Walking Home by Simon Armitage

Walking Home by Simon Armitage

Author:Simon Armitage [Simon Armitage]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9780571284023
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Published: 2013-08-13T16:00:00+00:00


Today’s walk, or at least the first half of it, is reckoned by many to be the most pleasant and least taxing section of the whole trail, a saunter through pretty Teesdale along the banks of the Tees, with no route-finding difficulties whatsoever and several picturesque and iconic landmarks to tick off along the way. That’s a relief, given that I’m still reeling from what happened on Cross Fell. On the other hand it’s going to give my wife and daughter, walking with me today, the impression that for the last nine days I’ve done nothing more than wander through buttercup meadows from one public house to the next, making friends and showing off along the way and being paid for the privilege. To counter that notion, I go through an elaborate performance before breakfast, pulling heaps of filthy clothes from the Tombstone, describing to my wife how and where each garment came to be blackened, bloodied or saturated, and giving a mile-by-mile, blow-by-blow account of my most hair-raising experiences thus far. But she pulls back the curtains and the sun is blazing across the valley, and in a T-shirt and trainers she waits for me in the car park while I tie the very long laces of my very big boots and secure all toggles and zips. My daughter has also taken the casual rather than cautious approach, and strides out ahead of us in pink leggings, white iPod earphones, a pair of canvas shoes that are not far from being slippers, and a vest. Her coat, which she wears tied around her waist, was given to her by a man called Charles in a pub car park in West Yorkshire, who also gave me several items of clothing made entirely from organic, natural fibres to ‘trial’ during my walk, including a very nice fleece, a luminous orange anorak and a top made out of recycled wood chippings. The exchange, even though it had been pre-arranged and was all above board, must have looked very suspicious from the street, with two cars pulling up boot to boot, two strangers shaking hands, one man producing a range of clothes from the back of his car while the other man and his daughter tried them on, followed by another handshake and the vehicles shooting off in opposite directions. Even though she wears it around her middle rather than in the prescribed manner, my daughter was particularly thrilled with her acquisition when she learned that it was ‘bombproof’. Army green and slightly sinister-looking, it’s made from a fabric called Ventile, developed in the Second World War for pilots at risk of being shot down over the sea. When it becomes wet the cotton in it expands, making it waterproof, apparently. It is also windproof and much coveted by ‘bushcraft’ people who need to sneak up on birds and animals, because it doesn’t rustle. Modelling it in the car park outside the Co-op that day, my daughter had the look of a special



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