I’ve given up the bottle. Never again will I take a swig of cool refreshing liquid from the neck of my flask and walk away satisfied. Not that I have given up the drink, that would be unthinkable, I have merely updated my drinking method on the hill. For years I’ve seen walkers sipping from little plastic tubes that mysteriously disappeared into their rucksacks. All the adverts tell us that hydration is the key. Apparently we don’t know when to drink, thirst is unreliable, no it takes the advertising men and doctors in white coats to tell us how to imbibe that most primeval and essential of liquids, water. That is, of course, if one is so technologically backward as to actually drink crude ordinary water. The TV ads tell us modern man requires to be hydrated by sophisticated modern types of water. There are liquids called electrolytes with names like Go he man Go! Or Jet Fuel. I thought electrolyte was something you put in batteries but apparently I am mistaken.
So I walked into my local outdoor shop, apparently walking is something I can still manage without an instruction manual, although I’m sure I’ll find I’ve been doing that wrong too, and purchased a bladder type thing with a tube coming out the end. “Of course,” the shop assistant told me, in a vain attempt to sell me more stuff I don’t need, “Your rucksack might not be compatible.” I’m putting a bag of water into it, it’s a bag with another bag going into it how can that not be compatible. I solved the none compatible problem by tying the thing in my bag with some string and set off up a hill. Now surely I would become some kind of hydrated superman, sipping my way across the landscape with lightning speed.
My first attempt with the reverse urinary device was a disaster; I didn’t put the lid on tight enough and found my sack full of three pints of water after about half a mile. Undeterred I preserved, filled it up from stream and carried on. Soon I was merrily sipping water from my little tub and feeling quite in tune with the modern age when, unaccountably, the thing refused to supply me any more liquid. I sucked for all I was worth but nothing came. I stopped and shuggled the thing about and eventually got water. How a plastic bladder with a tube coming out cannot let you suck water out is beyond me.
Now I find it works some of the time but other times leaves you turning blue trying to extract a drop of the stuff from your back pack. I’m sure it is a very fine device in itself, although I can’t avoid the observation that it looks like some terrible medical equipment that if you fell awkwardly on to it you might accidentally give yourself an enema. I could take it back to the shop and explain the problem but they would only look at me as though I was some pathetic moron who doesn’t know how to suck. Does anyone else have this problem with these things? I’m obviously doing it wrong!