Monday, April 02, 2007

let me take you up the Hardknott Pass

I bought a Freeview box the other day - specifically a Philips DTR 210, £39 in Tesco in Cardiff. I could have got one for about £10 less, but I paid the extra for a manufacturer I'd actually heard of. Got it home, plugged it in, worked straight out of the box, bish bosh, sorted. Within an hour I was watching adverts for a toaster-shaped rotisserie delivered by a caricature fat Italian in a chef's hat. Apparently, if you can toast, you can roast. Genius.

Anyway, the reason I mention this is that this allows me access to a whole world of new channels, some of them rubbish (like the rotisserie channel, for instance), but some of them quite good, like for instance BBC4. On which there was an interesting documentary this evening about Alfred Wainwright, the Lakeland guidebook author. Anyone who's done any walking up in the Lakes will have come across the books; I've got a couple myself, and while they're exceptionally good as walking guides in their own right, they're also works of art.

It's a uniquely and quintessentially British story - mild-mannered accountant trapped in unhappy marriage seeks an outlet to a) escape from the wife b) wear himself out c) sublimate and suppress his sexual desires, and takes himself off (on the bus) in tweed suit and hobnailed boots to map every last inch of the Lakeland fells over a meticulously planned 13-year period. Then again if it hadn't been for old Alf's unfulfilling sex life there would have been no books, and scores of hillwalkers would be wandering around lost on top of Great Gable right now.

Anyone wanting to pay the ultimate tribute should note that AW's ashes are scattered on top of Haystacks in the western Lakes. Though he's probably been grazed up and crapped out by sheep multiple times by now. Still, it's what he would have wanted.


The Black Rabbit said...

I hope it was the "Swaledale" sheep who grazed him up and crapped him out. Now that is what AW would have wanted.

Ps, the book "Wainwright in Scotland" is first class too. I own that one.

electrichalibut said...

Ah well, if it was me I'd want it to be a Herdwick. Though admittedly which breed of sheep I most want to be excreted by isn't something that I've given a great deal of though to.

electrichalibut said...

I mean "thought to". Damn these big sausagey fingers.