Posted by Tania Kindersley.
Very brief, as I am about to get on the road for my annual trip south to the Beloved Cousin. I am going first to the Man of Letters, which is only about a three hundred mile detour. East is east and west is west. Still, it's nice to see a bit of the country. I am planning to drive right across the Yorkshire Dales, which I don't think I have done before. (I mean, I've been to Yorkshire, but not done that wild drive all the way across the National Park.)
Am madly running about, clearing fridge, saying goodbye to the Mother and Stepfather, packing and repacking, attempting to leave my office not too crazy, in case I am run over by a bus and my poor sister has to come in and clear up all the piles, making watercress soup for the journey, doing vital admin, and attempting to locate my library books.
As I make the soup, which I shall put in a thermos and eat on the journey, I think: why can't I just buy a cheese sandwich in a petrol station like a normal person?
Blogging might be light over the next few days, as I shall be all over the place.
A few last pictures for you:
Feel quite guilty about leaving my mum for a whole month, so I took her guilt flowers:
My last glimpse of this year's beech avenue. When I come back, it shall be stoic and bare:
My oldest and smallest acer was very merry this season:
The hills looked splendid, even on a white day:
The Pigeon has been giving me this melancholy, narrow-eyed look for two days now. It is because she has seen the suitcases, and she thinks I am leaving her, and however much I say You are coming with, she does not believe me. I admit this is partly because she is a dog and so therefore does not speak English:
Oh, and while we are on the subject of dogs, may I just sing a song of praise for lovely Plato's of Kirby Lonsdale, which not only has the most comfortable, chic rooms, and the most smiling, friendly staff, but also welcomes canines with open arms. It is in the enchanting market town of Kirkby Lonsdale, which has an old-fashioned hardware store and a camping shop and a cheese place and no soulless chains except for a tiny and discreet Boots. It is my halfway stop this year, and I always smile when I drive down its welcoming hill.
Yet, for all that I am excited about seeing Lancashire, my heart also sinks in my boots. I am so old and rooted now that I really hate going away. I used to be an easy traveller. I was always buggering off to Singapore or San Francisco or Sri Lanka. Now, it takes a year of badgering to get me to the Borders. I don't know. I've got all my books and my trees and my garden and my hills and my dog and the dear old internet so I can see what shocking things the Younger Niece is up to at her new university, and I like to sit still. My suspicion is this will pass. When I am sixty, no doubt I shall be running off to St Petersburg and Copenhagen and the Fjords at the drop of a hat. I do rather long for the Fjords.
I hate the idea of being stuck in a rut or a stick in the mud or any of those other idioms, but on the other hand, I suppose it is a good thing to be fond of one's own room. It makes me feel quite lucky, anyway.
Last hill for a while: