Albion, Don and Wen, Life, TOLL

A loose end…


I was feeling a bit like the proverbial duck out of water, what with the workshop being over and the week well under way. My host was back at work, leaving me at a loose end for the next couple of days. Now, what on earth could I possibly find to occupy me up there in the wild north?


I was pretty sure I could think of something… In fact, I could have probably thought of enough such ‘somethings’ to occupy me for a couple of months rather than a mere two days… but it is no fun discovering things on your own, so exploring was out of the question. Though there might be the odd detour…


Besides, I had a definite and practical plan. I would, instead of roaming the moors and seeking out stones, go into the towns and do a bit of digging. I have made no secret of my desire to one day go north again for good, but in order to do so, I will eventually need to find a new job when the time comes.


Having no idea what kind of jobs are available in the area, other than those in retail and tourism, neither of which pay particularly well, I would use the two days exploring a few options and agencies….and if I happened to be exploring in some rather nice places, that was just a coincidence…


I thought I would start in Bakewell. It is not a big town and, other than tourism, agriculture, I imagined, would probably be the main employer, which is an area where I have little experience to offer. But that was an assumption, rather than a solid fact and it was worth exploring.


And anyway, I happen to be quite fond of Bakewell. The river that runs through it is full of smiling ducks and trout as big as they are, with swathes of seagulls swooping in opportunistically to see what the tourists might provide by way of sustenance.


Crossing the little bridge I notice that it is now festooned with locks. A couple of years ago, there were none at all, but this craze for ‘love-locks’ seems to be spreading. Personally, I am not a fan for a number of reasons. Knowing the beauty of the Parisian bridges, I was appalled seeing pictures of their delicate ironwork completely obliterated by padlocks. More so when I read about the severe strain their weight was putting on the structures. Having a symbol of love damage beauty…or removed and chucked on the garbage heap doesn’t seem like a particularly good way to go to me.


I do not think that a padlock is a great symbol of love in any case; it smacks of the old ball and chain, when, for me at least, coming together in love should be a liberation, not a shackling. My next port of call seemed a more appropriate symbol, in fact, as I gazed with delight through the Georgian window of an old-fashioned sweet shop.


Its walls were lined with memories and childhood dreams in every colour of the rainbow. From the natural to the synthetic, from melting sweetness to the sharp tang of citrus, each jar held something that would, between them, satisfy the most demanding of palates. Greed and gorging, here as in love, would have unpleasant consequences and spoil the experience whereas a little care would induce nothing but delight and leave only a sweetness behind.


Buying only some coltsfoot candy…coltsfoot being good for coughs… I went on with my fact-finding mission. Encouraged by what I found, I sought out a couple of industrial areas before wending my way back to Sheffield. I parked for a while in the shadow of Fin Cop to make notes before returning. It had been a useful day and a pleasant one…and I had another day to come. I wondered what that might bring.



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