A short walk with Percy yesterday because this sudden very hot weather is playing havoc with my arthritis and I am finding walking very difficult and spending much of the day with my feet up. But half way round the walk a lady I know opened the door as I walked past, to have a chat - she had obviously seen me approaching and, as we both agreed, it is important to speak to a few people every day.
We have an interest in gardening in common so we discussed her front garden, which is well set out and we discussed the hot weather (very unusual up here in the Yorkshire Dales I must say). Then I asked her if she was a local (she is my age and a widow). Oh no she said. I asked her where she came from and her answer was Swaledale. We live on the edge of Wensleydale here - Swaledale starts about a couple of miles over the hill to the North West - not exactly a million miles away you will agree.
But she does not see herself as a local. I find this astonishing as an 'absolutely not local' but locals here are still quite 'parochial'. This will disappear before long as more and more 'incomers' arrive. My son was speaking to his new neighbours yesterday and they have moved up from Kent. And I remember a few years back my farmer did a count of how many locals there were in the village - he could just count them on his fingers.
I sat yesterday evening and did a quick count of the friends I have made since I moved up here - many, but not many who are actually local. My now 'local' friends come from Huddersfield, Oldham, Halifax, Leeds, Liverpool, Wolverhampton, Sunderland, Lichfield, to name but a few. I have possibly half a dozen real locals who I would call friends.
My farmer was born in the house where he still lived when he died. He could not bear the thought of moving - it was home. Until we met he had had one foray to Majorca with Young Farmers as a teenager and with that he was content. I have spent all my money on travelling and have been to so many places all over the world. After a couple of years he adopted my life style and together we went around the US and Canada, Scandinavia and parts of Europe.
But now, when my travelling days are over, I often think - does it matter whether or not you move from place to place? Is it just whatever floats your boat? Is all that matters your happiness or is it important that you see how people live, gain experiences, see beautiful works of art. So often in travel adverts you see Registan Square in Samarkand and I think - I stood there. But does it really matter? All my travel experiences will die with me and I am no more likely to feel happy and fulfilled with my life than someone whose horizons go no further than Swaledale and Wensleydale.