I mentioned in a previous post that the death of Queen Elizabeth II has evoked for many people (myself included) memories of our own personal grief and loss.
Looking at this image (taken this weekend at during a lovely family gathering near The New Forest) I was reminded of a description of grief and loss that I was told many years ago, it resonated with me at the time, and has done so many times since.
That grief never leaves you. But that as time passes, the grief, like the growth ring of a tree, becomes encapsulated within you as the years pass. Hidden from view, hopefully a little easier to carry, but always there in the heartwood. Not forgotten.
So today, the day of Queens Elizabeth’s state funeral, for all who grieve, I leave you with this beautiful song.
I’m so grateful, like many, Dad wouldn’t say very much about his experience, it was something he found to harrowing to tell. So to know more and ensure that the knowledge is handed on is important to me.
Most of the UK is experiencing a heatwave at the moment, I hope you’ve somewhere cool and comfortable to be. An old house with thick stone walls, small windows and perched on a hill, is a very fortunate place to be.
This is Chee Dale, a cool deep limestone dale in the White Pak area of the Peak district National Park.
Stepping stones, to the left, tucked under the overhanging rock, keep your feet dry when water is more plentiful and look at those lovely limestone bedding planes to the right. We like a limestone landscape.
The path can be a bit of a scramble in parts, stout footwear is required, especially when wet, the limestone can be fiendishly slippery.
We took the camper van out to stretch it’s legs, just a one nighter, not far, just a 30 minute drive into the White Peak, pretty much my old commute in days gone by. We’d made some repairs and alterations to the van since our last ‘big trip’ to Scotland in May, and we wanted to check things worked as intended, the leaky tap is no more, and the new fridge, has a TARDIS like capacity, it’s smaller than the old fridge and yet it can accommodate a four pint bottle of milk AND a bottle of wine in an upright position, no more fridge wrangling! Result.
And if that wasn’t enough van excitement, Mr Uphilldowndale used space gained by the smaller fridge to build a cutlery drawer. ‘Tis a thing of beauty, I’d share a video of me opening and closing it in sheer delight, if I’d fully mastered uploading videos on to this WordPress editor.
We visited the lovely village of Monyash had a delicious and leisurely brunch at The Old Smithy Cafe, a favourite coffee stop of Mr UHDD on his Sunday bike rides, we shared our table and travel tales with a motorbiking couple from the Midlands, before striking out to Chatsworth.
The centre of the village is always where the gossip is, here the now superseded phone box has been repurposed as a mini library, the post box still functions, but you won’t get as many collections these days. (At least this one hasn’t been stolen.) But it is still a place to stop for a chat.
Through the stile into the small enclosure is a clue to how this spot must have been a meeting place for hundreds of years, with what we took to be a capped well
We take turning on the tap for fresh water so much for granted. Getting water, must have consumed so much time and energy, especially in this part of the Peak District, where the porous limestone gobbles up rivers and streams. I really shouldn’t complain about a leaky tap.
It’s been a week of contemplation. We’ve lived here for over thirty years, and never before have we seen a temperature of 35.8c as we did on Tuesday, deeply worrying. We were very grateful to be in a house with very thick stone walls and a heavy stone slate roof, plus the windows are for the most part small by modern standards. We could keep ourselves comfortable.
Perhaps most worrying is now the the temperature is back to a regular 19c, it’s as though it was a bad dream, a couple of days of very uncomfortable hot weather, not a bellwether for climate change. My concern is as a species we don’t seem able or willing to take action now.
It’s taken me back to composing little blog posts as I meander along. Maybe it is time to start posting again. I’ve had a few false starts before, but I’m up for trying again.
Lets open the gate, and see where we can go, and what we might find.
I always stop and admire this gate. I imagine that by now the fiery orange montbretia will have bloomed along the steps, making the colours sing just a little brighter and louder.
We’ve been holidaying in our often featured, favourite Devon spot a little earlier than usual. And whilst we enjoy being able to visit outside the school holidays (it’s more peaceful, and a lot cheaper) we miss the fun and games we used to have with the ‘Mill Bay Gang’. The children are all grown up now, and scattered around the country and the globe. We the remaining grown ups have had to find new ways to entertain ourselves, it has involved a number of long leisurely lunches, but we are getting the hang of it.
So, maybe if I can push through the gate, I can also delve a little deeper, and explore some unfamiliar places and stories and report back to the blog. I like the idea of opening a few drawers, for a good old rummage around, ‘though few drawers will be as glamorous as these.
I’ll see what I can find.
(PS, how in my absence, did writing a blog post, get quiet so complicated? Please, am I missing something?)
I’m told my blog is fifteen years old. And whilst not a lot has been posted on it recently, I do refer to it often. Every time there is a question about when was it ‘such and such’ happened, this blog usually has the answer. It is stuffed full of memories.
Never more so than since Boxing day, the 26th of December 2021, when we had to say goodbye to our beloved dog Spud
Spud and his antics were a very important part of this blogs narrative.
His death, was both peaceful and timely, we miss him so very much, his absence ambushes us painfully time and time again.
We’re indebted to our local veterinary surgery, who whilst working under sever staffing pressures and Covid restrictions, made it possible for us to have the time and privacy to discuss an end of life plan for Spud. He had become slower and achy, and when in November he started showing symptoms of Horner’s Syndrome, the suspicion was that something serious was developing. We knew that that putting him through any invasive tests and procedures would not be in his best interests and it was agreed just before Christmas that he should be kept comfortable at home, being spoilt and eating lots of turkey.
He would have had a good zoom around given half a chance, but we’d learned, even if Spud hadn’t, that charging around too much made him rather sore and stiff, so we just allowed him a modest zoom. You can see he enjoyed it.