Dear Ralph -
Please help me. I am at my wits' end. After seven blissful years, my marriage is on the rocks. Literally. I have just discovered that my husband has secretly succumbed to the "love that dare not speak its name". What can I do? (Desperate of Drumnadrochit)
Dear Desperate -
If you truly wish to save your marriage, you must first learn to speak openly about your husband's condition without blame or shame, so let us address the problem in plain language. Munro bagging. There, I've said it.
With a wife like you, his reluctance to "come out" is understandable. He needs your support, not your approbation. Although the aetiology of his condition is little understood, the prognosis is good. It may take him some time to bag all 284 Munros but, apart from the In Pinn, the condition is not life-threatening and should run its course without lasting effect.
Meanwhile, try to understand his needs, however disgusting they may seem to you. Experience shows that the best course of action is active encouragement. The more you encourage him, the sooner he will complete his tick list and be freed from his dark obsession. Of course, this will be difficult for a cold fish like you, so perhaps it would be better for both of you if he dumped you for a fellow sufferer.
Dear Ralph -
Do you have any suggestions as to how I can encourage my children to climb mountains without complaint? (Harassed of Haddington)
Dear Harassed -
Like dogs, skiers and tourists, children are a major source of visual and aural pollution on the hill and are best incarcerated in some kind of holding cell pending your return. If they must accompany you, use a carrot and stick method to keep the brats in check.
Threatening them with the pointy end of an ice axe or trekking pole works wonders if the correct tone of voice is employed. A promise of sweets later may give a temporary reprieve from whining. If you exhaust them sufficiently, they will even forget the promise, so you won't have to cough up. Finally, scare stories that feature ogres such as the Big Grey Man of Ben Macdui and the Bearded Behemoth of Bidean nam Bian will not only keep them in close order but shut them up for days afterwards.
Dear Ralph -
I seek your advice on a delicate matter of etiquette. While crossing the White Mounth plateau recently, I saw a woman approaching, apparently totally naked apart from a pair of boots. Being a gentleman and not wishing to cause her embarrassment, I gave her a wide berth. However, what should I do if such an encounter were to occur on a narrow ridge such as Aonach Eagach? (Gentleman Jim)
Dear Gentleman Jim -
The desire to go naked is not that unusual among those of us who feel an affinity with The Great Outdoors. Indeed, who among us has not stripped off on top of Ben Nevis, stood legs akimbo, braced against the wind, and asserted our oneness with the universe with a cry of "I am Spartacus"?
However, should you wish to avoid the naturist aspect of Nature, and do indeed find yourself accosted by a naked female on the Aggy Ridge, you have two options: block her passage or toss yourself off. A gentleman would do the latter.
TAC 62 Index