Friday, July 14, 2006



A trivial detail has been driving me nuts; was the station Jamie cycled to Seatoller, Seathwaite or Seascale?  Yesterday I had the answer from the Station Master of the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway:  it was Seascale.  Thank you David Jenner.

Jamie liked my hair loose and had asked me to keep it in bunches whilst he was away.  I think if I had had false teeth he would have asked me to remove them.  A chastened trio set off on the long, long valley of Upper Eskdale and each rock and tuft of grass seemed to remind me that Jamie was gone.  His departure made Ginny and I realise that this glorious holiday wouldn’t last for ever and soon we would have the stomach churning ‘back on duty’ not knowing which ward we would be on and whether it was day or night duty.  In contrast the boys would have the whole summer climbing in Skye.

Poor Alec looked care-worn.  He had made up the quartet as a favour to Jamie and now he was solely responsible for two ditsy girls with few climbing skills and absolutely no sense of direction.  The holiday had been planned to give us a ‘breaking in period’ to acclimatise us and now we were to start ‘the big stuff’.  No wonder he was apprehensive.

Ginny and I had a quiet word and decided that:
a/ we must make the most of the rest of the holiday, and:
b/ we must be good and sensible and do all we could to make life easier for Alec.  He was the Daddy now.

Alec had two passions: climbing and music – especially Gilbert and Sullivan so we peppered him with questions about rock climbing – what he had done, the different grades of climbs, what he would do in Skye, rope work and how to abseil.  Soon our spirits rose, Alec was in his element and when the weather worsened and we were soaked in a deluge we sang ‘Three little Maids from school are we’ and ‘The Lord High Executioner’. We were rain happy.

As a further tribute to him – demonstrating our trust and esteem -we made him Controller of the Kendal mint Cake, <a href=>see here </a>.
This is a hard rock like substance – very sugary, which has been fortifying climbers since 1936 and was used on the successful Everest expedition.  Very small amounts were doled out to us when Alec deemed we had deserved them.

We ate our pack lunch sheltering under a bridge and then tackled Scafell Pike and saw where Sid (last night’s host at the pub) had discovered the climb down to Sty Head pass.  Honister Pass was next on the agenda and then, thankfully the hostel.  By now we were recognising faces and there was a very matey atmosphere.  We were intrigued by Ben – a rotund fair haired man who never seemed to exert himself and yet every time we reached a peak Ben would be sitting there – usually scoffing something – like a benign Buddha.  Weird!

I wrote to Jamie and left The letter with the warden to post the next day.  In those days you could post a letter – even in remote places and know it would be delivered the next day and you could have a reply the day after.  There would be at least two posts a day and they were totally reliable.  Whatever happened to our Royal Mail?

After supper Alec told us what he had in store for us the next day.  So Ginny and I didn’t sleep too well that night.

In memory of dear Alec.


R. Sherman said...

Glad you're back.



My parents were loco too....

Welcome back

PI said...

Thanks Randall and also for Ivan's news.

Hi 4d: good repartee!

OldHorsetailSnake said...

" store the next day." What? A walk in the park. Yeah, I can see that would now be seen as eminently dull.

PI said...

just you wait 'enery 'iggins - just you wait!

Guyana-Gyal said...

Whatever happened to mail everywhere? Thank goodness for email now.

PI said...

GG: it certainly accelerates things. This morning I was at your site whilst you were at mine. You could have come in for a coffee - maybe tea would be better.