Blackbird bathing in the birdbath right outside the window again. Even through the double-glazing I could hear the splashing. I’m sure that on a hot day like today he was enjoying a wash. A female briefly joined him, but neither of them seemed keen to share their ablutions and after initially retreating he saw her off.
I was at home to see this because for the second time in as many weeks I have some kind of bug – temperature, nausea, headache, sore-throat. I’m feeling quite rundown and it seems that when I feel this way I’m going to catch everything going round.
Late one night at the weekend, when excited kids were finally sleeping, washing and tidying-up was done and we were enjoying a beer and a chinwag in Andy and Jane’s commodious tent, we reminisced about our exploits, solo and together, on and amongst high mountains. The consensus opinion seemed to be that those days are behind us, which seems both a little sad and perhaps premature to me.
Whilst we relived climbs and walks in the Alps, the Pyrenees and the Andes somebody said:
“It’s impossible to explain to somebody who hasn’t experienced it how at altitude walking up even the slightest incline can become the hardest thing that you have ever done.”
And a little light-bulb popped on in my head. That’s a perfect description of anaemia. Perhaps I should have made the connection before – the problem is essentially the same: not enough oxygen reaching the muscles. The thing is that coping with altitude is all about finding a pace that you can live with. It seems pretty clear that I shall have to learn to live with anaemia in the long term and that it might be a useful way to think about it in that way. Take your time. Find a pace. Do what you can.