Wednesday 11 January 2023

Turn On Tune In Drop Out


The usual thing to do in a walking blog at this time of year is to review the previous year and map out some plans for the rest of this year. Whereas I do have some plans (TGO Challenge (again)), bag some more hills, walk about a lot etc.), I'm not going to do that.

In fact, I'm not entirely sure how to express just what it is I want to express, So this blog post will be a kind of exploration of whatever it is that's been tickling my mind bollox over the recent Christmas period and beyond, in a retrospective sort of way. To put things into perspective, I am now 71 years old with a dicky ticker, type 2 diabetes and a lump in my thigh where a lump shouldn't be, caused by slipping on some wet grass a few years ago and detaching a muscle, which has now disappeared somewhere into my leg, leaving a bump. The leg seems to function well without that particular lump of meat, except that occasionally, such as if I attempt a particular contortion, it hurts. 

I suppose the idea is that, whilst I've had a very long hill-walking career so far - the first entry in my walking log being at Easter 1964 (I believe this qualifies as a long time), at 71, as Mr McCartney indicated in the song "Two of Us" on the Let It Be album, "You and I have memories, longer than the road that stretches out ahead" The "you" being everybody else and LTD that I regularly walk with. To be fair, it's more relevant to Lucky The Dog, who's future is much much shorter than his past. (This is what happens with pet dogs - he's my 5th or 6th)  Basically, This Can't Go On Much Longer, at least not as long as everything that went before - all that getting lost, setting off on an unknown journey with butterflies rampaging around the innards, being too knackered to think straight, being hungry and wet and cold and hot... and all that......

It's the time of year when people plan ahead and, sometimes, make a list. When time is predictably very short, a bucket list may be drawn up. my old dog Bruno the Superdawg had such a bucket list in his final few weeks of life, at least until he couldn't do any more.  I'm not ready for a bucket list just now (phew).  But predictable time is on a countdown, maybe longer than I suspect, potentially a lot shorter, should I, or the wagon driver about to pull out into lane two  briefly lose concentration on the A1(M) the ability to wander up some contours could be seriously inhibited. So,  Stuff has to be Got On With. And the stuff I'd specially enjoy getting on with, so I have come to realise, doesn't really involve anybody else, other than the dog.

I'm not going to abandon any friends or the Ramblers (at least not yet) but it's not really possible to Turn On, Tune In and Drop Out with chatter going on, or discussions about The Route, or people who don't want to stop and have a look at nothing in particular when I do want to stop and have a look, or people who do want to stop when I don't. And people need to be spared the skinny-dip in a deep, green pool on a hot day.  Or people getting scared and twitchy when it goes dark. All that stuff.
So, this year's TGO challenge will be entirely solo and, should I be spared, and the TGO challenge continues,  so will the next two TGO challenges. And so will the long, dawn to dusk walks in the summer. There will be much sitting about. Larks, meadow pipits, curlew and snipe will be allowed to entertain me and there will be snoozing. LTD enjoys a snooze. Snoozes near waterfalls are particularly enjoyable.  There will be long, dark and windy winter nights in little tents, parked in sheltered spots, not far from streams of clean mountain water. This is what I want to do.
At the moment it's chucking it down outside, so the main motivation is to light the fire and drink hot tea, maybe, even have Just The One McVities digestive, as LTD snores and emits noxious gasses close by. But quite soon, I'll be off on a short backpacking trip, probably just a bit up Weardale. I'll tell myself that it's training for the TGO challenge. I might do a blog post.


Dawn said...

You have done darned well Mike. We had some good times together, I have much to thank you for. Your support, patience and tolerance of my daft ways and encroaching Parkinson's were above and beyond. Have a good TGO. You have the advantage over many, the experience of many years on the hill. Sorry to hear that lump is playing up again, not good. Will be watching to see how things go with.

Mike Knipe said...

Well, we can still have a day out and some bits of camping - or even a hobbit hole, Dawn (have a look at "The Quiet Site".)

Dawn said...

Those hobbit holes look interesting Mike, book marked it.

Quinn said...

Glad to see a post from you, Mike. I relate to much of what you've written, though I've not had your long history of walks and hikes and camping. I have, however had a nearly as long a history. And when I lost Piper, my walking companion, in August 2020, the Walking for Pleasure stopped, because for years walking involved pushing through pain for the pleasure of being in the woods with my hound. The unallowed pleasure was Piper's and I was happy to try to provide it. She had a good long innings, and after a truly horrendous early puppyhood was with me for all the rest of her 17 years of The Good Life. I am just now beginning to think about having another dog.

Mike Knipe said...

Ah yes, Quinn - losing a dog is the worst thing, and after 17 years (remarkable age for a dog)....... I'm not sure what I'd do when the inevitable happens to LTD since there's always a danger of outliving the pooch. I've always got another dog. I may be on my 6th... probably get an old codger.... one that will lick my feet.... (blech)

John J said...

I totally get your thought / planning process, advancing years are having a similar effect (or should that be affect?) on me.

I've only recently come to realise that unless do things NOW, there's more of a chance, by delaying things, they may not happen at all. That stark realisation came as quite a shock.

And another thing...doing the TGO Challenge entirely solo is an almost impossible task - but you already know that, and that's why you do it.

See you up a hill sometime.

Mike Knipe said...

Eyyup John- There's very (very) few people whom I'd do a TGO challenge with, and you're one of the few. I did really enjoy the two we did. But I'm not so sure about your final sentence in our comment. I have done quite a bunch/most of my TGO challenges entirely solo and it's very possible, although sometimes, somebody tags along for a bit. But they have no influence whatever on whatever it is I decide and, I must admit to escaping a few people from time to time.... and sometimes I do follow a suggestion. But I need to do the final three under my own steam with my own routes and my own decisions, and taking absolute responsibility for whatever goes right and whatever goes wrong.