Sunday cross-country ski trips are held at various parks around Ontario. For the majority of these, the cabin where you can rent skis, warm up and buy a hot drink is situated at the hub of the majority of the ski trails. This makes it easier to leave a packed lunch there to be devoured after any one of the routes you do during the day.

There are however, exceptions to this arrangement. Last week was one example where the cabin was a fair distance from the end of almost all the trails (due some pathetic problem involving a hulking great lake in the way) or occasionally, much longer trails exist that take many hours to complete. For this reason, the ski club recommends their members carry (and I quote) "fanny packs".

I am estimating roughly half my audience flinched and the other half were unmoved.

Why? Well ... let's just say one doesn't use the term "fanny" in the UK in this context. Normally, such items are called "bum bags" or "hip packs". I also threw any I possessed out of my wardrobe when we hit 1990.

After a rather hungry ski trip last week which resulted in me inhaling my late lunch and having indigestion on the trip back, I realised I would need one of these .... carriers. I went into town and checked out the sports shops, thinking I'd feel marginally less stupid buying something I associated with a shell suits at such a location.

Shop Assistant: "Can I help you?"

Me: "Ah yes, I'm looking for a f... um... a uh... never mind."

No. Just.... no. It's bad enough asking for pants when I'm hunting for a new pair of trousers but this is just A Stage Too Far, people. Instead, I found a small rucksack that was waterproof lined and made by the sports company called 'Tracker'. It was clearly designed for the purpose I had in mind. I wondered whether the designers had been British too.