It’s been a bit quiet here. The front row has been recovering from the camino experience.
The tighthead is currently recovering hard with The Sheep and the Decorator. Were I a betting man, I might suggest that some rugby will be watched and some beers consumed, even as I type. Stu will also complain about the cold one hundred and thirty two times and how hungry he is, eighty four times. (Today).
The loosehead, concerned by slight camino-induced weight loss, resolved to bulk up. After a month’s solid, non-stop eating, the concern has lessened, particularly as he can no longer see his feet.
The hooker. Last we heard, the Duck was in remarkable form, having greatly enjoyed the camino. Naturally, his reaction to walking one hundred and twenty miles in six days was…to go for a walk.
Delighted though we are that the Duck has been ‘en vacances’ with his charming son Leon, Laurent is in sole possession of the vast majority of the photographs – some of which, we rather hoped to share here. Carrier pigeons and bounty hunters have been despatched.
This picture is from day one, our passage along the route Napoleon through the Pyrenees. At this point, it is fair to say there were some gritted teeth. The enormity of what we were taking on was hitting home. Stu, obviously, stayed behind me at points like this, well away from any drop-offs.
At the summit, it was cold and wet. We had passed through the clouds, and the wind was icy. It really felt like the roof of the world.
The descent into Roncesvalles is steep and many of the surfaces are loose. Rain doesn’t help. I was thankful that none of us was carrying any injuries.
“Ah boys. I forgot.”
“Did you hear that Stu? He didn’t swear.” (I really am that annoying.)
“If I fall, and there is any bruising or bleeding – you must take me immediately to the hospital.”
Stu and I looked at each other, and then surveyed the stark emptiness all around.
“Why?” We chorused.
“Ah…I don’t know. Something to do with the f*****g drugs they give me?”
“Anti coagulant?” I ventured.
“Yes. That’s it.”
I counted to ten in my head.
“Right. So, as we tackle these vertiginous scree drops, we should keep in mind that should the Duck go arse over tit and cut himself, he will bleed to death all over us.”
The props shared a look and put their heads together.
We tacked down the hill, looking to all the world like skiers with no skis and no snow.
Later, as we waited for dinner, the Duck asked,
“What did you two say at the top of the hill?”
“Ah, nothing Laurent. We tried to imagine what Terry would have advised us to do.”
“Mais Non! Put***. What did you decide?”
“If he dies, he dies.” We answered in unison, raising our glasses to him.
“Bunch of c****” he replied with a laugh.