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Ancient Feet: 23 - Pheasant, Grouse Or Partridge

When you set out with five mates to walk from one side of England to the other it's the banter which helps to keep your feet going, as Alan Nolan proves in another hilarious account of an unforgettable walk.

To buy a copy of Alan's book Ancient Feet please click on http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ancient-Feet-Alan-Nolan/dp/1906510970/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1258967135&sr=1-1

Signed copies of the book are available from Alan http://apn.thelea@yahoo.co.uk

We left Andy to wait for the Sherpa Van, and set off on what would be another long day's walk to Patterdale. Wainwright's original description spread the journey from Borrowdale to Patterdale over two days, the first of which is to Grasmere, a distance of nine and a quarter miles, followed by the trek from Grasmere to Patterdale, a distance of a further eight miles.

Using the direct routes, each of these walks can be completed in four or five hours which leaves walkers with too much time on their hands, so we had decided (meaning Tom had decided on our behalf) to cover the distance in just one day. We had seen Don set off three quarters of an hour earlier whilst we were having break-fast, laden down by all his equipment, with pots and pans dangling from every available hitch and hook, moving uncomfortably and his profile reminding me of a one-man band.

'Seeing Don trudging along like that, doesn't he remind you of a London busker, carrying all his gear from one subway to the next?'

'You're right, Al, his pack could be his drum, protruding from his back,'Tom agreed 'and his pots and pans are the other instruments swinging from their fastenings.'

'The only things missing are the cymbals between his knees,' Joe added.

'But he's walking as though he's got the cymbals,' I laughed 'and the jangling of his pots adds to the effect.'

'Yeah, he looks like that fella who had a few hits in the late sixties. What was his name? Come on, Al, you've got a good memory for stuff like this,'Tom said.

'Funnily enough, his name was Don something, if I remember rightly. Now what was his surname? Pheasant? No, it wasn't Don Pheasant, but it was something like that. Some sort of gamebird.'

'Grouse?' suggested Joe 'Don Grouse sounds just about right for our Don.'

'Partridge. That was his name, Don Partridge. His big hit was called Rosie!
Rosie, oh Rosie.'

'Bloody hell, you've started Andy off now,' Joe complained.

'Don't worry,'Andy reassured us,'I can't remember any more.'

'Thank God for that.'

'He had another hit as well,' I recalled, 'that was called Blue Eyes!
Blue eyes look my way Make today my lucky day.'

'Will you stop giving him his cue?' Joe spluttered, 'he knows more than one line of that one.'

'Well remembered, Al,' Tom said 'I don't know how you remember all that stuff.'

'It's strange, isn't it,' I said 'I can recall things from years ago, but forget what happened last week. My theory is that the brain is just a massive computer, with an unlimited memory. When we're younger, there isn't much stored in there so we can remember everything but, as we get older, we use more and more storage space. It's like a giant filing cabinet and it can take ages to find the file that you want.You know it's in there somewhere, but you can't find the file you need. The older stuff can be more familiar because you've looked for it more times, so you know where it is, but you can't remember where you put the new stuff. Also, we probably have an in-built SAVE function. Again, when we're younger, we just save everything because there's so much capacity but, as we fill more and more of the storage capacity, we start to become more selective about what we save. If it's not essential, we don't bother to save it. That's why I can remember that Florian Albert played centre forward for Hungary in the 1966 World Cup matches, but I'd struggle to name England's centre forward in a game a coupe of weeks ago.'

'Well, that's good,'Tom said, a little scornfully it seemed,'when Pam accuses me of forgetting something in future, I'll be able to say 'I didn't forget; I just didn't bother to press the SAVE button'.


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