Thursday, 2 December 2010
What to do on a cold winter;s night!
There has been a little lightening of the sky today and for about three hours around mid-day the sun came out and a slight thaw set in. The farmer and I took the opportunity to go down to our feed merchants in the little town of Masham, about ten miles away; we went mainly for feed for the wild birds - we have fed them all summer and must keep feeding now that the winter has set in early. The pictures show the road to Masham and also the very pretty East Witton church, which we pass.
As readers of this blog will know only too well (I do keep going on about our holiday destinations) the farmer and I spend a lot of winter evenings looking at photographs of past holidays abroad, poring over maps and brochures and deciding where to go next, booking our next holiday and then reading up about the place. This process starts around now, with the long, cold nights.
This year, of course, everything has changed after my recent collapse. No longer is there any possibility of getting insurance cover for the trip we intended to make through the Rockies by train and then up the coast of Alaska. From now on we are stuck well and truly in The British Isles.
Of course we are a little bit sad, but we knew it would come eventually and speculated each year that it might be our last long haul holiday. So now a different kind of planning is taking place. Where shall we go in the British Isles, how shall we get there, where shall we stay, how shall we plan our itinerary?
The questions go on - and as the farmer quite rightly says, we can plan a holiday where we can stop off exactly where the mood takes us. I have already got out the map, marked possible areas for touring, put out a few feelers. The other thing I have done is got out my favourite book. I quote you a passage here:-
"When I was very young and the urge to be someplace else was on me, I was assured by mature people that maturity would cure this itch. When years describe me as mature the remedy prescribed was middle age. In middle age I was assured that greater age would calm my fever and now that I am fifty eight
perhaps senility will do the job.
Nothing has worked. Four hoarse blasts on a ship's whistle still raise the hair on my neck and set my feet to tapping. The sound of an engine warming up, even the clopping of shod hooves on a pavement brings on the ancient shudder, the dry mouth
the vacant eye. Once a bum always a bum. I fear the disease is incurable."
I quote of course from "Travels with Charley" by that wonderful author, John Steinbeck.
So this is what we plan to do. We plan to set off some time in late April, early May and follow our noses, staying in nice little bed and breakfast pubs, or nice country hotels, looking at villages, at churches, at gardens, chatting to the locals, walking along the beach, dipping our toes in the water and all the time reminding ourselves that there are so many places we have not seen near to home.
Where would you fancy doing this in the British Isles - or if you live in another country, in the country where you are. And how would you go about planning it - or would you indeed plan anything or go where the mood took you? I am a fanatical planner and list maker - perhaps it would be time to leave the lists at home. What do you think?