With: Mum, David and Mum's sister (born in the 1940-50s!)
Date: 9 August 2016
Where: Falling Foss, North Yorkshire
My third and final meet-up with Mum this summer was at Ugglebarnby near Whitby, where she and David hired a large stone house for a fortnight and invited us all to visit at our convenience. Due to a miscommunication I did not coincide with Ben and Luc, but did coincide with Mum's sister.
I looked carefully at an OS map and chose a valley where the four of us would have short, medium and longer circuits to choose from, with the return leg mostly downhill. In the end everyone enjoyed the walk very much and we did the medium circuit, which took at least three hours.
After parking the car in Littlebeck village we noticed the local postman getting out of his van, so my aunt went to ask if he had a box for me (my new camera; bought with birthday money from Mum and David). He did, which meant I could stop worrying about whether the camera would arrive before I moved on. My aunt said she felt overjoyed 'in a Luc kind of way' by this happy coincidence (Luc is my brother's son, currently three).
Next we happened upon a group of chatty village elders engaged in some kind of community crafts and repairs workshop called a 'Men's Shed'. After this there was a sustained uphill section along a lane, during which David and I strode ahead talking about a blog he was preparing to set up. He also told me how much he'd enjoyed chatting to my friend Meg-John (whose book 'Rewriting the Rules' he'd already read) at my birthday party. We talked about his desire to find a cartoonist to work with. When I sent this account to David to check he kindly provided me with the following reminder of his intentions for the blog:
The purpose of the blog site is to initiate conversations on a wide range of issues which come under the heading of what I call ‘spiritual philosophy’. Many of the entrenched beliefs which underpin western society have their origins in questionable ancient religious dogma, and my aim is to re-examine these from a neutral standpoint and hopefully arrive at more appropriate and constructive principles.
Having read ‘Rewriting the Rules’ my conversation with Meg-John naturally centred around relationship topics. One in particular – which I recall discussing with you – was the extent to which housing is geared to (and locks into) traditional ‘all-or-nothing’ relationship models, and lacks the flexibility to accommodate the variations outlined in Meg-John’s book. I consider the co-housing model (it originated several decades ago in Denmark) far more appropriate, providing a flexible blend of private and shared space within a community setting.
About a third of the way around the medium loop we sat in a field close to a remote farmhouse to eat our sandwiches and some of David's famous oatmeal flapjacks. Someone joked that there was a bull loose in the field, but there wasn't really.
Before long we found ourselves at the furthest point of our walk, where I took some photographs of everybody. My aunt explained that as a very private person she's not keen to have her photograph on social media etc, so I am glad she has agreed I can mention her in this blog.
A downhill stretch into the valley brought us to 'Falling Foss' (an area with an 'enchanted wood' sort of atmosphere), where we could hear the screams of children playing. Imagine our delight when we discovered an unexpected tea garden. I bought a round of teas and my aunt treated us all to a piece of cake. A piece of cake each, that is.
One of the things I admire about David is he knows where his boundaries are. He doesn't enjoy precipitous walks. So for the homeward leg of our walk Mum and David took the high road down the valley while my aunt and I took the path closer to the stream, which involved a good number of edges and steps. As we walked we talked about the fact my aunt was considering moving house. I related the process by which I gradually realised I'd never discover what else is 'out there' while sitting bored at my desk, and decided the only way to find out would be simply to go. With this experience in mind I suggested my aunt consider renting a home for an initial period of 6-12 months, in order to find out whether she'd enjoy being in a village, a town or a suburb of another city, and what kinds of facilities she'd most value. She says she valued this advice.
Rendez-vousing with Mum and David at the car we returned to Ugglebarnby for another cup of tea.
Thank you all three for this lovely, relaxed walk.