Monday, 11 October 2010

Silver linings

It’s often said of Britain that the country has no climate, only weather. It’s certainly true that whereas one might head off to the Maldives with a reasonably certainty of sun, or to the Austrian Alps with a good hope of finding snow, if you go to the Derbyshire Dales you’re likely to see beautiful countryside but shouldn’t be unduly concerned if you forget to bring your sun block.

Officially what I think of as ‘the Dales’ are actually called ‘the Peaks’. Since these peaks don’t tend to get much beyond 500 metres, it feels to me more sensible to concentrate on the valleys between them, the dales that give the area its beauty. We were there on Saturday and Sunday, as a kind of farewell to the region: after two and a half years in Stafford, just over an hour from the village of Castleton where we spent the weekend, we’re moving to Luton which is more like three hours away.

We went with friends who were once near neighbours, and soon will be again when we complete our move. It was an excellent demonstration of the principle that I mentioned before, that with really good friends, when you pick up again even after far too long a separation, it’s as if you had never been apart.

Castleton really doesn’t have a huge amount of entertainment to offer: wonderful walks during the day, certainly, but at night there’s really little more than the pubs. Plenty of them, for a village that size, but that’s about it. So we spent the evening catching up with our friends, and a great delight it was too – picking up conversations as though they had barely been interrupted, revisiting old interests and pleasures as though they’d never been suspended. Since we were spending our time in pubs, we helped the conversations by lubricating them with a moderate number of drinks. And then a few more, since even a taste for moderation is something one shouldn’t indulge to excess.

We had one reasonably long walk up on the ridge linking the various ‘peaks’. That was where I had a wonderful illustration of why it’s possible to enjoy holidaying in England despite the weather: suddenly, and for a brief moment, the gloomy skies split open and the sun shone through.

It’s the one great thing about living with so much greyness – you really appreciate the occasional glimpse of brightness. It’s just like a weekend with friends, after having gone through a difficult time, with redundancy and unemployment: a real breath of fresh air…


Anonymous said...

Fantastic pic.

Awoogamuffin said...

I agree with San

"it’s possible to enjoy holidaying in England despite the weather"

maybe 'despite' should be replaced with 'thanks to'