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Friday, August 04, 2006

Wandering summer

Sheep in the vale
Originally uploaded by
Sunshine follows me.

I have just realised that I haven't shared the pictures of our trip to the Lake District (let alone our anniversary weekend getaway). There is a distinct lack of photos on my blog as of late (I totally blame BT broadband!), just reams of boring text. It's all about multimedia nowadays, and I must keep up with the times.

I must say that I was dreadfully poorly during my trip to the Lakes. I had envisioned myself sauntering along the decking in a breezy cotton skirt and roman sandals, holding my floppy hat in my hands as my hair streams behind me in the warm summer wind. Certainly, MDH had filled my head with grand ideas of dining daintily on strawberries and cream whilst floating along in a rowboat, splashing around in the cool river waters in bathing suits, picnicking on the dry grass.

Bracken lace
Originally uploaded by
Sunshine follows me.

Needless to say, the clothes I had packed were totally inappropriate for the climate. Nevermind that it was sweltering along the South Coast and my hospital was admitting dozens of heatstroke patients. The lakes are always cold and always rainy. I should have known this from experience, having grown up in a flat near the water catchment reservoirs in Singapore.

I had one set of 'wet weather' gear with me (corduroys , sneakers and a denim jacket), but I had to borrow one of MDH's jumpers to wear, over several sleeveless and spaghetti strapped tops. Never believe anyone who claims that layering is everything. I looked like a walking portmanteau.

The Lakes were pretty much deserted at this time of year, as school holidays had not yet begun. So no one witnessed how ridiculous I looked. I only have photos now, and everyone knows that photographs tell lies.

(My mother takes one look at the photos afterwards, mumbles something to the effect of "Aiyoh, you have nothing to wear ah?". Then, she goes out and immediately purchases three new coats for me to wear.

Mother emails me pictures of the coats and I spend half an hour convincing her that I do wrap up warmly in the cold english weather, honest, mum, I do, I really do.

I had to make her return two of the coats. I kept the third one because, after all, my mother does have impeccable taste when it comes to clothes, and it was a beautiful piece of crochet, just perfect for autumn. But I digress.)

Burning pine cones
Originally uploaded by
Sunshine follows me.

The cold weather meant that we could retire to our cottage after a bracing walk and cuddle in front of a crackling fireplace. The cottage would soon be filled with scent of burning pinecones.

Pinecones, by the way, make a very satisfying fizzing and popping sound when they are burning. Sparks fly everywhere when they start crackling, so I now understand the purpose of fire screens.

I've never actually had a real coal fire before, so I spent every evening getting in touch with my inner pyromaniac. Of course, MDH was in charge of the Prometheus side of things. He would light the fire and then pound his chest in a manly fashion. I would excitedly potter round the cottage doing my duty as the gatherer, picking up garbage (sodden tissues, empty cardboard cartons and the like) that we could use as firestarters.

Occasionally, the sun deigned to make an appearance (on the last day of our trip, of course), and this meant that MDH and I would be seated outside on the slate steps, drinking tea and teasing the local cat.

This Thomas kitty was obviously the pet of the whole town, sleek and fat with glossy calico fur. He would stare at us with his golden eyes, before rolling onto his back and his paws batting the air in supplication. How could anyone resist such a plea from pink paw pads? Besides, there were plenty of roast chicken scraps to spare.

Once our feline friend had scoffed down his fill, he would pad off to the next house for seconds. In his absence, the tiny garden would slowly come alive with birds - the tiny warbling wrens, the acrobatic blue tits, the curious and territorial robin, the greedy chaffinches.

We'd watch them flit amongst the hedges, as the setting sun cast a red glow over the dry stone walls.

When night fell, the crickets would start to sing and we drifted slowly off to sleep, snug under the fluffy duvet, listening to the sound of frogs chirruping and the faraway chime of bells, as the cows from the nearby fields made their way home.


Anonymous Kim said...

I like the bracken.

3:02 pm  

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