On this bright clear day in April I was making my way back from Iceland to England to make a documentary over the summer, about which I shall hopefully be able to tell you soon. My Easter in Iceland had been full of stories and stunning footage on the news of the first volcanic eruption at Fimmvorduhals, which had strangely begun the day Orri arrived, and ended the day I left! However, at the airport before departure I was told that another had begun nearby…the now infamous Eyjafjallajokul. Little did I realise when I looked out the window here and thought “Gosh, what magical place is this?!” (realising delightedly that it was the Lake District – only a stone’s throw from where I was going) that in a few hours the sky would not only not be clear, but it would be closed, for the first time in my lifetime.
A few days later I found myself in the very lands I had spied from the plane window celebrating a friend’s birthday under quiet quiet blue skies, away from mobile phone network and the incessant ramblings on the news about how inconvenient it all was. Orri had stayed in Iceland as he had a craving to go to sea and work on a fishing boat, and we found the idea of possibly being separated by an ash cloud all rather romantic!
The good weather did not let up, and I took the opportunity to take the first of many forays around the UK (which is one of my plans for this summer), to visit friends in Wales. I took A roads and B roads and stopped for ice cream in farm shops and to take many pictures of the breathtaking changing landscapes which, according to the local press, seemed not to have been left unscathed by the ‘havoc’!
On the homeward leg I passed flowery meadows and Welsh chapels with their leaded windows criss crossing the dappled light onto cold stone.
And stopped in lovely Ludlow for a cuppa and a lump of cheese.
The May Day weekend took some friends and I to nearby Wray, where there is a now nationally famous Scarecrow Festival for which the residents go to some creative lengths. I saw one man riding around the village on a tandem, the second rider of which was a scarecrow – moving legs and all! The residents have jumble sales outside their front doors which I love, and I was very chuffed to find a huge hand woven woolen blanket from Peru for a fiver which I shall be putting to good use for my soon to be made summer nest.
The consistently good weather has been welcome, and slightly confusing! When it is sunny I want to spend all my time outdoors and moseying through woods, but there are always those little things to do…the oil in the cogs that keep life ticking along…which you want to save for a rainy day, but when there aren’t any what do you do?! Thankfully I have managed to get out a lot and re meet these surroundings of mine that I love so dearly, with friends and in sunlit solitude.
To this wood, a favourite little secret of mine, I took my friend Eleanor – a talented artist with a lovely voice – as we had recently disocvered highly compatible voices and a common penchant for harmonies. On arriving there though, it was so so still, and so full of sounds….
As the natural world bursts into life I find myself wanting to exercise my creaky limbs. So I have been quite active, taking bike rides along the canal and river (we are blessed with both here in Lancaster, and at one point the canal crosses over the river suspended magically in the sky by a Victorian viaduct!) and jumping into rivers and streams for a swim.
This most beautiful spot in the Trough of Bowland was the first dip of the year and hard to beat with its bluebell bluffs and gorse lined seclusion. The water was actually warm!
This past weekend we went to Little Langdale in the Lake District and by happy accident found this wondrous flow-off from Little Langdale Tarn, with deep clear waters and lily pads and couldn’t resist a lengthy dip.
While I wait to (hopefully) start this documentary, I have been pedalling my wares (an eclectic selection of my handmade jewellery, birds on sticks, elephants on wheels and other such delights brought back from my African adventures) on street corners here and there. One evening last week artist friend Eleanor and I stumbled upon an evening car boot sale (why don’t they always do it in the evening?!) in a beautiful field in Ulverston. As the car happened to be full of our wares, we thought it worth a try. And we made enough for our dinner, which is all you need really…
Thanks to all of you who have come here to find I haven’t, and apologies for the lack of ramblings of late. It’s just been too lovely to spend more time than absolutely necessary in front of a computer screen. If you drop by, please do leave word and that might be a little prod towards the next emptying of my tale and image – ful pockets. Until then, enjoy your wanders wherever they may be!