17 November 2008


It was a day that might be best called blustery. Every few steps along the lane, the wind picked me up and set me back down again. A shepherd in wellies who met us in the path gestured to the sky and said, "A bit wild." I agreed.

But this was a glorious, beautiful blustery, the kind that wakes you up and makes you look around. A misty rain blew at us sideways as we walked down the road, which we chose over the muddy fields--they call them fells--that would have required serious boots. The sheep, with skinny spotted legs and heavy wool coats, chewed grass and watched us go by. We in turn watched the bright green hills roll into the fog, or the fog roll into the hills.

The air felt good after a big breakfast that had followed a cozy sleep after a big dinner, the kind of dinner that starts with glasses of wine by the fire and ends with a selection of amazing local cheeses that we can barely eat because we are so full after our delicious desserts, and then tea again by the fire.

So we were happy to ramble along. We got to the village at last, and learned about ropes and stone wall building and cheese making--at the rope museum, the dales museum, and the cheese factory, respectively. I learned new vocabulary, like "sally," which is the fuzzy part where you grasp the rope that rings the church bell, and "cope stone," which is a thin stone that sits vertically on top of a hand-built wall.

At one point, as we walked through a hilly cemetery, I slipped on the wet grass and landed--ufff!--in a big smear of wet mud. I was very out of sorts for a while, because my hands, sleeves, and bottom were covered with the black stuff. But moments later we watched a rainbow arch over the roofs of the village and the fog cleared for a minute so we could see the top of the dales, and I was happy again. And dorkily amused by my tumble, because I suddenly realized: I fell on the fells!

(Picture downloading has been hampered by my inability to locate the little thingamajiggy that puts European prongs onto my American camera charger. Will look again and hopefully will have pictures soon.)

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