A Lakeland adventure

In preparation for this blog post, I brainstormed all of the memories and thoughts that flashed through my head as I contemplated my week in the Lake District. The resultant stream of consciousness made me laugh a lot in its randomness and insight into my flighty head. So, rather than try and select some of the thoughts and turn them into my usual brand of waffly wordiness, I just thought I’d stick the whole lot in, unchanged (apart from typos, obviously – see earlier posts on grammatical pedantry); it seemed appropriate that I should sum up my week of solitude with a soliloquy direct from my head. So here it is:

Gales, hail and torrents; hot milk and honey revelation; yoga sessions to the sound of wind and rain whipping the house; rank powdered milk from 2005; meditating in the sea room; raised eyebrows on arrival, seeing the sea lapping against the garden wall; hiding behind the storm barriers; losing the path and slipping into the estuarine rising tide in the fading light beneath the eerie railway bridge; sipping merlot with the bar staff at the local hotel whilst being flooded in for 24 hours; chatting to/at the old man who runs the village shop – life moves in slow-motion here; driving out across Corney Fell under iron skies, with snow-dusted peaks glowing in the dusk; chicken stew in a cosy kitchen; the slumbering might of Black Combe; smugglers’ secrets; communing with nature; the mournful call of the curlew; achieving the silence of oneness at dusk; pride in awesome fire-lighting skills; spoon-bending; ratatouille coming out my ears; mind-leaps (the iphone miracle?!); ploughing through the novel with joyful abandon; Mumford and Sons harmonies at high volume (poor neighbours); philosophising with a wolf; self-help saturation; learning about ‘the Team’ and not being sure whether to laugh or cry; reassuring worried friends and relatives amidst sporadic phone reception; watching the waters rise; sharing a bed with hot-water bottle, bedsocks, sleeping bag and duvet; an overweight schnauzer dog humping my leg; psychedelic sheep; trying to become a waitress from afar; hopes and dreams for 2013; fleeting loneliness but mostly a (worrying?) love of the reclusivity (is that even a word?); romantic yearnings; an undignified fall in the mud; red sky at night that couldn’t have been shepherds’ delight judging by the next day’s deluge; the easy comfort of dinner with old friends; the most familiar view of all – thick cloud; oozing bitter-sweet nostalgia; an abortive trip to meet my original yoga guru (she was on a yoga course – doh!); very productive creative insomnia and resultant day-time delirium; a highly enjoyable, slightly crazy and eventually jinxed detour home; realising a part of me is still here, amidst the mountains, fells and lakes.

Strange that, from reading the garbled list, it seems like so much happened, when in reality I did a lot of sitting around inside eating endless amounts of ratatouille due to an over-catering error, sheltering from the formidable weather that was clamouring to be let in. I guess that, for anyone when they’re on their own, externally it might seem like not much is happening, but on the inside they could be experiencing an imagination-fuelled roller-coaster ride of thoughts and plan-making. My own can certainly leave me reeling sometimes.

Anyway, it was a brilliant week of solitude interspersed with socialising in Ravenglass, followed by a lovely weekend catching up with old friends in Ulverston. We dressed up as Victorians (I was basically wearing a white, floor-length nightie of dubious charity shop heritage given the yellowed under-arms, nice – I’m not sure the frigid Victorians would have been so brazen) for the Ulverston Dickensian festival. However, ‘great expectations’ of erudite foppery were dashed by the reality of the claustrophobic squeeze of fairground rides and tacky stalls into the town’s narrow streets. Not sure candy-floss featured so much in nineteenth century diets…

An interesting discovery from the weekend was that I have finally found a board-game that I enjoy. Some of my Cumbrian friends are partial to the odd board-game (when I say ‘partial’, this encompasses fancy-dress, model-making and re-enactment – that kind of partial). However, I have never shared the board-game love and in fact find it baffling (apart from Boggle – that is clearly in its own league of genius). However, my friend Paul had gone all the way to Keswick to retrieve a game called DixIt (in our drunken stupor, we renamed this to something that I cannot repeat in this genteel blog – it ends in ‘splat’). It’s a bizarre, surreal game, that seems to work just as well after far too many drinks as it does when you’re sober. It consists of a series of beautifully imagined and created images on cards. You have to say a word that the image brings to mind, then see if other people agree with you. I’ve described this really badly but if, like me, you dislike the prescriptive rules and regulations of most board-games, I urge you to try this one out and see if the dream-like pictures and emphasis on intuition and mind-games rather than strategy appeals.

Here are my usual ‘too many photos’, below:

Yep, the water got pretty high…

Picture my proud smile…

View from the back garden.

The mighty Black Combe across the estuary.

A surprising moment of calm amidst the raging storms.

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