Getting into gear

I’ve been rummaging around the recesses of my cupboard to extricate reluctant hiking gear. I have only one cupboard, so each foray for long-neglected apparel and apparatus is an exploration in itself and a journey through time. The cupboard is home to beloved ‘stuff’ including my Nana’s old china figurines, some serious DIY implements, an assortment of scuba gear (frequently used), a zumba kit (never used, might use) and a car cleaning kit (never, ever, to be used). I find two Goretex jackets, three pairs of hiking boots, a camel rucksack, a walking pole and Ordnance Survey maps of practically every area of Scotland. I’m filled with joy, briefly, until I realise that I’m fatter and less able than I was in my hiking prime. I try on the boots and only one pair passes the comfort test. If I fully extend the waist toggles of my jackets I can squeeze into them, but I won’t be able to do the layering thing.   That’s OK, because it’s practically summer. (See what I did there? Positive thinking.) Actually, it’s pouring down today and I’m thinking that my scuba gear would be more appropriate, but virtually impossible to get into post- surgery.

So, clothing-wise, I’m not too badly off. The problem is the rucksack – I’m still healing and I can’t wear it yet. This is a dilemma as I like to carry lots of ‘stuff’ with me when walking. Water, food, maps, books, sunglasses (more positive thinking), lip protector, wipes, hairbrush, purse…the entire contents of my handbag really. My only option is to purchase the one accessory that I thought would be forever off my shopping list – a bumbag, or, as the Americans would have it, a fanny pack. (No sniggering). Along with the myriad of pockets I’ve found in my purple Goretex jacket, I should have just enough space for the bare essentials.   The next challenge is how to wear it whilst retaining a modicum of sartorial elegance.

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