“Look, look. I think that’s him again. He went past here yesterday, remember? I know you said he was just another human, but I’m not sure, I’ve not noticed another human with that black box thing growing out of their fore legs. Why on earth they walk round on their hind legs all the time like that is beyond me. Wouldn’t you think they would have worked out by now how much simpler it is to walk on all four feet. And his language! Well, if you can call it that. He hardly seems able to string two words together to make a recognisable sentence. Remember yesterday? We went over to the gate and really concentrated, trying to make some sense out of what he was saying, and it was just impossible. It wouldn’t surprise me if he’s been talking to that Stephen Hipperson in Yorkshire. They’re very isolated down there in Yorkshire you know. It’s not at all like living in Cumbria. It’s all ‘So tha says’ and ‘Hey up!’ down there, whereas here, well, I mean we’re all bilingual up here, aren’t we? Good grief I mean, I’ve spoken both Scotch and Cumbrian all my life. Yes, I’m fairly sure he’s a foreigner of some kind, probably from Down South. They’re a funny bunch down there you know. And, come to think of it he does have a really weird sort of accent. Doesn’t he?
Those of you who have found a good lifebelt and are content to float through the seas of life, allowing the wind and waves to waft you in whichever direction they choose, content in the knowledge that wherever you end up will be pretty much the same kind of frying pan, have my admiration. I can’t do that. I have to try to figure out which way the wind is blowing and if the tide is ebbing or flowing. I have an urgent and irrepressible need to be able to steer, control, plan ahead and all that other stuff – which I actually do know is totally pointless. I don’t want to get involved in the dichotomy of how God or the Universe or Fate or Somebody You Know, manages to do something good for me by doing something bad for you, so mostly I go with the greatest common denominator and accept that some you win and some you loose.
The problem is that while I can accept that intellectually, it doesn’t alter the fact that I find not being in control very frustrating. While I am content to leave the daily routine of life to a beneficent Kismet or Fate, I’d just like to be sure they understand the problem properly.
We had parked the car at Glenridding and taken the boat up to Pooley Bridge – and why not? At Pooley Bridge we wandered around the village, peering in the shops with the amazement of travellers from a strange land then walked back to the boat pier for the return journey.
As you can see Somebody Up There loves us – or maybe The Universe and The Ullswater Steamers were working to the same timetable that day. That’s our boat, there.
We live in a faraway, forgotten corner of England. In fact we only just live in England, just inches away on the map is Scotland. Gretna Green, no longer that haven from the harsh realities of English marital law but still holding weddings at the Blacksmith’s Forge, is just one stop up the motorway. We have an airport. It was so long since anyone had flown from it to anywhere on a regular basis that, when a large transport company bought it, protests from the locals about the noise of aircraft taking off and landing, means that they haven’t been able to use it yet.In a part of the airport complex is the Solway Aviation Museum. I’ve know it was there for ages but I couldn’t imagined that it would have anything worth looking at. However, the latest batch of family to pay us a visit wanted to go and see it – they’re into aircraft and such like and that should be encouraged.
The first thing we found when we arrived, was a notice saying that the museum existed on donations and was run by volunteers. I personally didn’t feel this was a good start – but we paid our moderate entrance fee an set off on the recommended route.
I will just say that we found a hidden gem. I could say much more but it would be too embarrassing for me to have to admit how far from the mark my assumptions had been. It was brilliant!
The photo at the top is one view of a very large display case full of military aircraft. I think the image below is the description of it – amateurairplanes pops in here from time to time, I’m sure he’d know.
Well, you know how it is, you live, up here, in a scenic part of England and most of the family live, down there’ in the dust and grime digging away at the coal-face with nothing but their iPhones between them and starvation.
Every now and then we manage to talk a batch of them into coming, up the long weary motorway, to see us. When you have children – with all the ancillary equipment they require, it takes organisation and focus. So we do really appreciate it when we have a bunch of them around for a few days.
In the field behind the barn, our farmer keeps a small, half a dozen or so, herd of cattle. On some days, he comes round with a bag full of something-in-the-way-of-a-treat for them, a sort of spoonful of malt and cod liver oil each. He goes to the feed trough and shouts and bangs the trough and the animals come running, each eager for their share of the bounty.
When he turned up today the family were busy redistributing the contents of various cars to make the day’s outing a little less cramped. Did I mention that our roof has been removed – it was put up in 1856 so it need a little attention – so, we had added the family chariots to the builders and roofers and their assorted vehicles already in the farm yard, then the postman turned up in his little red van. In and out of all this ran our youngest grandson, closely followed by an even younger granddaughter.
Eeyore, of course, wouldn’t understand the problem. I’m sure any thistle that hadn’t been bounced on, would be reckoned a good thistle. In Scotland, in 1687, James VII (James II in England – even in those days, apparently, you needed two jobs to make ends meet) decided to reinstate the Order of the Thistle. There isn’t any record of there ever being one before, so it must have been unofficial. The Thistle had certainly been around in Scottish royal circles for a few hundred years or so. In Edinburgh, around 1768, the Encyclopædia Britannica decided to use a stylised Thistle as their emblem.
None of the above, while interesting no doubt – if you’re interested in that sort of thing, is the least relevant to the current discussion. You see, if you ask Google to tell you what he knows about thistles, the first thing he will want to know is “Which one of the two hundred varieties do you mean?” I begin to feel as if I’m dealing at a horse fair – you know.
“How much is that one?”
“Well, what do you think it’s worth?”
In the end, after trawling through more Thistle’s than you ever thought existed and which, to my untrained eye I have to confess, all looked very similar – sort of, like Thistles. You know?
While we’re on the subject of Beech (see previous post) I thought you might be interested in these. In the 1930s, Dr. Edward Bach gave up his promising medical practice in Harley Street, London and went off to the country. He was looking for a better way to make people well. He had been playing around with vaccines and that sort of thing, but to use the stuff of the disease to cure, just seemed plain wrong. It took him twenty years, but he eventually came up with his flower remedies, thirty six essences made from flowers, just about as close to nature as he could get.
When it came to people whose illness could be traced back to anxiety caused by intolerance and lack of compassion, people who perhaps, lived with the frustration of feeling that their whole world was made up of individuals who just didn’t get it – or even just would never get it, Dr Bach would prescribe an essence made from the flowers of the Beech tree.
Now Beech trees only start to flower once they come of age, and for Beech trees this means thirty years old. They only flower at the top of the tree or sometimes on the sunny side, if one side has a sunnier aspect. Beech trees pruned into hedges rarely flower.
I felt incredibly lucky to find these flowers on the Beech trees just up the road.
We went for a walk the other day. This is the sort of thing you do if you come to The Lake District – you know, fresh air, healthy exercise, even if it kills you. Measured horizontally we didn’t really walk very far but it was quite far enough measured vertically.
From the car park, we first climbed up to the Osprey View Point. The Ospreys have not been terribly cooperative this year. They have ignored all the artefacts, carefully created according to the latest analysis of osprey psychology, which hopefully would have led them to select the prepared nesting site (convenient to the viewing platform). They took one look at all that phaff and palaver, shook their heads in bewilderment – and went off and built their nests somewhere else. Ah well. Back to the drawing board.
Leaving the Osprey-less View Point we climbed on – making for the summit, Dodd Summit to be precise, with its views of Derwent Water and Keswick one way and Bassenthwaite Lake if you look the other way.
It’s a long way up – it took us a couple of hours to get to the top of the 1612 feet (someone work that out in metres – it does sound higher in feet though).
It then took us another couple of hours to get back down again – there’s always something isn’t there?