Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Wednesday was gorgeous.
Girlfriend and me went for a big walk, fourteen miles, up beyond the tarn and across to Yew Cogar Scar with its Blimey, that’s a steep drop aspect, and towards Arncliffe. It was recommended to us by Long Tall Wanda who walks a lot.
Arncliffe is very pretty and an archetypal Dales village, so much so that fans of ITV drama will recognise it as where they used to film Inspector Morse. These days, of course, it’s all done with blue screens and computers and off-shored to the Chinese.

I took snaps of shadows and walls and clouds and Girlfriend, and we stopped to eat our eggs at two o’clock and we could see for miles but all we heard was birds singing and the occasional rustle of our sandwich bags. Far below in the valley it was lambing time.

There weren’t many other walkers about, but those we did see were proper ones - the type you exchange friendly hellos with as you pass, and who are generally retired with dogs. You don’t get that with the Bank Holiday crowd: I know because I tried it and the woman just looked vaguely alarmed, like I’d told her that I was taking her out to dinner, the table’s booked for 8:00, dress foxy.

We returned home hot and thirsty and tired and very happy.
Leanne was sitting on a bench by the Green in the sunshine, reading a book, checking her texts and watching some kids kicking a football about.
She said she’d been talking to the oldest kid - a girl who used to live in Bolton, where Leanne is from - about their favourite players. She said she was the only girl in the school football team. When the two lads fell out and one of them was crying his eyes out, the girl had sat down with him and said “Come on, let’s sort this out” and spent ages talking to him, fixing whatever the problem had been and making him feel better.
“It was really lovely,” said Leanne.

She’d also spent a couple of hours wandering around Grassington, and reported that everybody was nice there too, stopping to say hello and tell her about stuff.
I have to say this made me a bit cross. Granted, Leanne is an attractive young woman and why wouldn’t people stop to talk to her?
But they never talk to me like that, which is grossly unfair, and I told Girlfriend that we would be visiting Grassington ourselves the next day, to demand an explanation.

Charlie had taken JP to the big city on her motorbike because they were missing the whole retail buzz thing which you don’t get in the Dales. They spent the day in a pub garden down by the river, and JP bought some jeans.

We stood around outside for a bit, playing boules - or more accurately, pétanque, as Charlie was keen to point out - and then me and JP passed a happy half hour throwing an American football to each other on the Green.
I showed him how to make it spin in the air, like how the professionals do it. It’s altogether more manly that way, although I was glad when Girlfriend called us in for tea because my back was starting to play up.

We watched / shouted at The Apprentice, then stayed up talking rubbish and singing.

Charlie said “When people ask me in years to come 'Where were you at Live 8?' - because they will - I’ll say 'At Leanne’s'.”
And Leanne said that Morningtown Ride is one her biggest childhood memories. “In the car on the home from a day out somewhere, a nice day out somewhere. My Mum and my Dad and me and my sister, singing that on the way back.”

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