Wednesday, 11 August 2010

A weekend of bliss and no driving

Thur 5th- Sat 7th

I am parked up outside my friend Deb’s house on the edge of Cumbria, well actually it’s outside a disused tea shop in her village. I am a little head up, but don’t want to draw too much attention to the largest vehicle in the village by placing the chocks under the wheels, so a little listing is not too much hassle. I used to climb with Deb and her ex on Dartmoor and haven’t seen her eight years. So far I’m having the best time and I have had a long hot bath and washed all my clothes and taken the bread maker out of the garage under the bed and made fabulous warm fresh bread…. Woohoo….

We have walked on the fells- up and down hills, gone to a pottery convention- Bill Oddie and his wife everywhere, talked until we are exhausted and had loads of laughter.. fabee! We ate lunch in a wonderful café that allows dogs called No 15 in Penrith and tonight we are off out for a Chinese. This is just what I needed at this stage of the trip. Even walking into the Hobby at midnight last night and having no electricity due to the rain that fell most of the day, didn’t dampen my mood, I just turned on my headlamp. I slept well and woke up excited. I’m here for a few more days so I hope that in terms of energy I shall have recharged and feel more wellness.

Sun 8th- Mon 9th

I cannot believe how well Deb and I have got on. Mind you, being both Aries women the energy was always in tune along with the telepathy. We only have to look at each other to know exactly what the other is thinking. It made everything so simple, as we both wanted the same thing. On Sunday morning we visit a limestone field of very special stones. Like the Burren in Ireland this limestone has a special geological significance. Deep steps of layered stone with crevices in between allow for a micro culture of plants to flourish. I was so deeply saddened to discover that man in his stupidity and greed had machined off the tops for gardens and left a sort of shingle underneath. The bits that were left were worth a look.

After that, all dressed up we went to her colleagues birthday soirée in Kendal. It was pleasant but, when the Jazz band were due to arrive we looked that look and made our leave. I have never been able to figure out how four blokes playing randomly different tunes, all with different tempo can be called music. I suppose its like art, it’s all in the ears of the beholder.

On Monday I got to glaze pots at Debs’ friends pottery. Mary, ( is a successful potter and a generous instructor. She let me have a couple of pots to play with and I was most impressed with the results, if I may say so. I shall certainly keep and display. We had to put wax on parts we didn’t want coloured and glaze other parts either by dipping or with a brush, then fire, then place into sawdust and catch alight, put out quickly and then plunge into water. It is called ‘raku’ and is all very exciting. The glaze is supposed to crackle and come out in splendid colours but is highly unpredictable. I loved the day and was absolutely shattered at the end from standing for so long. It may have been from the fact that the night before (and the night before that) Deb and I had blethered on for hours over good red wine and I am such a cheap date, it does not take me long to be tiddled. We had one more bottle to go, then I have to leave to dry out.

Tue 10th

The next morning I reluctantly leave with a friendship cemented. I’ve emptied the ‘bogging’ toilet and tied everything down. I am sad to go even though I am off to Bonny Scotland and that is what has driven me so far. I met Deb in a similar place to myself at the same age (38) and totally understand why people used to say that their ears bled after a while of being with me. I can say that my life lesson here is to have a visit with myself. I didn’t know what to expect, or how long I might stay, but felt I had met a sister after a long time and part of me didn’t want to leave. Many hugs preceded goodbye.

The trip to Scotland was long and arduous. I stop in Carlisle to get fuel and pop in the homogenous Tesco. It seems to me that every single Teso is laid out the same. I could walk in blind and still find the fish section! It’s handy if you are in a rush, but hugely unexciting as a shopper to get 600 miles away to find that I am in Plymouth as soon as I enter the doors. After that I enter Scotland and head north. I tried to stop at Loch Lomond, but my plans to wild camp while in Scotland get off to a ropey start. I go to Luss as it was one of my stepdad Albert’s faves. I find it a bit twee, but am able to put water into the tank so I can at least have a shower in the morning. I was not able to do this by my on board- bought for the occasion flat winding hose pipe. Oh no, I had to park in the car park, walk into the ladies and use the sink, so after five round trips from Hobby to sink with water carrier,I had just enough for two showers and I leave.

My head is full of Albert, a Glaswegian who returned to Scotland after he and my mum parted. He died sadly aged 65, six years ago. He and I stayed as family and I traveled to Scotland every year to visit him around Easter as we shared our birthday and always tried to spend it together with the girls. We were great mates. He’d have loved this trip and I have his corduroy sailor hat on the front dash of the Hobby, so in a way he comes too.

I found that my dream of easy ‘wild camping’ ain’t so easy. I took the road to Loch Fyne, turning left at Tarbet and found myself on a slow road of twisty difficult, miserable, wet, narrow tarmac. Deb and I had sat the night before and conjured up a plan of where to go and what to see on the way, with time to relax and write etc. She and her ex spent many trips on adventures kayaking or climbing as they are uber outdoorsy folks. I just want peace and quiet, beauty, with a little bit of adventure thrown in for good measure, for let’s face it, doing this alone is adventure enough! I find that every time I do what the ‘book’ advocates I don’t feel safe enough. Eventually though 200 miles away from Deb’s and thoroughly exhausted I pull over somewhere as I just have to stop. I find a sign that denotes and adventure centre and check out it’s car park, but am afraid of stopping there, so instead find a spot on the side of the road to it, near a house. Unfortunately the pull in is on a slope and I fall into bed slowly creeping to one side of it. I am anxious and fidgety of someone knocking on the Hobby door in the night and making me leave. I definitely do not feel safe, but have full signal on the phone and eventually fall deeply asleep with no problems.. apart from slippery sheet syndrome!

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