Whilst compiling a list of pet hates for my home page, apart from Terry Nutkins and Billy Nomates (who's identity does not need revealing -yet), Ramblers came into mind.
You see them everywhere this time of year, in large groups heading down the high street no doubt on route to the canal towpath, all dressed for a full frontal assault of the north face of the Eiger. Stout thumb stick, Gortex hiking boots, multi colored knee length socks, bobble hat and that all important indispensable piece of equipment - the cagool
Even in summer, when we were at Hopgrass, I used to sit on the patio (glass of wine in hand) and watch these hoards of loonies walking across Freemans Marsh, all dressed in above mentioned kit and complete with rucksacks and a map. It takes 30 minutes to walk around the marsh on clearly signposted public footpaths - you don't need a sodding map! And what have they got in their rucksacks (my precious) one wonders, maybe a thermous of hot soup and some cheese sandwiches to sustain them during their long tortuous journey, maybe some rope in case one of their numbers fall foul to the many deadly quicksand pits, grapling hooks and crampons maybe This vision often amused me as they were followed on the same path by young mothers in summer frocks and high heels pushing the latest in off road child buggies, four screaming kids trampling over the wild orchids and a couple of springer spaniels splashing through the Dun decimating the young Mallard ducklings as they went.
The fact is that the majority of these rambles are septegenarians and are usually escapees from the Saga Warners Holiday home formerly Littlecote house and they form a group who complain about virtually anything from the state of the NHS to planning applications which have nothing to do with them. Supporters of the Marina and Marsh Lane walkers take note! - Ramblers are everywhere! I even think Mr & Mrs Nomates could be ones