Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin.
“In a time then and now/In a place far and near/In a world of which old stories tell/A land cradled in light―/Sun by day, moon by night―/Is held safe under summer’s sweet spell”. This is Summerland, where The Song of the Silent Child is set. The eponymous Silent Child is despised in this land of perpetual happiness, and it isn’t until she meets Old Mother Love, the Crone/wise woman who is dying, that the Child learns who she is: “’You go by (more…)
Silent, upon a peak in Cumbria.
Or to be more precise: intermittently rustling, upon a peak in Cumbria.
Or to be even more precise: intermittently rustling as I shifted around inside in a bivvy bag on a flattish grassy hillock overlooking Easedale Tarn on a clear early autumn night. In Cumbria. (more…)
This would be a fine place to spend eternity.
From the lichened drystone wall where I sat the land rolled away to the horizon, a series of gradual grassy undulations punctuated with clumps of shrubs and trees. In the distance the peat browns and heather purples of the moor spread their muted patchwork; within the tiny churchyard itself, oaks, ashes and other trees were stretching (more…)
If we’d packed sun cream, of course, it would have peed down all week. As it was we only had my calculated-for-weight modicum of SPF moisturiser and it looked like there’d be sun, on and off, for the next two days. Fortunately, Danby Health Shop was right next door to the Duke. Inside, we breathed deeply of that arcane herbs smell proper to independent healthfood shops. Jenny invested a quietly startling amount of money in some extremely wholemeal organic sun cream, and we went outside to get ‘slapped up’, as Susie and I call it.
Easier said than done. The texture of the cream was such that, even after a good few minutes’ rubbing, we still looked like we’d been prepped to swim the channel. Better than getting lobstered, though. We slithered our way into our packs and set off on the ‘Danby Loop’ section of the SHW. (more…)
Two moulded plastic chairs, one grey, one a sort of institution pinky orange, stood in front of Hilda’s spring; another lay on its side at a distance away, under a tree. The grey one was covered with flies. The chairs were that low budget, stacking sort: curved, with metal legs, and a cut out section at the base of the back which is, I suppose, designed to make lifting and stacking easier but which my young self, at primary school, believed to be a vent to let the farts out.
There was something oddly touching (more…)