netkingcol

thinking outside the tank

The First Cuckoo of Spring

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I live in Ambleside in the English Lake District at the head of a cul-de-sac on the lower slopes of Wansfell from which there is no public access to the fells. Today I can report that we had our first metaphorical cuckoo of the spring, by which I mean the first ramblers trying to make their way out of the village and into the hills – and failing the first test of their navigational skills. They reach my house and look around in confusion and bewilderment.

As surely as a lame-duck president is followed by a dream-ticket and the cold wind of recession is followed by the green shoots of recovery, the couple I met today will be followed by a steady stream of the cartographically challenged. They are almost worthy of classification as one of David Attenborough’s Great Events of Nature, the migration reaching its peak in the summer holidays.

Mostly these visitors clutch a printed sheet of instructions telling them, clearly in insufficient detail or in ambiguous terms, how to get from A to B. Some of them are completely kitted-out with map, compass, emergency rations, and two walking poles; the couple today had a GPS – but it wasn’t doing its job because ‘there was only one satellite so he couldn’t triangulate’.

I consider it a service to tourism to help them get where they want to be and I hope they will remember fondly the friendly face that guided them, though sometimes I feel a terrible responsibility. After all, I’m showing them where exactly they can get into the mountains and start to get really lost. I imagine the conversation they will have with the mountain rescue team, trying to describe their position after dialling 999. Maybe this year I will set up a lemonade stall at the end of my drive or, even better, write my own leaflet and hand it out to those who turn up at my door.

Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst 2009

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Written by netkingcol

March 15, 2009 at 8:28 pm

One Response

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  1. […] bookmarks tagged cuckoo The First Cuckoo of Spring saved by 4 others     j00ntje bookmarked on 03/16/09 | […]

    Pages tagged "cuckoo"

    March 16, 2009 at 5:32 pm


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