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At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

My blog nick-name is SIR HUGH. I'm not from the aristocracy - my middle name is Hugh which relates to the list of 282 hills in Scotland compiled by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. I climbed my last one (Sgurr Mor) on 28th June 2009


Thursday, 7 December 2017

Latest "round-up"

“There was a shepherd the other day up at Findon Fair who had come from the east by Lewes with sheep, and who had in his eyes that reminiscence of horizons which makes the eyes of shepherds and of mountaineers different from the eyes of other men.” 
― Hilaire Belloc

Nobody has ever commented on that kind of look in my eyes, but I live in hope.

On my birthday yesterday,  I received an unusual present from son W:  a shepherd's crook. W's thinking was that I would soon progress from crutches to walking stick, but knowing me suspected I would not want to be perceived as a feeble old man needing aid. The crook would provide a clever subterfuge.

Going along with Hilaire I should now have double reason for that look in my eyes, and watch out, any of you lot organising multi-person walks (Martin?); I now have the means to round you up and keep you in check, that is when Knee 2 is back on form after being replaced a few days ago.

I had a look to see if Findon coincided with any of my walks, but sadly not, but for any of you randonneurs marching on the Monarch's Way watch out for shepherds as you sneak through that town.

Exercises are going well, but I am feeling a bit woozy in the mornings, I am still taking pills for another couple of days. I did a nuclear stockpile of food prior to hospital, and installed a new freezer under the stairs to reduce tedious trips to the garage, and that has all worked well, but my stock of tea is diminishing rapidly. I had the dressing changed on Tuesday by the practice nurse and all looks  ok there, and I have an appointment next Tuesday to have the clips removed.

Back to the crook. My Thursday walks with Pete traditionally end up in Café Ambio which is attached to the livestock mart and well frequented by our local farmers. I don't think I would have the bottle to walk in there with my shiny new crook, but it may well get its chance when I am recovered enough to make my trillionth ascent of Arnside Knott.



Fine prose from Hilaire - it flows with a rhythm of delight.


  1. Your crook should be a good conversation-starter! Hope your recovery continues at a speedy pace, with only a modicum of discomfort.

    Should I not pass this way again before the end of the month, I wish you and you extended families a joyful holiday season. May the coming new year be even better than the spent one now passing!

  2. Belloc was very perceptive there. I recognise that look in people who have spent their lives outdoors, with or without sheep. There are several such lovely blokes in my village who mesmerise me in conversation. They never seem to wear spectacles, whether they need them or not, so the effect is so transparent.
    Hence alas you may never achieve that status unless you take to blue tinted contact lenses. No.
    Nevertheless very smart attire in the photo.
    Good progress.

  3. The Crow - Hi Martha. Thank you for your greetings and good wishes and I wish you all the best for the "joyful holiday season" and the New Year.


    Bowland Climber - Yes, it is so true. I hoped the photo had something of the air of self deprecating mediocrity in the dingy hall and with my semi-shambolic appearance.

  4. Looking forward to seeing you with that crook sometime over the Xmas period. Are you around on NYD?

  5. JJ - Good to hear you are back from the other side - a bit of an uncertain place to be these days.


    Phreerunner - no plans yet, but you are always welcome for a brew if I'm around.

  6. Mountaineers (Does anyone still claim to be one?) tend to regard themselves as a race apart, somehow ennobled by scrabbling up Difficults, brought closer to an understanding of all things as a result of edging upwards at weekends, constantly harping on about the metaphorical liens between 5 mm. perlon and the umbilical cord. I know, I was just such a one, striking heroic poses at the foot of climbs I had no intention of ascending and prone to purple-passaging at the drop of a piton. Imagine if shot-putters went on like that, people would, as Thurber puts it, "simply walk away". Thank goodness chronic gout caused me resign my membership.

    Belloc should stick to his last. Brilliant at summarising the ruling classes, as when the Duke addresses Lord Lundy for constantly bursting into tears:

    Sir! you have disappointed us!
    We had intended you to be
    The next Prime Minister but three:
    The stocks were sold; the Press was squared:
    The Middle Class was quite prepared.
    But as it is! . . . My language fails!
    Go out and govern New South Wales!

    Even better in "Do you remember an inn, Miranda?"

  7. RR - I've just watched the first three parts of the new release of The Crown - there is a really cringy scene where Harold MacMillan is addressing the boys at Eton justifying the long imposition of many of our prime ministers coming from that establishment - reminiscent of the Belloc poem you quote.

    Who ended up with our tattered copy of Cautionary Tales for Children, It isn't with me.

  8. Who needs the book? I can quote so many passages by heart (or could - the skill is ebbing) As to:

    The chief addict of Henry King
    Was chewing little bits of string.
    At length he chewed some which tied
    Itself in ugly knots inside

    I worry about giving "addict" that meaning as a noun. Perhaps it's obs.

    Moving on smoothly to:

    Matilda told such dreadful lies
    It made one gasp and stretch one's eyes.

    Many would conclude it's the hard-heartedness of the verses that matters. True. But they would never have survived without impeccable rhymes and rock-solid rhythms.

  9. RR - I researched "addict" and I fear HB was out of order, but I'm all for a bit of poetic licence. I read up on him via Wikipedia. I don't think I would like to have got into a debate with him.

  10. Just catching up with The Crown. It was Anthony Eden who spoke to the Etonians and he can't be blamed. Instead blame the system for allowing 16 out of 42 UK prime ministers to come from Eton. Macmillan was the other moustache who stabbed Eden not in the back but in the front at the beginning of the cabinet meeting. A good strategic decision. Had he waited until the meeting was under way lethargy might have descended, inhibiting all action good or bad.

  11. Happy fifteen days after your birthday! No excuse for being so late (not even the fact that we were travelling back from Spain on the day in question - we had good wifi even crossing the Bay of Biscay), as your birthday is one stored in my head by virtue of falling between my sister's and my gran's.

    I rather like the crook. We noted in norther Spain that there were far more wooden staffs being toted by walkers than modern walking poles, and with or without a crook on the top, they're indisputably more characterful than modern walking poles (although perhaps not quite as practical for all situations).