13.3 Can I go on?
I'm in a B&B in Dufton. My knee is the size of a football and livid purple. J is "Resting" I have no idea where. Mark is history. ????? is somewhere a day or two behind nursing blisters. Dunc & Clive should be here somewhere because they are indestructible, as should Nick because he is too idiotic to notice he should be lying down and screaming with bits dropping off. But I'm so low I don't think I can find them.

I can't do this any more.

Theres a gentle knock on the door. Its the landlady. "You decent?" she enquires, which in most circumstances would have at least produced a ribald comment, but not right now .

"Yes" I say in a dull monotone. She comes into the room with something, possibly grey, quivering on a tray under a cloth.
"I seen your knee when you come in" she says quietly. "Hurts does it?"
I nod mutely
"I got something for you" she produces what appears to be a flannel model of a knee joint made by a child of three.
I stare "Uhhhh?" I prod it gently with a finger and it shuffles off to sulk into a corner of the tray and eyes me warily.
"Shush" She says retrieving it, "I seen worse damage than this.......Once or twice....". I gulp.
She applies this to my knee in a careful but businesslike way. It seems like its hot and cold at the same time. I don't know weather to laugh or cry. I do both.
"Badly that is" she sympathises. "Wait till this goes all warm and gooey, then tek it off and go and stagger down to the pub - have a pie and a pint" I murmur thanks as she leaves, not really believing I will move for the next week or so, never mind a pie and pint. She hurries back
"I forgot" she says "Have some Tea" The huge mug of tea is hot and gorgeous and I put too much sugar into it. Magic. Human again!

I start to wonder where J has got to. He couldn't be camping, surely? No. No Way!  the campsite was just heaving. People were putting tents up inside other tents, on sheep, up trouser legs and in trees. So he wasn't there. But he'd be in the pub. Everyone would be. Dunc too! I couldn't sit here! I looked down. The poultice creature thing was definitely 'gooey'. I took it off and it went to hide behind the dresser.

And stared in disbelief. What had been a football sized purple painball was wrinkly, yellow and roughly normal sized. It tried the unthinkable. Bending my leg. It worked. I wondered if I should scream anyway. Decided against it.

I lurch downstairs courtesy of my stick and thence to the pub. It is hot and heaving. J and Dunc are red-faced and sodden with beer.
"Here he is!!" they hoot "we got the beer in!" There are five pints standing waiting on the table.
"Five pints!?!" I mutter in disbelief "Five pints?????"
"There is a plate of food too" says J quietly - nowhere near as drunk as he looks and sounds. And so there is, a huge steak and a stupidly massive mound of chips. I set to.
"Don't forget the beer!!!!" Hollers Duncan. I don't forget it. Several times.
"where you staying then?" I enquire of J
"Ah! Thought you'd never ask!" He grins and I just know he's fallen on his feet yet again.
"Lucked out on the descent, met a farming bloke an' he offered a pitch...You camping?" I pointed out that I was well booked into a bed and breakfast "oooh slummin' it he!"
We carouse until far too late. Dufton was like that, that night.




I never knew her real name. She knows who she is. Thank you. I felt much better.