I’ve been described as ‘high-maintenance’ on more than one occasion. This might be because I like to drink champagne whenever possible (and in large quantities), or because I like massages and spend an inordinate proportion of my salary on them. But, probably – because it’s one of the things people first notice about one another, it’s because I like to wear pretty dresses and pearls. So my choice to spend my 6 week sabbatical (thanks Red Gate), in the Bornean jungle doing some trekking seems to have surprised a few people.
Some of my friends have delighted in seeing the unflattering and eminently practical clothes I’ve bought to hike in. I’ve even got a pair of trousers (elasticated waistband, obviously), which zip off into shorts. My housemate displayed true glee when I modelled them for her, one leg on, one off. Trying on hiking shoes last weekend, I wished someone was there to see me striding round the shop in the bulky, sludge-coloured shoes and pretty fit & flare dress.
The people who find all this just SO hard to imagine have never met Horsey Hannah.
Horsey Hannah went to Tesco in her riding gear (7 year-old muddy boots, old jeans with holes in and my boyfriend’s old XL t-shirt), and no make up and didn’t have her hair cut for over a year because her horse ate all her money. (Not literally, I just spent it all on hay. It’s a metaphor).
So as someone who’s known me all my life, I’m not at all surprised that I’m relishing the thought of getting sweaty, muddy and sunburnt. It’s how I spent most of my childhood. Only this time I’ll be getting my sandwich snatched from me by orang-utans, not Shetland ponies.
I have grown up a bit though. I’m not going to totally slum it. I’ve got 5 different sun screens, 2 of which are for my hair. And I got my eyelashes tinted so that even though I’m not wearing mascara, the photos on Facebook won’t be completely shocking.
But for the most part, I’m leaving fashion-lover Hannah behind and embracing the Hannah who wanted to be George in the Famous Five and who liked playing with frogs and snails. Let’s hope I can extend that affection to cockroaches…
It is going to pain me not having an array of pashminas and jewellery to choose from each day though.
The other day, one of my colleagues jokingly asked if I was going to wear pearls in the jungle. Now there’s an idea…