Last Straw



They’ve walked for twelve  miles through luscious Windermere in the Lake District and Nick is done in.

“Sheila, I’m trying, but I’m shagged out.”

His Australian partner is amazed.

“Come on, Nick,  only another three miles to go, mate, you can do it.”

Nick takes a deep breath, bent over and clutching his knees, then walks on.  He’s suddenly remembering his last girlfriend……how they’d curl up on the sofa with a beer or two instead of this rubbish.

“Look, my shorts are just too tight.”

He stops and she turns to see him pulling the shorts out at the back, pulling his stomach in, trying to make room for all they contain.

“We had that discussion yesterday…”
“But they’re tighter!”

“They can’t be….”

She sees what he means now. How did that happen?

“Let’s look around for a stream, that will cool you down….”

She casts her eyes over the totally green hilly landscape.  No stream. They walk on but after five minutes  a sound rends the air – the shorts have split down the front, revealing rather a lot.

“Stone the crows, mate,” Sheila’s shocked.

Nick drops his pack on the ground and holds his hands in front.

“What shall we do?”

“Just tie the sweater in your pack around you. There’s nobody else around…. the button is still good.”

They have seen nobody at all on the walk, for which they are both thankful.

Another silent, stewing mile onwards, Nick says,

“I hate this, haven’t you got anything to fix it with, safety pins…?”

Sheila remembers the emergency bag which never leaves her pack, a few bandages, knee support and a needle and thread, never used.

“Well I’ve got a needle and cotton, but that won’t be strong enough…. just keep the sweater on.”

Nick’s angry now, how are they going to get back through the car park and into town…they have to walk all the way.  Another rip.

“Stop, Sheila, you can sew me back into them,”

“Dont be ridiculous, I haven’t got enough cotton.”

She pulls out a robust needle with quite a bit of red cotton threaded through it. She chose red as Dad always used it for patching up the tent when they were camping. She can see his large hands deftly doing women’s work with a needle.

“Well, try!” Nicks shrieking a bit now.

“Look over there, that picnic table under that tree, let’s go over there.”

The picnic table is just big enough, encrusted in green moss.

Nick hops up, lies on his back and says,

“Please, just get on with it, I’m desperate…”

Sheila purses her lips, barely containing her disdain, what a wuss!

She threads the cotton double and begins to sew the zip area in big loops, allowing for the necessary movement so it won’t break.  Nick lies furiously on his back, eyes shut. After three minutes, there is a sudden sound of wood cracking underfoot, and six ladies with walking poles and stunned expressions appear in two’s from fifty yards further on.

Without a word, they storm past Sheila and Nick, with words like ‘obscene’ ‘disgusting’ and ‘let’s report them now’ flying back at them.

Nick sits up, Sheila looks into his eyes.  It’s over between them, without a word.









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