear that this was a lot better. “Ooo, thank you. Sorry about all the moaning. Did I mention I love you and you’re awesome?” My shoulder was still shootingly painful and making nasty crunching noises but the weight was now far better and I endeavoured to not keep mentioning it.
“When we get back, I’m going to go through your pack and see what you’ve got in it.” She said. I nodded meekly.
A horizontally curving willow tree provided seats for us all. I lay down along the lowest curve feeling my back click and aches all over. Sama was already smiling down in the high branches over the river.
“Come on up!” She said to me.
I moved my eyes slightly and nothing else. “I’m fine here. The smiler monkey and the tree sloth.” I covered my eyes with my arm.
We walked around the edge of Farmoor reservoir and through the village where Miranda grew up.
“Strange to see it.” She said as we walked past the house she used to live in.