'It's Piglet!' cried Pooh eagerly. 'Where are you?'
'Underneath,' said Piglet in an underneath sort of way.
'You,' squeaked Piglet.
delicate yellow flowers - tormentil?
short many-eared grasses
small limestone outcrops, some moss-covered
Between us several feet of upland moor
Carole sits, draws
I cower, back to the wall
Between us empty air
the wallers have gone for ‘us dinners’
taking their dogs, leaving us silence
Between us almost 140 years accumulated
like minds, disparate lives
our various tastes of guilt and loss, despair, delight
laughter and fury, exasperation, non-comprehension, respect
and something momentary, fragile, elusive
something not unlike love
Between us a shared anxiety
gusting and then stilled
that we will miss the Darnbrook turning
that I won’t make it
Flanked by thistles, buffeted by the wind
So, not all awful by any measure although my pace on the flat was painfully slow and, despite an extra input of meds, my legs never recovered their strength. Still, we found the signpost for Darnbrook and began the descent under blue skies. What started as a gentle slope, though, quickly became more precipitous and we lost the path. Lurching between repeated falls (and unable to right myself) and ‘freezing’ so that I was rooted to the spot, I also felt myself becoming petulant and tearful – rather like my mum at her most difficult! But she was almost 95…
Well we made it somehow, between ignominiously slithering down gullies on my bottom and demanding that Carole hold my hand. Several times we thought we would have to get help. The indignity of the whole episode wasn’t lost on me nor the realisation that I had become something of a liability, almost overnight, it seemed. Carole apologised several times for treating me like a child – but why not when I had become exactly that?
And us? We sit inside the car, Carole in the front seat painting, I in the back, wriggling in search of any position where the sore ribs will hurt less and finding no comfort; like a couple who have fallen out with each other and can’t bear to inhabit the same space. The sense of an uneasy peace, the residue of yesterday’s challenges, hangs in the air. Our aim of mutual silence and concentration is repeatedly broken by one or the other. Eventually we retrace our steps via Yockenthwaite and then a rush to eat and change in time to meet Robin at the Falcon.
Then following the river footpath to Hawkswick and back along the road in warm sun.
As I approach the pub, I happen to be looking in what I hope is a friendly fashion at a man cutting the grass verge on the opposite side of the road with a motor mower, at just the moment when he attempts to turn and the machine all but runs away with him, leaving him scrabbling desperately in its wake. I’m still grinning sympathetically in his direction as he irritably swats and swears at a fly which is bugging him – before I realise I am the target of his fury:
‘Fuck off! Fucking old cow. Fuck off, you old cow. Fucking cow…’
Obviously my social skills are not what they were. Can’t really blame the Parkinson’s for that, though…
['ANOTHER ROBIN' possible opening – with apologies to C & C!
As you enter from the Green, the narrow bar is straight ahead, flanked as always on high stools by a couple with a dog. The barman scowls.
C breezes up to the bar. ‘Hello. Are you the new landlord?’
His frown deepens. ‘No.’
‘But you are new?’
'No, I’ve been here 4 years.’
‘Ah yes, I remember - you used to be part-time?’
'No, I’ve always been full-time. And I remember you.’
C collects the drinks, turns to me. ‘Can’t get a smile out of him.’]
On the day we left, woke to thick cloud and heavy rain...