So taking the opportunity whilst in Granada, I popped into Corte Ingles to stock up on some supplies for the forthcoming trip to the hinterlands of the Known Universe (Outer Hebrides).
I’d decided to buy a rucksack, and carrying everything in that on the trip.
“What do you need a rucksack for?” asked the gf. “You spent 70 quid on a nice hand-luggage suitcase last time you were in the UK, use that”.
I pointed out that the suitcase had been 50% off (thank you, House of Fraser sales!) and that I’d look stupid hiking through the highlands of Scotland wheeling my little carryon executive bag behind me. Besides, what if it rained? Anyway, a rucksack is much better for trains, ferries and more.
“But you were just telling me you’re flying there” she pointed out.
Still arguing over the 150€ cost of the bag, I spotted a very nice outdoors jacket.
“You own 14 jackets” she pointed out, “out of which at least 5 are suitable for hiking in a cold wet environment”.
Yes, but none of them have a mountain logo on them, I pointed out. To which she pointed out that the jacket I was fondling cost over 250€. I quickly put it back on the hanger before the sales assistant go to us.
Walking back towards the rucksacks, I spotted a (very cool) compass.
Here’s a tip to learners of Spanish: a compás is not a compass. It’s either a rhythm or a pair of compasses (the things you use to make a perfect circle with). That always used to throw me in school when we were told to match the compás in music class. A compass is a brújula.
The gf, realising that I had stopped following her around with a shopping basket and had wandered off, found me toying with it.
“It’s a brújula ” I said proudly, putting it into the basket.
“You don’t need it” she said, returning it to the shelf.
“It incorporates a pencil” I said excitedly, showing her. “and a little notebook. I can make notes with the pencil on the map, showing where I’ve been and where I’m going!”
“Look” she said with some aspiration, “just last night you were telling me that in your guidebook it says that compasses are unreliable in parts of the Hebrides because of the high iron content of the mountains. Also, you don’t know how to use a compass, or read a map. Also, you wander about with one of the most expensive phones on the market*, which incorporates GPS and Google Maps to show you where you are to within a meter. The phone will also track your movements and upload it live to Google Maps so I can sit in Spain and watch you sit in a pub because it’s raining so hard you don’t want to go outside. And when you get lost, you can use it call 999 and ask directions. So why the hell are you going to spend 75€ on a compass that won’t work and you don’t know how to use, and what’s more won’t use because the phone / GPS is much better, just because it’s got a bloody free pencil with it?”
The compass remained in El Corte Ingles. In the end, I bought a very nice rucksack from Alcampo for 29,99€. A 15th jacket has been unearthed from a distant wardrobe which is nicer, and probably cost more new, than the El Corte Ingles jacket. The rucksack is nice, but now I’m not sure if I can take it on as hand luggage. El Corte Ingles is, by the way, rather expensive outside the sales.