Thursday, August 30, 2012

"It were a bit wet ..."

I expect it would be boring to give you a detailed description of the pain I am in, so I won't, tempting though it is.

Instead I will talk about the weather, like any good Englishman of good upbringing.

I see from the BBC website that this year is the wettest on record.  By a curious coincidence, the Lake District is the wettest part of the UK.  Put the two together and what do you get?

Let the answer come from the wise lips of a local, retired shepherdess.  She now runs the Walkers Drop in Cafe in Moor Row, a must-visit if you are in the area.  She said she's never known as much rain.  When we described where we were going she said brightly "You'll have walking poles then?" and a significant "Oh" when we answered in the negative, followed by a falsely cheery "Never mind" which put dread in my heart.

(Just so you know how much pain I am not telling you about, I thought I would mention that I took a pair of Ibuprofen two hours ago and it's still painful.)

On our first evening we stayed at a lovely farm.  The farmer, a retired doctor, now keeps all kinds of animals, including bees.  He said he had eight hives.  "Do you know how much honey I've had this summer?" he asked.  "Eight pounds."

I clearly didn't look sufficiently taken aback.  In retrospect I realise I should have staggered and gasped "No! Never!" but I just looked blank so he said "I normally get 400 pounds.  It's all this wet weather."

All this is by way of introduction.  Shortly after leaving our hotel this morning, we turned into the path on our gentle climb on the route to Grasmere.  There was quite a big puddle which we skirted. And another. And another.  After a while the path just became a stream, with water cascading along it.  I would have written "cascading merrily" but it was cascading along the path I wanted to take, damn it.

For the next couple of hours all that happened was that my boots and gaiters got wet.

Then we got to a part where the guidebook explained we would have to ford a stream.  It didn't explain where we would get a 4x4.  I was dismayed to realise I would have to ford it on foot.  Well that wouldn't do so I walked around the fording point.  I then discovered why it is a good thing to ford the stream.  The alternative is to end up knee deep in the bog.  Which I did.

In the end, one becomes inured to a touch of dampness, to walking through streams and swamps.

On arrival at the wonderful Silver Lea B&B in Grasmere, we rang and when our hostess, Gill, came to the door we asked if we should take our boots off.  She looked at our feet and replied "I think that would be better."

I was shattered.  So was the retired policeman I told you about yesterday, who we met just after supper.

But ...

.. tomorrow the sun will shine and all will be good.

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