Albion, ancient sites

Weird weekend

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Back from another trip north, I fought my way to the door through an overgrown garden with a list of jobs as long as the proverbial arm. Certainly longer than my hobbit-sized one. I shall simply close my eyes for the rest of the day… the coming week is already full to bursting… And I haven’t even finished writing about last weekend yet!

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It has been an odd few days. Really odd. Stuart and I continued our adventures, but with the exception of a lovely evening with friends on Thursday and our School meeting on Friday, they didn’t run at all according to plan. Adventures, though, by their very nature, are predictably unpredictable.

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Friday morning dawned dull, grey, and damp. Not exactly what we had in mind. We had a School meeting that evening in Stockport, and business to discuss, so we had planned to meet Steve for lunch then walk and talk. We arrived way too early and decided to explore while we awaited his arrival. We stopped at Cressbrook to grab a few photographs of the rock formation for the new book in progress, Doomsday. There is a lot of history there and some strange goings-on that always get to ‘Wen’ in the book… and to me.

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There is a hillfort known as Burr Tor that we had been meaning to visit, so I turned the car up the steep track, stopping halfway in a layby to admire a stunning, if misty, view across the valley. Inevitably, I grabbed the camera, using the convenient broad shoulder of my companion as a makeshift tripod before wandering off to capture the foxgloves. Walking back I saw him turn and raise a quizzical eyebrow. He had thought the hand on his shoulder was me with the camera again… I, however, was yards away still. Odd? Not half as odd as the poor little bird we watched helplessly a few minutes later, as it flew into wall, tree, and fence for no apparent reason… or as disturbing as the line of moles hung on the barbed wire … We left.

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We were to call in later at Tideswell where the little town was gearing up for a carnival. There were well-dressings in the churchyard… an old custom of dressing the village wells with pictures made of flowers and petals, but first, we were meeting Steve for lunch before taking him to Peter’s Stone. We have very different stories to share about that place, but my telling can wait for the books; Stuart is having way too much fun writing of the quivering wreck to which the place reduces me. Steve, however, who made it right to the top of that foreboding outcrop, gives his own experience on his blog. Stuart followed, concerned for his safety on the wet grass and rock. Suffice it to say I was a wreck by the time we had finished. This probably explains why on Saturday morning, I woke sobbing from the most horrible of dreams and tiptoed to the kitchen to cry without waking my host… who was, weirdly, woken by unpleasant dreams of his own a short while later. This too seemed odd, and we lost Saturday somewhere, a pair of limp rags who could only work. It was raining again too.

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The weather wasn’t much better Sunday, but we were determined to carry out our plan to find a lost standing stone and duly set out, parking the car in Baslow and hopping on the bus for the short ride to Beeley. It shouldn’t take long, but there were cyclists, and Chatsworth house was full to bursting…An hour and a brace of Eccles Cakes later we arrived, stopping briefly to visit the quiet church of St Anne with its ancient, hollow yew tree… and for a little liquid refreshment before the short walk up to the moor. It started to rain as we left the pub, but we were on a mission… and anyway, the car was miles away now and the only way back was on foot. So we turned moor-wards under a grey sky…

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