My wife generously loves to give me things – frostbite for instance… Cuddling her in bed is akin to being molested by a giant arctic squid.
It might be a while since I went to school, but aren’t humans supposed to be warm-blooded?… and when I said “I do” all those years ago, I’m sure I didn’t agree to marry a member of the X-Men. If I had, I would have picked one with a useful superpower, and not just someone with cryogenic arse cheeks.
I’m going to get her fitted with a lorry beeper, so when we’re in bed, I know when she reverses those Titanic killers towards me; she might look sexy in her Victoria’s Secrets, but they don’t provide much thermal shock protection.
I emailed Bear Grylls asking if he’d spooned a polar bear, but he just told me to man-up and sent me a link to the Damart Thermals site.
an offer i couldn’t refuse
One summer Sunday morning, I was woken up by Angela nuzzling up to me.
Going by where she placed her hand, it could have been for one of three of reasons:
- Her cryogenic brass monkey trick
- An opportunity for me to burn 100 calories, rollover, fart, and fall asleep again
- An ‘insurance policy‘ for an idea she had
Unfortunately, it was the latter… and she asked a rhetorical question…
Angela: Do you fancy a pub walk?
My Brain: [WOO HOO! – the pub’s only 2 minutes away]
Me: Thats a great idea darling
Angela: We need to set off soon
My Brain: [bless her, she’s mixed up the big hand and little hand again]
Me: I love your enthusiasm darling, but the pub doesn’t open for another 2 hours
Angela: We’re going to North Yorkshire
My Brain: [MAYDAY MAYDAY]
Angela: The countryside is beautiful
My Brain: [or… we could stay here and Google pictures of Kylie]
Me: I’ve got important work to do darling
Angela: You need the exercise
My Brain: [whoa – now it’s personal insults fat boy]
Me: I’ll wait for you in the pub
(at this point she invoked the insurance policy and her grip tightened)
Angela: Do you ever want sex again?
My Brain: [TELL HER WE SURRENDER]
Me: Well, if you put it like that dearest, I’d love to go on a pub walk with you…
It’s a well known fact that I’m not a great fan of exercise, and it’s Angela’s fault we live in a stupid three story house in the first place. All I’d wanted was a bungalow with an adjoining garage and parking space next to the divan. Instead, I’ve got a hundreds of feckin stairs to climb every night.
In fact, the only good thing about living in a tall house is the entertainment value watching the short-legged mutt zig-zag up the stairs.
Last year Angela came home unexpectedly and found me with another woman… “GET OUT OF HERE” she yelled… “HE DOESN’T NEED A BLOODY STAIR LIFT”. The Stannah sales rep left clutching her sales brochures.
I’d like to point out I don’t actually need a stair lift, I’m just allergic to exercise. In fact, I still work out in a morning, but that’s mainly so i can outrun Kylie’s guard dogs.
But this was just a pub walk, how bad could it be? The problem was neither the word ‘pub‘, nor ‘walk’, were actually true, it would have been fairer if she’d said “we’re off on a refreshment free assault course“.
I haven’t been that gullible since we first met – she said she could cook, but to be fair, I told her I did DIY too.
Angela had already picked a destination somewhere in the middle of deepest darkest Yorkshire – the part where only professional walkers go.
You can recognise real walkers by their floppy hats, pointy sticks, and liking for drab colours. They usually have access to a laminator too, going by the plasticy shit dangling around their necks.
A couple of walkers turned up in Hornsea last summer… I’m not sure why they brought ski poles though, Hornsea is as flat as a fart, and snow in June is unlikely even here.
We do get a few large beach bathing tourists, maybe their pointy sticks double-up as harpoons?
Last year was quite sad; The RSPCA attempted to re-float a big girl from Leeds – They reckon she wouldn’t have drown if she’d just let go of her Greggs meat pie.
Its never a great start to a journey when the satnav refuses to go with you. The computer said no… It had no clue where the pub was, so I ended up searching my car for my AA road map.
I’m old school, so I keep stuff in the boot of my car ‘just in case’. This was the moment that justified years of transporting all that useless weight around, and for once, I don’t mean the dog.
The old road map hadn’t seen the light of day for many years, It smelt musty, was well thumbed, and some of the pages were stuck together – it reminded me of my Kylie calendar.
It turns out the pub was near a place called Wass… That was quite a coincidence as I was already wishing I ‘Wass’ back in bed googling, but Angela wasn’t taking no for an answer.
With the damp smelling map in hand, we pointed the car North West and set off…
An hour and a half later we were still bloody driving – our ‘pub walk’ had morphed into a road trip. That wasn’t the worst thing though, Angela was navigating from a paper map – that’s never a good thing. Past experience has shown there was a distinct possibility one of us would be walking home or they’d be searching for a shallow grave.
There is only one thing worse than Angela’s map reading ability – and that’s mine. My crappy navigation technique even has a name – ‘Infinite number of monkeys‘, which also explains the correlation between my petrol bills and blood pressure.
To compound matters further, Angela has trouble giving directions, so now, instead of “no the other left“, we use “go watch” or “go bracelet”. Granted, there’s a slight delay while she glances at her wrists, but apart from that, it generally works.
Unfortunately, her advanced warnings are just as useless… If we’re approaching a waypoint, she will point her finger in the general direction of the junction and say “go that way“… Now bear in mind I’m sat four feet to the right of her trying not to kill us, and not in a position to close one eye and look down the length of her index finger attempting to see the subtle 5 degree nuances its pointing at… From every other road users viewpoint, my last minute chaotic watch/bracelet cornering leaves a lot to be desired.
As time went on, my driving got more reckless – just like my choice in navigators. The road became a blur, and the corners tried to kill us – it was like being on a Spanish water park slide.
The roads had high hedges that were just wide enough to get through, assuming you’re not precious about keeping the paint on your wing mirrors. The good news was it was a bit like having the bumpers up when you go ten pin bowling – even with my crap driving, crashing the car into a field would have been tricky.
Fortunately, there wasn’t a lot of other road users. Traffic generally consisted of kamikaze farmers or suicidal rabbits; every blind bend brought the risk of one of them going over, or under your car…
I like bunnies, but not when they’re shrink wrapped around your exhaust pipe.
Angela’s driving is a lot like mine – random… Whenever I’m driving home, I worry that I might meet her coming the other way… I guarantee that one of us will end up using the number plate to plough a field.
one of our pubs is missing
Eventually, we located the pub – the starting point for the walk. We arrived a little late, 20 years too late to be precise. It wasn’t a pub anymore, in fact it hadn’t actually been a pub for any part of this century.
This screwed the plan… Not that we actually had a plan, but I did assume that we could purchase a few survival rations – maybe a latte and some nuts – especially as I hadn’t gotten either in bed that morning.
An equipment check revealed all we had was a flat iPhone, a guide book, and a handbag just big enough for her emergency lipstick.
I don’t ‘do’ walking… If I have to walk anywhere, I expect food, water, and a satellite phone… I wouldn’t say no to Sherpas and Red Cross food drops either
The only preparation I’d done was to bring along my wallet. Funnily enough, that’s how Angela prepares too – by bringing my wallet.
We were not exactly dressed for a hike – Bear Grylls would have been mortified. Angela’s walking gear consisted of her all-terrain flip flops and a boob tube. Plus, with my pale blue-white legs, bald head, and no sunscreen – I would shortly look like a Japanese flag.
I also had my brand new trainers on. Up until this point I wasn’t worried about them – what were the odds on getting them dirty walking across a pub car park?
We’re about to journey through strange foreign lands, with no compass, inappropriate clothing, no comms, and a feckin useless dog. We can’t even speak the lingo – have you ever tried talking to a Yorkshire farmer? What the hell does ‘ee-by-gum’ actually mean?
At this point I heard a strange ‘hmmm-hmmm-hmmm‘ noise, and then realised it was coming from me.
I contemplated leaving the keys in the car’s ignition – at least someone would get some use out of it after I’d been beaten to death by a flip-flop on a remote hill.
It turns out that the dodgy guide book was supplied by my father-in-law. He’s a true Yorkshireman, which translates as ‘he really likes bargains‘; The book might have been old, but I guarantee he STILL negotiated a discount. Some of the pages had gone missing too – I’m guessing Noah might have ripped them out when he designed his boat.
Each featured pub walk had a description of the area, and a few instructions saying which way to turn. Angela excitedly piped up with “look, there’s a map too”… I looked… Ordnance Survey would have been horrified… It was less ‘map’ – more sketch with ‘here ye be monsters’.
My feeling of impending doom intensified when I saw Angela staring intently at the map – she began twirling it around like a majorette on acid obviously trying to work out which way was up.
This journey clearly wasn’t going to end well, but by agreeing to this madness I had clearly lost my mind, so the rest of me might as well join in too.
As we set off I realised in horror that I hadn’t actually read the guide book, I was completely relying on Angela’s ability to interpret out-of-date navigational instructions and her random finger pointing.
Although I breathed a sign of relief when I saw she was wearing her watch and bracelet, those immortal words of Private Fraser from Dads Army sprang to mind…
The books instructions were somewhat vague… It said things like “follow the road around the profound bend”… What the feck is a ‘profound bend‘? I’ve used a few dodgy travel adjectives before, (usually when I’m gripping the seat belt and Angela’s driving) but I’ve never used that particular one to describe a corner.
We were already screwed, and we’d only go to the first waypoint. Nevertheless, Angela’s enthusiasm, and complete disregard for my safety drove us onward.
Our next waypoint was “Go past the new housing development on your right”… Hmmm… A navigation reference based on the age of a building in a conservation area – WHERE ALL THE FECKIN HOUSES HAVE TO LOOK THE SAME!
ayup luv, theear be strange folk owt ‘ere.
As we stood there trying to work out what to do next, I saw the curtains twitching – the locals weren’t the best looking people – the village could definitely do with DNA refresh. It certainly wasn’t the type of place you knock on the door and ask for a drink – they might ask if ‘O negative’ was ok.
I’m guessing they were trying to work out what the strangers were doing in their village… They probably didn’t recognise us as pub walkers – probably because we didn’t have any dangling laminates and there WEREN’T ANY FRIGGIN PUBS NEARBY…
After we’d left the village of the damned, Angela informed me the next stretch had a bog. Although I was disappointed by her choice of language, I was pleased that I could go for a pee, and I certainly hadn’t wanted to get my tackle out surrounded by the cast from ‘The League of Gentlemen”.
Unfortunately I had misconstrued her vernacular and almost lost one of my new trainers in the bog of eternal stench.
As if the lack of directions and equipment wasn’t bad enough, we also had the mutt with us. Of course the ‘dog’ isn’t really a dog…
Angela insisted the thing had to be carried at various points of the journey; reasons included: “there are too many brambles”, “It’s too hilly”, “she looks tired”, “she might fall down a hole” (I’m just not that lucky).
She kept asking me if the dog was alright – I couldn’t hear it whining, so I assumed it was ok behind me. Unfortunately I had forgotten it had stumps for legs and it was stuck in mud about a hundred yards behind us.
It was floundering like a BMW on a beach… the wheels were moving but nothing was happening – like Angela trying to do a crossword.
I was quite pragmatic, and said “Oh well, never mind, we can go get a proper dog now”, but I was dragged back to where the bog monster was stuck.
I found a long stick so I could ‘rescue it’ with from the safety of dry land, but I got the look from Angela – the only thing colder than her arse is her stare… Hmmm… That would be a ‘no’ to using the stick then… Instead, my trainers and T shirt were sacrificed to the mud gods.
In case of emergency I had memorised some Korean Shih Tzu recipes, but the mutt didn’t look appetising – it was covered in crap. In fact, with all the mud and sticky burrs in her fur I could have stuck it to the wall – like a hookers knickers on a good night.
The next little directional gem on our ‘pub walk’ was “go past the observatory”… I didn’t need Brian Cox to tell me they don’t build observatories near nice convenient pubs… they tend to build them near the tops of feckin hills where there is: A) less light pollution and B) fewer hikers in flip flops.
The hill that we had to climb wasn’t too high, however we struggled to find the top. (I have been strongly advised by the person who had the map to say that these minor navigational errors were no ones fault).
It turns out this particular observatory was protected by trees and shrubbery that Sleeping Beauty’s Wicked Witch would have been proud of. At times, I was wading nipple deep through pointy, stingy foliage that fairy tales are written about. I was scratched and scraped just like the wing mirrors earlier…
I bet she hadn’t even done a risk assessment – there could have been anything wandering these woods.. wolves… bears… tigers… Maybe this was revenge for me putting bacon in her rucksack when we were in Yosemite. I don’t know why she got so upset though, the bear didn’t get anywhere near her.
When the architect designed our old house, he must have stuck the blueprints to the fridge door and got them mixed up with his kids ‘school art‘ – it was so square and boring it looked like a kindergarten lego house…
To make matters worse, Angela painted the inside of our house yellow – even the ceiling… It was like living in a giant block of Edam. I knew Angela liked her wine and cheese – this probably explained why she bought wine by the box too.
One day – in our block of cheese, we had an argument about some wall photos. Angela got arsy, stormed off, and then returned with a claw hammer. Even for Angela, clubbing me to death seemed a bit of an overreaction to some photos she didn’t like.
To make her point, in her angry strop she proceeded to rip out the picture hooks from the walls – not just from one wall, but from the entire house…
But her retaliation spectacularly backfired when the plaster came away with the picture hooks; and she didnt have the right paint to touch up the holes in walls again. She had to repaint the entire house, and I laughed all the way to Hull Royal Infirmary…
When we got to the base of the observatory, Angela had another ‘picture hook’ moment, but this time a grin appeared. She looked at me, then the roof, then me again… it suddenly felt like I’d stumbled into an assassin’s convention… She’d already killed my trainers, now she was after the bits north of my ankles.
She suggested we climb the stairs up to the roof – “to get a better view“, but she said it in a kind of ‘with some fava beans and a nice Chianti’ way.
Like our old house, the observatory could best be describes as functional, and. It was about forty feet tall with a door at the bottom.
I estimated that (with Angela’s assistance) the return journey from the top of the tower would take me around 1.4s at 29 feet per second.
At this point I wished I was wearing ruby slippers – but all I had was some ruined Reeboks…
Luckily for me, the tower door was locked…
Just like my previous relationship, the journey ended with a descent down a steep slippery slope and some tears. My new trainers were ruined, and Angela was filthy, but not in the 100 calories way….
happy I’m alive
I like the simple things in life, I even have a calculation for being happy if I’m forced into the great outdoors…
Happiness=(RxM)/P, where R=risks, M=miles walked, and P=pints consumed.
Before we had set off, and In my naivety, I had assumed the only risk would be if Pints >2 and Angela had to drive the car – I never thought the Risks would also include swamps, freaky natives, and demonic shrubbery.
…and everyone knows that trying to divide by zero screws up your calculator – it creates an error, in the same way walking 10 feckin Miles with no pubs does.
But yet again, and despite Angela’s best efforts – I survived. I didn’t drown, get eaten by critters, or fall from a high tower, and I put the old guide book to use again – to light the funeral pyre for my trainers.
(P.S. I’m hoping to get her a job with the Environmental Agency – with her arse, they could solve global warming overnight.)