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A story to go alongside my latest drawings


I'm sure some of you might be wondering who all these ladies I've been recently drawing are. Well, now is not the time to tell, but I thought I just might share a little story with you, which will probably mention them in one or two places. I submitted the story a while ago into an adventure writing contest. As it didn't get published I thought I'd post it here for you ladies and gentlemen. 

Like many others my partner and I have been seduced by the promise of epic views of the paddy fields in the areas surrounding Sa Pa in north-west Vietnam. As avid hikers, we never miss a chance of going for a ramble. Fresh highland air unfailingly works its magic and turns us into a couple of wild goats skipping up and down the grassy slopes. And so, bright and early we set out towards Lao Chai village with an appetite for adventure and picture-perfect views. Soon our hopes were destroyed as clouds have concealed the magical scenery and the rain has turned unpaved hill paths into mud-slides. Our group would have ended up at the bottom of the hill in a huge man-pile if the local Hmong women hadn’t come to our aid. We reached our destination with our spirits dampened and bums covered in sludge only to be raided by the horde of children offering some rather dusty-looking souvenirs. Cooped up in a van and ready to go home we could almost grab that glass of red awaiting at the hotel. But…it was not to be. We haven’t considered just how dangerous mountain roads were in Vietnam until the vehicle had come off the road into a ditch. So, there we were, trapped in the middle of nowhere with a few yards of shattered tarmac separating us and a steep drop to the bottom of the hill where pigs were carelessly treading through the flooded rice beds. The scene was joined by passing locals giving it their best effort to improvise vehicle-towing devices from rusty sewage pipes and timeworn ropes. As a bunch of pissed-off and clearly helpless tourists we were asked to step aside. Whilst obediently moving towards the edge of the road I suddenly heard a scream coming from my left where a few moments ago Ewelina was joyfully grinning at our rescuers. Now there was an empty spot and a lush view of the ladder-like hills I’ve desired for so long. I cried “Ewelina!!!” and dashed to the spot where a chunk of earth had come off. And there she was, holding on a few blades of grass, nails mucky and boots stuck in the dirt. “I’m O.K., Don’t worry!” – she yelled. How could I not be? I’ve never seen her disappear from my sight like that. As I was pulling the poor thing out of the newly made hole I thanked the universe for not sending her further down the slope into the sludgy abyss. We couldn’t help but laugh all the way back, which dissolved the tension because the rest of the road didn’t seem one bit safer as we slowly advanced through a thick cloud hanging above the mountains.