Off to the Lakes for the weekend with friends. Which is ace. It's a two-axe trip, because with luck and a bit of thaw/freeze something solo-able and high and scenic might be in nick. Cue mental HD visions of thunking axe placements in glorious neve and white, icy space beneath my feet.
But between the inception and the execution falls the shadow, in the form of the darkness that is a packing frenzy. Funny how the 'Fancy a weekend in the Lakes' - 'Yes, brilliant!' exchange takes seconds, yet the practical preparation can expand to fill all available time and space to the point where it blots out the tingle of anticipation.
And 'Have I packed the sleeping bag liner?' 'Do I need a harness?' 'Which crampons for easy gullies?' 'Do I need to eat at all?' 'Is that gas canister half empty or half full?' thoughts spin around the room like frantic bluebottles.
And funny too how, if you don't look it in the eye, kind of sneak up on it while it's not looking, it suddenly shrinks and whimpers down into manageable proportions. And you can smack it over the head with a handy duffle, remember that your camping stuff is actually carefully and neatly stowed away ready to use and suddenly you wonder what on earth you were worried about.
Except thatdidn't quite work, so I'm getting an early night, getting up at the crack of pre-dawn and driving north first thing tomorrow. So now I can have a beer with my packing. Result.