"Hill walking?" she asked sharply.
"Do what your body tells you and use your common sense."
That was a relief. But now I am not sure if Common Sense and Body are battling it out between themselves both trying to fool each-other. When I posit a sort of opinion pole on friends and acquaintances by idly sketching out my plans I sense thinly disguised thoughts assessing me as ill-advised, stupid, mad or obsessed beyond help. Well, I'm going anyway.
The complicated medical history of Left Leg has resulted in me having to wear hideous knee length, black compression stockings (forever). At first I thought this would preclude me from my preference for walking in shorts on summer backpacking trips, but then I hit on the idea of knee-length socks to cover the depressingly medical looking blackies.
On Wednesday I was on a mission to purchase long socks and soon discovered two things - firstly, since outdoories stopped wearing breeches back in the fifties long socks are now rare, and secondly there seems to be a dearth of size Large socks in general (I wear size ten to eleven shoes). Gaynors in Ambleside had some monster long socks apparently designed for going to the South Pole, but not in my size anyway, and costing over £20. The Climbers Shop shook their head and advised me to go to a farmers' welly shop. Down the road at Blacks a pleasant young asian girl responded to my request as casually as if I was asking for a loaf in a bread shop - she went straight to a rack and took off a pack of Peter Storm Midweight Knee Length Hiking Socks in a tasteful shade of blue, two pairs for £16. I was well suited.
Earlier at Lakeland Outdoors near Staveley I had had another abortive sock search, but found myself casually looking, with no intention of buying of course, at a good selection of trail shoes. As is often the case prices were not easy to see, but I picked up the pair I thought were most suited for me and then found that my impeccable taste had selected the most expensive ones on the rack, and of course I am now their new owner. Most trail shoes have silly names - Trail Blaster, Ventilator, Quadra, Intercept etc., but my new ones are exclusively low profile, just having their brand name alone: Scarpas.
Big Brother, RR, must be anticipated here before he adds a high flown crit. of my addiction to fashionable, pseudo scientifically designed outdoor gear taking precedence over the metaphysical attributes of great open spaces, but my previous footwear has worn out, and even though I am not normally concerned about my appearance from a fashion stance I do not want to be backpacking looking like a model from a medical supplies catalogue.