Monday, 4 October 2010

Last night we went to a great party at Dave and Karen's lovely house, can't remember where it was. Ken and Jenny were there and we met lots of others who we had never seen before. Dave cooked a first class meal as I chatted to him in the kitchen, hardly noticing the red wine going down. Bonti and I were well oiled and so grateful to Beverley for driving us home.

So surprising then, with our sore heads, that Bonti and I set off down to Haweswater bright and early this morning, to do the little walk up to Small Tarn. I didn't need a map, after all I had been there before. Off we went, up the clear path to the left, not realising until much later that we should have gone right. We slowly wound our way up the steep tracks, all the time wondering where Small Tarn had got to. We even gave another couple advice on which way to go, apparently sending them straight over a cliff. We entered the cloud base and the wind was howling, the whole hillside became much darker as visibility went down to about 15 feet. We were starting to get a little scared because we didn't have a clue where we were. Suddenly, a dark dog from Satan appeared in front of us and we thought, this is it, we are dead! We could only see his dark silhouette in the mist and his heavy pant as he bounded towards us out of the mist. I was trying to decide whether to throw my daughter at him, maybe giving one of us the chance of escape. But it turned out to be a black labrador called Monty, who started to lick us to death! He's owner appeared, an old man with a stick who was very amused that we were lost. We asked him where Small Tarn was, and just as the words came out, the clouds opened, as if God had drawn a curtain back, revealing Small Tarn, about 1,000 feet below us. "That's it down there", he said. We looked and saw it for about 10 seconds before God drew the curtain and it was gone! That's the only time we saw it, after the 2 mile walk turned into 7, taking us up 1,600 feet. There was a direct path down, but we simply couldn't find it in the thickening mist, and even if we had, it was going to be very steep. We said goodbye to the old guy and Monty (son of Satan!), and headed back the way we had come, only 3.5 miles to base camp! On the way back I found the couple who I had directed over the cliff and luckily they had stopped for thought at the edge. I apologised and said how glad I was that they were safe, explaining the dangers of taking advice from complete strangers, who might even be dyspraxic. Bonti struggled down, her ankle giving her a lot of discomfort from a metal plate that she had inserted after an accident a few years ago. She braved it though, I was proud of her and she didn't complain more than a dozen times.

After a morning like that, I was raring to go, having expedition planning at 2 p.m. But as soon as I hit an area where my phone was with signal, the messages started to come through. The Hospital, Radio Cumbria and several others all related to a renowned specialist in Prostate Cancer, David Baxter-Smith, who is visiting Cumbria right now. If you want to listen, he is on at 11.40 a.m. tomorrow morning on BBC Radio Cumbria. As a result of conversations that followed, I am meeting him tomorrow night at a support meeting in Carlisle. I had to miss Uni this afternoon, but this was too important to pass by. This could be of help to me, but I am determined to get a better support network going in Cumbria, and to do this, sacrifices have to be made.

Hope Paul has taken some notes for me today.




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