Saturday, October 18, 2008

Telegraph Road

There is a wonderful Dire Straits song of the above name in which Mark Knopfler sings about a man who walks 30 miles with a sack on his back. I am pretty committed to the 30 miles bit - or rather kilometres, but have always been wary of sacks on my back. I have a lurking lower-back problem which at times has resulted in complete paralysis. I also have damage to cervical vertebrae which means I once examined the immense Chartres cathedral only from ground level to a height of about 5 feet. Somehow, I think my back might revolt at carrying a full sized rucker.

I have made various attempts with smaller daypacks, in fact as a result, we have quite a collection of these. But I have not been comfortable with any of them, especially when cycling on hills.

However, early this year I made the acquaintance, in fact I made a purchase, of a daypack which does not continually remind me of its presence. Whether walking or cycling, I forget it is there, which is surely the ideal. It is the Deuter Speedlite 10/300. I think those numbers mean it will hold 10 litres of goods, and when empty, weighs 300 grams. I am so attached to the one I bought and used in New Zealand that I left it there for future use and bought another one when I arrived home. I have used one or other of them virtually every day since February and am convinced.

In it I normally carry a waterproof poncho (or 2 if Gay is with me) a small camera, a water bladder (not supplied), one or two water carriers in the side pockets if it is a hot day, a pack of sandwiches if I am going to be out over lunchtime, keys, identification (a legal necessity in France, as well as a sensible precaution), and a mobile telephone (similar sensible precaution for emergencies). There is still room to carry an extra layer of clothing, or to take off a layer and put it in as I heat up.

If you prefer to carry more, the range includes 15, 20 and 30 litre models

There is an excellent description and review at this website:

I bought mine on the web (web price £26) from:

Regarding the song "Telegraph Road", if you have often wondered what the masterful lyrics are about, see this for two very good explanations:

If you have never heard it, you have missed some marvellous guitar work, including a very long solo at the end (the track is about 12 minutes) and, as with most of Knopfler's song-writing, very clever and meaningful lyrics.

You can catch some of the solo (from a mature Knopfler) here:

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