We did a number of walks during our week in the Lake’s District. The day my cousin Joanna came to visit with her family the sun came out, so after a cup of tea, we set off to climb a hill on the other side of the lake with a “pimple” on its top.
Seeing the sun was out, we thought we would do this before lunch – and Keith assured us it would be short. However, it took ages to drive there along the narrow winding road – deceptive – on the map, it looked no distance at all.
It was a steep climb straight up a grassy path with amazing views. It was incredibly windy and there was a definite chill to the air.
I had not seen Joanna for twenty six years and we managed to talk all the way up, catching up on news about different family members. It was a delight to meet two of her three children – Susannah and Matthew. Joanna is a cousin from my father’s side – the Wright family and there is a story about me that is told with much laughter whenever I meet any Wright family.
When I was eight, my family spent Christmas in England. Much to everyone’s surprise, it snowed, so it was a white Christmas – my first and only one. On Boxing Day, we were with the Wright family and all the children were rugged up in coats and boots and sent outside to play and probably let off steam. There was a pond in the garden covered in ice. I told my boy cousins who were both a little older than me that I had always wanted to ice skate. At that stage I had not read Noel Streatfield’s White Boots. They encouraged me to have a go, so I did. I stepped confidently onto the ice and with a spectacular crash, I fell through the ice and was drenched from head to foot. I emerged looking like a drowned rat, while my wicked cousins doubled over with laughter. I remember wondering how I would explain my state to my mother, who I knew would not be amused. No one told me about ice skates or testing ice – I have never lived it down.
It was a fun day and Joanna and I promised not to leave it another twenty six years before meeting again.
The next day, Keith and I set off to drive to Whitehaven, a small town on the coast to visit my aunt and uncle – again on the Wright side of the family. We chose to go the scenic route, which involved driving over perilous passes and down very narrow roads that wound up and down the hills, they were a bit more like goat tracks than roads. We did get a little lost and added an enormous loop that took half an hour but only about two miles closer to our destination. I have to confess that I held my breath a great deal and was very glad that I was not the driver.
The last time I saw my Aunt, she was about the age that I am now – again twenty six years have passed. We enjoyed finding out about each other and the day went fast. It took us over three hours to get there and an hour to go home – this time the more direct route – I had decided that I am not much of a mountain goat.