Saturday, 4 September 2010
Is there anything better.........
than a leisurely lunch in a lovely pub with lovely friends, I ask. Yes, there is.
If it is preceded by a wonderful journey through exquisite countryside on a glorious day then that makes it even better. And that is what I did yesterday.
A friend and I set off in her four-track, complete with programmed sat-nav to drive to The Black Swan in Ravenstonedale - a pub I have been to many times before. My friend had not made the journey though and was blown away by the scenery as we turned off the road at Pendragon Castle and travelled across empty wild moorland to get there.(the sat nav had a small nervous breakdown at this point, but rapidly readjusted itself.)
Our friends were already waiting there for us and we had a delicious lunch of smoked haddock sitting on a bed of mashed potatoes, a layer of spinach and finally a poached egg and cheese sauce - a simple enough combination and one to remember for future use. We asked a man at a neighbouring table to take our photograph and you can see it above - lovely couple of hours.
The friend and I set off on our return journey (the other two live in the opposite direction and this was a half-way meeting point) going back the way we had come - and lo and behold the scenery seemed totally different but just as beautiful.
Once we turned on to the Kirby Stephen to Garsdale Road (running alongside the Carlisle to Settle railway line for much of the way) we came across a chap pulling a stretcher. When we caught him up, we stopped for a chat and to put some money in his bucket. For this man is walking alone, pulling the stretcher with a model soldier at the back and a wounded soldier model on the stretcher. All his belongings are hidden under the stretcher, so it is quite a load to pull. He is walking from St Bees, on the West Coast, to Robin Hood's Bay on the East coast. Each night he is camping in a field by the side of the road and all the way he is collecting money for 'Help for Heroes'.
Whether or not one supports the war in Iraq and then in Afghanistan (I personally do not support either war at all - I think both are criminal), one cannot doubt the efficacy of the Help for Heroes charity. A friend's grandson was injured there some months ago and is, happily, almost restored to full health. Many, of course, are not as my friend's daughter told me when we met a short while ago. The injuries some of these brave young men sustained are beyond our comprehension. Therefore any money given to the cause is worthwhile.
We were struck by the man's fitness, his pleasant personality and the work he was putting in for such a good cause. His journey yesterday was due to end in Hawes - we travelled the twelve miles or so to Hawes after leaving him - and it was almost all seriously uphill - so even more credit to him. Today he is travelling almost past our farm and I wished I had asked him to call in.