The reader will recall the iconic movie scene: Ursulla Andrews emerges from the sea, pure immaculate, whilst Bond, Sean Connery, lurks in the shrubbery. That’s how I felt Sunday past at EICA, Ratho, when, just as I went to leave post lunch, who should enter the foyer but the remarkably fresh faced yet weather-beaten Simon “Grizzly” Marley, survivalist and “King of the Hand Jammers” . However, as we are to discover, Simon does not let 4 foot of snow beat him.
We approached each other like close friends and discussed the artic conditions, the transport infrastructure and the shortage of bread and milk. Simon told of how, stuck in his Scottish home in East Lothian, he had ventured up into his attic where, luckily, he had discovered an old pair of cross country skies. These had allowed him to emerge from his property from an upper floor window, forsaking the luxury of his new wood burning stove to forage, and thus supplies had thus been fairly easy to obtain. To be honest, it did not surprise me.
Furthermore, Simon divulged, he had skied all the way to Ratho that very morning via the Pentlands. He had left his loyal canine companion, Grylls, at home given the ardour of the journey and had himself swapped his usual Stone Island artic jacket for a CP Company one, again with goggles, as he felt it marginally warmer under a gale force 3. He had taken a route via the Pentland Hills with only two Mars bars and an organic flapjack as sustenance, however he had managed to catch, kill, and eat a rabbit at Flotterstone. I pressed more on the rabbit.
“It’s simple”, Simon explained. You find a rabbit which is static; lying low above ground. You walk towards it but you must, must, avoid eye contact or it will bolt. Then you place your walking stick in the ground vertically, albeit I just used a ski on this occasion. Then walk in ever decreasing circles around both the rabbit and the stick until, when you are close enough, you jump on the rabbit. Then you cut bits of flesh and toast them on a stick on a fire, like an American boy scout toasts a S’more.
Then Simon took off his Rab rucksack and, from an outer pocket, produced a sandwich bag with what looked like a squashed rabbit inside it. “The skin” he announced, “another three like this and I’ll have enough to complete the skin of my hand made birch-skeleton canoe”.
Time was pressing on and I could see Simon was eager to leave however I asked him if he intended to ski all the way home and perhaps catch another rabbit. It appeared though that he intended to simply ski down the canal to Fountainbridge where he would purchase a LRT daysaver and travel home, in comfort, to dry his skins.