Pilgrimpace's Blog

from the depths of winter
January 19, 2013, 3:02 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

We have had 6 inches of snow here and sub-zero temperatures for the past few days.  Much of the world carries on as normal with this.  As we get snow on only a few days a year, things grind to a halt.  There is disruption, but also a great deal of fun and joy.

I am using some of this time to dream some dreams as I read a second hand copy of Ronald Turnbull’s Book of the Bivvy that I found recently.  This is a great book, part guide, part anecdote.  It is too cold for me to be out at the moment, but I am looking forward to an expedition or two with a bivvy bag and tarp later in the year, as well as perhaps a few nights on the back lawn, tucked up in sleeping and bivvy bags, with a stove, mug and tea makings next to me: a brilliant way to spend the night, watching the stars and listening to the urban wildlife.

breakfast being made at 5am in a perfect bivvy site

breakfast being made at 5am in a perfect bivvy site

A bivvy really is not at all a tent.  A tent is a thing.  You pitch it at nightfall, and if rain comes in you complain to the shop and get your money back.

A bivvybag is not so much a thing, as a surly Asturian person called Miguel.  If Miguel approves of you he’ll take you to some wonderful places.  If your behaviour is inappropriate – you’ve made a remark about Snowdon or Mont Blanc, you’ve been rude about the food – he’ll desert you in the middle of nowhere and let you cope on your own.  Or worse, he’ll walk just a little too fast, and take you somewhere where, if you weren’t such an over-civilised wimp, you’d really enjoy, and laugh behind his tangly beard.

It is important, then, to retain the respect of your bag.  We none of us like to be sniggered at by our equipment …


6 Comments so far
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How bizarre! If a bivvybag is a surly, bearded Spaniard with the upper hand, what is a tent? Perhaps a beardless Frenchman with a man bag who lulls you into a false sense of security, then snaps your poles when you’re asleep? (In the interests of balance, a sleeping mat has to be a naked German on a sun bed.)

Comment by The Solitary Walker

well, I know what you mean, but it made me smile. The book is quite diverse, and I’ll put some more quotes up soon. In the meantime, there could well be a challenge in seeing what bits of kit should be anthropomorphised.


Comment by pilgrimpace

Meant to put a 🙂 up there, Andy. It made me smile too!

Comment by The Solitary Walker

thanks Robert! I’ll find some more smile-inducing quotes soon

Comment by pilgrimpace

I don’t know anything about Robert Turnbull, but he certainly sounds like an interesting person and writer. I’ll look forward to whatever other quotes you pull up here.

Comment by George

Thanks George – will do!

Comment by pilgrimpace

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