Monday, 15 June 2009

In the Lake District

So, the Lake District. Beauty. The weather complied.

"This is what England must have looked like in the Middle Ages", I thought (if you extrapolate a bit more of the forest across the fields). Blue green lakes, hills, soft snooker-tabled green with bracken and grass kept consistent by the grazing sheep. The odd white farmhouse. Sheep, white specks on the landscape. Fields of cows: caramel, mahogany, long-haired and short amongst your traditional black-and-white. And the baby lambs are all black - pitch black - beside white mothers. A nursery rhyme of a place. Traditional stone walls sinuous like backbones to the curves of the land, everywhere. Stone cottages, roofed with slate. And, no-one around for miles while the birds of prey circle and swoop in the silence.

On the first day, a half-day, we walked up beyond the farmhouse as the sun dappled the afternoon. We got all of the talking out of the way, my husband and I. His job, my ambitions, his ambitions. Mortgages. Bills. Quality of life. Life/work balance. Kids. Schools. Crippling school fees. Moving abroad. Moving jobs. Staying put. Future holidays. Renovations. Life/work balance. Mortgages. His job. Our ambitions.

And from time to time, reeling images and topics in our minds, we'd turn a corner and, head up, remember where we were. And stop, and just look at the views. Then again, head down, walk, and talk. The pebbles underfoot and the flowers and the weeds. And the time alone to wrangle out the marital discussions. The landscape took backseat.

Once all that was done, the air cleared, the evening air sweeter, a nice pub, a hearty meal and wine. Relax...

The next day, the scales fell from our eyes and we could finally 'be'. Walking, not talking. We climbed a hill adjoining lakes. 508m, not much, but paradise. The sun shone and the insects buzzed. At the top, we could see Scotland and the Isle of Man. Full immersion in the physical life. Sun on your skin, breeze cooling the exertion of walking, endorphins of a high. Take a great big breath of life and stand and stare. That lake ain't goin' nowhere...slot into the universe. A type of meditation (fuelled by the odd chocolate stop, I have to admit...)

The third day, we hiked around the only 'mountain forest' left in the British Isles, a wonder of fresh pine trees luscious across the rippled valley. Picture-postcard views, mental photos, we didn't bring a camera. In that air, in that solitude, in that freshness and oneness with nature, it's an injection of vitality.

That evening we ate far too much and drank far too much wine. Sod's law!

I'd never known the Lake District was so beautiful. Shame some people go to New Zealand instead, ignorant of what we have nearer. I'd go back and take the kids next time - mixing the outdoors with the only James Bond museum in the world....

On the way back we were stuck on the M6 motionless in the heat for almost 2 hours. Luckily we were 'zen' enough after the break to be philosophical...

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