In fact, Dad managed to rope in my brothers to it aswell and off we jolly well went. Not content with wandering through the natural beauty of the Brecons like any normal group of people, Dad decided that we needed to take the “road less travelled”..so to speak.
Geared up with hiking boots and all the necessary accoutrements (backpacks, waterproofs etc) we set off. A small amount of very simple rock climbing, stone hopping across streams…a picnic at the top of a climb and everything was pretty good. Dare I say downright enjoyable. Sod it, I do dare :-) It was enjoyable.
With the exception of Dad, all of us slipped and fell knee high into a stream or two and it never ceased to raise a laugh when someone did. It was a pretty good boys day out…Kev and Paul even dove from a pretty high cliff into a lake.
We climbed up a small waterfall and when we got to the top, discovered that we would need to cross a stream to get where we were heading. This meant navigating our way around the ledge of the waterfall…which was pretty slippery. Dad showed us that we should get our feet set and then fall onto the main waterfall with our arms outstretched. Then move sideways, always keeping our hands on the waterfall.
Dad went first to show us how it was done….then me, then Kev and finally it was Pauls turn. Paul, being the youngest was also, unfortunately, the smallest. As he stretched out his hands and fell forward, he was submerged beneath the falling water…all I remember, through the laughing and almost falling into the water myself, was hearing *blubblubdaadblubhelpblubglugblugbglubdaad*
Dad stepped into the water properly, waded across and lifted Paul out of the water with one hand. We got to the other side and collapsed into hysterics, with Paul alternating between angrily complaining and whining. That’s when we noticed what appeared to be a school trip taking place and the teacher heading over towards us. I assumed that he was going to have a go at us for setting a bad example or something equally banal.
We try and calm down in readiness for the impending telling-off, Dad is washing his face in the stream…and the rest of us are drying and eating. When the teacher arrives, he leads with “Do you know what you are doing?”. He doesn’t seem particularly angry, but still…he is a teacher and this is very possibly his normal anger tone. My Dad explains that he is a quite an experienced hiker and that, while he apologises for setting a bad example to the teachers class, he does in fact know what he is doing…thanks so very much.
To which the teacher replies…”Ok, so you know that rats piss in this stream? Just upstream from here as a matter of fact….enjoy your hike”. With that he smiles, turns and walks away while we start immediately trying to vomit out any water we all might have swallowed, whilst simultaneously laughing at the previously aquatic Paul.
We never did go hiking with Dad again…I am not entirely sure Mum trusted him after that…and we ran out of ant-bacterial mouthwash about 4 seconds after getting home.