It’s always so thoroughly beneficial to get away for a few days. Even accounting for minor disagreements and the general hard work involved in camping, or caravanning with dogs there is still room for plenty of relaxation. In relationship terms I think holidays rate as one of the best opportunities to really to get to know someone, for better or worse. We had a little bit of both this last week but survived and ended on a good note with new things to contemplate.
We stayed just outside Ashbourne in Derbyshire. It’s got a bit of everything we like including lakes and rivers for the dogs, a small market town, beautiful countryside. Only this time I wasn’t happy about missing out on walks longer than the half a mile that M can manage. On day one we did that half a mile walk and sat watching people stream by with walking boots, backpacks, kids, dogs, picnics. It was nice enough sitting there with our own small picnic despite the fact that there were a million dogs and small children and letting two Springers run amok just wouldn’t have been the done thing. Both fidgeted and tried to sit in our laps (they were soaking wet too) and were generally a big fat pain in the neck. I couldn’t really blame them, like me they just wanted to get on with a bit of exploring.
An extremely fit woman who must have been at least seventy five years old approached us to ask exactly where she was on her laminated map. We clocked the brand new and matching walking trousers, backpack, footwear and walking poles and M said later, ‘All the gear and no idea!’ However, the poor woman had walked for four hours and got totally confused with her map reading and I kind of admired her for sticking with it especially when she realised she was the wrong side of a very big tor. She could so easily have caved and asked for a lift back to her hotel.
It sounds like a simple thing to ask your husband to drop you at the start of a walking route and meet you at the other end on the basis that you enjoy walking but he doesn’t. M prefers to do things together. My first attempt was just met with laughter. The second with anger. Armed with more research on route, timings, weather, suitability for my footwear (for goodness sake) I eventually got him to agree but he wasn’t happy. The plan was for him to take Harvey and his bad shoulder to a scenic riverside bench we’d discovered previously and for Harvey to have a swim, and for M to read the newspaper and do the crossword and then head to the meeting point where there was free parking, coffee and toilets. Meanwhile Riley and I would try hard not to break our necks or twist our ankles!
Apart from the sheer pleasure of walking for over two hours on my own with Riley alerting me to approaching walkers whether ahead or behind us, amazing scenery, stopping only for quick swigs of water or a cooling swim for Riley, I ended up learning a valuable lesson when we met up at the end of the route. With lunch, coffee and a bench overlooking a stream with tiny fluffy baby ducklings (dogs safely in the car by now!) we witnessed two other couples who were managing to cope with different physical abilities. A middle aged woman with limited mobility and a stick waited quite happily watching the same ducklings for some considerable time until her hiking boot clad husband came into view. Next to our car a man with more severe mobility issues (a wheelchair in the back) read the newspaper and set up a flask of tea while his wife set off for a walk.
It’s worth mentioning that we are sort of equal when it comes to things we can and can’t do. M can’t walk far or fast but he can enjoy theatre, live music, the cinema, the radio, chats with complete strangers. He can make phone calls and ask for things in shops knowing that he will hear the reply. There’s probably quite a few more but the point is that we can’t always enjoy the same things.
With the sulking and the strops conveniently forgotten M said he’d had a lovely day! He’d actually got to our meeting point and decided to walk as far as he felt he could manage with H knowing that I’d be making my way towards the same path. Despite taking a tumble when the path offered up a random rock in an otherwise smooth surface he was happy he’d seen some of the route. I’m hopeful that we can do similar things in the future.
Apart from walking there was crochet time, reading, staring up into the sky through very tall trees (I did quite a bit of this!). My fronds shawl got finished. I used a 150g Colourwheel ball of yarn which turned out to be a good sized shawl. I’ll wear it more like a cowl or scarf so didn’t need too much more bulk. I liked this pattern and would happily make another using a different brand of multi tone yarn or something similar to the green variegated yarn used in the pattern details. The pattern is by The Crochet Project and is absolutely perfect for a travel or holiday project, just a little bit of concentration required!
Perhaps the highlight of the trip was Riley finding a huge fresh cowpat and deciding to coat not just one side of his head and neck with it but both sides. M was ranting, Harvey was shaking with fear, I was rearranging the car boot and deciding which old towel to donate to the cause. Riley just stood there dripping liquid cow poo from both ears. We wrapped him up in the towel and drove to the nearest lake with all four windows wide open and howling with laughter!