Thursday 19 March 2009

Confessions of a Reluctant Mountaineer

MissM and MrsM are in an Outward Bound shop.
They are surrounded by fleeces
and high visibility waterproofs
and carabiner displays.
They are outside their comfort zone.
The sock display fills them with gloom.

But..what is this?..
a very thin man wearing at least two fleeces
and some climbing leggings has come to help.

Errr...I wonder if you could advise us on socks?

Scary, Thin Man
You won't be wanting those socks that you are holding
they are No Good.

MrsM looks down and sees to her surprise
that she is holding four pairs of socks
on a two-for-one offer.

Scary, Thin Man
Where are you going?


Scary, Thin Man
You will be needing these socks
which have superior wicking
and are padded around the foot
with close knit stitching
to maintain the shape.
These are superb socks
especially for transitional weather conditions
with all the features you would expect
from the advances in textile technology.
They will last a lifetime.


do we need a liner?

Scary, Thin Man
Definitely not!
That is an Old Fashioned Attitude.
If you wear a liner
you will not get
The Benefit of The Sock

Can we have four pairs?

Scary, Thin Man
Four pairs?
Are you going for a month?
No! Two pairs will be more than enough.

MrsM is crushed by her own ignorance
but comforted by the knowledge
that MissM will get The Benefit of the Sock
all the way up Snowdon
and all the way down.


Unknown said...

Who knew that socks were that important and high tech.It would be out of my comfort zone as well. Although fleece is my cold weather fabric of choice :)

What an adventure, the highest mountain in Wales! Have fun Miss M!

Lynn said...

It's all about the wicking, isn't it. (Don't feel bad, Alice; I'm still dwelling back in the sock liner days myself.)

P.S. I'm a bit sad that you didn't manage any surreptitious photos of the Scary Overzealous Terribly Earnest Thin Sales Guy. But perhaps your Word Picture is enough...

Ali said...

And I thought I was a bossy shp assistant! But you'll be relieved to know I don't wear leggings at work.

Anonymous said...

I think that MissM should take comfort from her successful assault on Mt Etna last year, albeit a little underequipped except for the Percy Pigs.

kristina said...

Very impressed with Miss M's proposed adventure. I'm scared of heights! But I do get The Benefit of The Sock under my wellies in the allotment in the winter :) K x

Unknown said...

All this high tech outdoor gear is very daunting - so much technical stuff to take in - and so many recent developments in the technology I think even people fully versed in it all might find it difficult to keep abreast of things - plus there's nothing more uncomfortable than shopping for something you're unsure of the facts about. However I feel Miss M will be just fine with the socks - she seems to have had advice of the highest standard - anyone in two fleeces and leggings in such an establishment can't be far wrong :o) I wish her good weather for her trip

dottycookie said...

Hope Miss M has a wonderful time on Snowdon. I can vouch for The Sock - well, a Similar Sock. I doubt mine would last a lifetime. In fact I'm not sure I'd want to meet a sock that *had* lasted a lifetime ...

trash said...

perhaps if the thin sock hawking man upped his calorific intake and wore proper trousers he would need to wear fewer items of clothing inside a building. He won't get the benefit of all those fleeces when he steps out into the cold you know.

Miss M, I hope you are listening!!

silverpebble said...

Gracious me, I rather feel that scary man may feel The Benefit Of A Course in People Skills.

nikinpos said...

Wow, so much socknology! I regularly climb mountains in jeans and trainers, but have been debating whether the tourists in their hiking outfits know something I dont know!

blackbird said...


(Do I keep saying that?)
BTW: My brother is one of those Scary Thin Men. He is a Wilderness Guide and professional Outdoorsman.

Anonymous said...

Alice, who needs socks?

There was a report on Newsnight (BBC2) last evening about the Russian Army. For centuries they have been using "foot cloths" in place of socks (these looked like a large piece of flannel fabric) which you wrap around your feet. The army is now changing to socks and the soldiers are quite upset as they say that the cloths are far more comfortable than socks, you don't get blisters and they can be worn for a week before washing!

So MissM, get thee down to John Lewis for a couple of metres of flannelette. Oh,and enjoy your trip.

The Coffee Lady said...

this is a pattern for you, isn't it - trying to overprovide your offspring with socks

Attic24 said...

Oh Gawd I am almost wetting my pants laughing!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's your use of Capital Letters that did it.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry. The sock will keep her safe.

Curlew Country said...

Oooh I find outdoor shops ever so intimidating! I bet the Kinder Scout trespassers knitted their own socks - hope Miss M's feet are comfy and cosy adn that she sprints up Snowdon.

Really enjoyed catchign up on your last few posts Alice - you do make me smile so much! Thanks


Quinn said...

I love carabiners. I love saying the word "carabiner." The first time I heard the word, I had no idea what a carabiner was, and pictured one of those bullet-belts-across-the-chest things. When I actually saw carabiners on display, it was a bit of a let-down, let me tell you. I've gotten over it now, though, and enjoy carabiners for what they are.

Does it seem that I've used the word "carabiner" overmuch in this post? It's so I could hear it in my head as I type.



Jackie said...

Presumably scary thin man never works up enough of a sweat to warrant a change of sock more than once a week?

Limecat said...

I'm rather sad and know about socks, and waterproofs, and that sort of thing. And don't get me started on boots - walking boots are a science in themselves, even down to how you actually put them on. It's all to do with the placement of the heel.

But let me tell you now - this knowledge will not make you a fearless climber if fearlessness is not already in your nature.

I got halfway up a mountain just opposite Ben Nevis once. All I can remember was saying to my companion, as I stood on a ledge, quivering in fear "this is too high. Can I go home now?"

The hot toddy in the hotel lounge had never tasted so sweet. And I have yet to climb my first Munro (but I will. I promise you).

(previous post deleted because the memory of that day evoked so much residual fear that I got some of my words the wrong way round).

JuliaB said...

May the Sock be with her!! xx

Gina said...

I was terrified of the Scary Thin Man on your behalf... and I didn't even know about sock liners!