Last day of service
I came across a photo that reminded me of a day that felt ridiculously like the end of an era, rather than that a thing had worn out. I bought this rucksack in 2005 for use at my first OU Summer School, and it served me perfectly for the three I did, including one in the Highlands of Scotland (SXR339 of Blessed Memory).
It served me faithfully on days in quarries - from white chalk ones to golden limestones to grey Oxford Clays to the Whin Sill, with my partner and/or friends and as a museum volunteer or with local groups and to cliffs and hilltops and yet more quarries as part of ‘the day job.’ It had been to Cornwall, to Cumbria, to Kindrogan. It had been to Luxembourg and Germany, Austria and Italy, and probably to other countries as well. It had carried sandwiches, waterproofs, sun lotion, the tools of the trade, hot and cold drinks, hand specimens, my camera – especially my camera! - and quantities of Kendal mint cake. It had carried hundreds of weekly shops as well. It had been out in rain, snow, gale-force winds and blistering sunshine. It had sat on car seats, rail luggage racks, coach floors, on the deck of the Oldenburg, on beaches, slates, bare basalt, on granites, on schists, on Cormish Killas, on synclines and on anticlines. It had sat on sills, on dykes and on the exposed top of at least one pluton.
After 11 years of faithful service, and gradual general knackerment, the zip on the main compartment failed one day last year. It had been trying to fail for a while but had been coaxed back into alignment, but this time it had just had enough. Fittingly, this was a day in a favourite quarry, a day with camaraderie and hopes of further exciting finds, a day of bright sunshine and even brighter hi-vis.
It felt only right that I should take a photo of it to mark its last day of service, so I did.