Like I said, "In circumstances like these, there’s only one thing to do… " - we went shopping, of course.
Ambleside was the first victim of my grimacing face and odd gait. I'd been searching for some replacement footwear for some time, as my two-year-old beloved Raichle Fusion Mid XCRs had no sole left on them. After checking out most of the larger shops in search of a bargain we had given up all hope of finding something suitable, but for some reason I was drawn into The Mountain Factor, where I found the following event-lined 3-season beauties:
Trezeta Peak, size 8, very comfy
The assistant was surprised at the speed of the sale - I tried them on, walked a few paces and shouted "Sold!" . Apparently all other boot-triers like to spend a lot of time on such activities, but I knew almost instantly that these boots were fine for me. RRP £90, mine for £60. Excellent! I've worn them daily since then, and they've been brilliant.
Having read a lot of favourable reports about the Osprey Exos series of packs, I went into The Climbers Shop to try on the 46 version. There's no doubt that it's a thing of beauty and a nice bit of lightweight craftsmanship, but it wouldn't last five minutes if I used it. You see, most folk use their packs to carry their gear and that's the end of it, but my packs are gear-carriers, pillows, seats, backrests, windshelters, bumpers (especially when sliding down Lord's Rake) and, on occasion, toboggans. Give me a decent grade of cordura or kevlar anyday and I'll be happy, but I'd be too bothered about destroying the work of art that the Exos undoubtedly is. I didn't much care for the hip-belt fitting, though - it's fixed to the pack almost amidships, rather than at the widest part, and I can't see how that's better for stability. Maybe I'm missing something here, but it certainly didn't feel good to me. Anyway, I put the thing back on the rack and walked away. Nice, but not for me.
We made our escape from Ambleside, but only made it as far as Windermere as Chris wanted to get some microfibre bathtowels direct from the Lakeland shop, as they had become unavailable online. There were none on the racks, so we asked the assistants where they were. We were informed that they were out of stock and discontinued, the last few having been sold from the bargain area a while ago. Disgruntled, we stood outside as we planned our next move.
As we talked, my gaze was drawn to the window-display, where there were four of the "out of stock" towels. I nipped back in, grabbed them from the display and took them to the assistants, who were bemused. You see, it works like this: items in window-displays don't show on the stock count, and they're not for sale, as they are there solely to advertise product within the store. The trouble is, they were advertising an unavailable product, and so their purpose was redundant, but the staff aren't allowed to change the window-display in any way until Management issues a decree. Mad, eh? Anyway, after getting the top-brass to see sense, we got all four towels at a rock-bottom price (something like £3 each instead of the £12 standard price) and a great explanation from the staff. They're nice folks in there. Oh, and before I forget, they have free internet access upstairs between the cafe and the loos, so if you're in Windermere and you're desperate for a quick pee, sarnie and surf, you know where to go.
Shopping completed, we made for the M6 and headed home. All in all, it had been an interesting weekend!