Extensive grooming and camping, it would seem, do not play well together. Camping is far too busy being practical and admiring freshwater streams which offer opportunities for showering and doing the washing up to be concerned with extensive grooming's desire to sit in a bubble bath and paint her nails. It has transpired that any task that requires a substantial mirror or an electricity point is foolhardy in its undertaking and has been eliminated from a list of necessary essential actions with which to start the day. Baby wipes reign supreme as the ultimate luxury in bivouac living. It's fair to say, and to quote my Mother, that I look like The Wreck of the Hesperus.
Unflattering pictures of my broken toe made their inevitable way onto Facebook, complete with chipped varnish, a missing nail due to running (I never thought I'd miss running so much as I do!) and if you looked closely, my equally as enchanting toe hair. Add to this enticing image the same six outfits in rotation, crumpled from the absence of a wardrobe in our lives and worn not through choice but an omission on my part to muster the energy to unearth anything different from the depths of my rucksack. A disquieting number of items are functional rather than fashionable. I have also become one of those people who wear hiking gear when they're not going hiking. I can barely look at myself in the mirror. Which works out fine, because more often than not I don't have one and if I do I blind myself in it with the reflection of my head torch. That's right. A HEAD TORCH. It's unspeakable.
Happily this pattern of horror has been momentarily interrupted by a sojourn to Italy where we are staying with a friend of AM's who has the terrible misfortune to live out her existence on a wine estate in Tuscany. Obviously she and I don't get on at all. Leaving behind the cool breezes and stunning panorama of The Alps we drove quite literally through Mont Blanc and have spent our days enjoying beach time, red wine and lengthy sleep in a real bed. I may even splash out and blow dry my hair this week. The excitement!
AM, who isn't faring much better in the preening stakes and whose beard has taken on a decidedly Chewbacca similitude, is at the beach learning to kitesurf. I am by the pool learning how to be better at lying by the pool. There's not much room for improvement. Luckily he doesn't seem to mind my fresh-faced, lion-maned appearance but that's perhaps only because he's been gradually going sun blind. Maybe things just look better from behind his Oakleys. It won't be long until we start deciding where to spend the winter and that decision should bring with it a return to apartment living. I must admit that washing my hair in the reflective waters of an alpine lake did have its charm however. Perhaps there's something to be learnt about less reliance on more civilised ways of beautifying. So my hair's a mess? As the French would say, ce n'est pas le fin du monde...