|In the morning, Glenys and I have pancakes and toast, as I've helped her eat all the eggs and bacon. She has the second prettiest kitchen window I've ever encountered, the first being this one in New Mexico (it's prettier during the day).|
|I pack up - which isn't hard when all you have is about three shirts - and head downstairs. Glenys keeps urging me to take a baanaanaa, which she says in the most beautifully musical way. While some people are musical by pitch variance alone, Glenys throws in rhythmic changes as well. I finally accept the banana with visions of it finding a squishy death inside my backpack. We part and the train leaves, again, right on time!|
On the train, I seat myself and begin reading more James Harriot. Shortly thereafter, a girl comes and sits across from me and I think, "Oh, great, a conversation!" But I'm unable to engage her, she just reads her book. Then two men come and sit down next to us and the same thing happens. It's an odd day. They all leave and are replaced by another girl, but it's the same thing; this one keeps a tight hold on her bag the whole time. So, either I am triply unlucky or everyone's scared of me.
There's a change over in Lancaster, where I could have gone to school. The next train arrives just twenty seconds late! I climb on board and am looking around for a place to sit, when a dark-haired girl with a dark sweater and black jeans stands up and gesticulates that I should take the window seat next to her. Perhaps my conversational luck has changed, I think. I put my bag up above and sit down. I look out the windows, I look at her, I look back out the windows. Nobody says anything. Finally I ask her if she's having a nice day and she says yes in an odd accent. We try further conversation and, through tortured repetition, it turns out she's from the Czech Republic, come to work in Keswick on a job. The conversation crashes into the language barrier after that and we watch the scenery.
|At the station, I get off and head under a stone tunnel and up the other side and am just looking up to look around when I see someone who is plainly Randy greeting me. He's earlier than he said he'd be, and I left later than I thought I would. Randy had suggested that I look at the castle which is, literally right across the road, but there's not time now as we have meet my cousins at their school. (Don't worry, though, I'll see the castle later.) The road to Keswick is narrow, but double-laned and winds through some flat country before reaching the embracing arms of the Wainwrights.|
|We arrive at Grisedale, which is the name of the Orrison residence here. Helen comes out and asks me something along the lines of "if I'm feeling normal - or as normal as anyone in our family can be." I recall my cousin Ana claiming that all Orrisons are crazy. Randy and I go out and walk across town to the boy's school, on the way he points out and names all the peaks in the area - and there are a lot. I'll learn, as time goes on, that every little nook and hollow has a name and that I can't possibly remember them all. At the school, Matthew has just finished his last GSCE exam in Systems Control—not the sort of class they offered in my high school! Matthew runs home to toy with a new laptop, and David shows up a few minutes later to walk back with us.|
|After supper, we walk out the front gate, across the litte road in front of the house, and along a path leading through a field. This brings us into a little wood, bordering a field where ewes are watching over their lambs. We climb up the little hillock—Castle Head—and have a beautiful view of Derentwater spread out beneath us.|
View from Castle Head
Randy, Matthew, & Patch, the dog, on top of Castle Head
|It is said that Nannie walked up here the last time she was in England and was subsequently very proud of herself; it's nice to know that there will still be challenging mountains to climb as I get older. We linger on top a while before walking down to Derentwater through a sheep-filled field. Helen tells me that the "kissing gate" we pass through on the way is fun with girls, though not those as old as her. Patch the dog likes to carry around very big sticks, and we throw some into the water; Patch returns, weighed down, but filled with happiness. In the woods here is a little rocky out-cropping known as Friar's Crag which has some history behind it… |
Afterwards, we come back to the house through a church cemetary sporting graves at least a hundred years old, though there must be far older ones in the area. Randy says he's disturbed because the cemetary is right next to the doctor's office.
I'm set up on a futon in Randy's office, which doubles as guest room. While I try to catch up on correspondance that night, Charlie, their big, yellow, tawny cat, comes in and curls himself up on my lap between me and the keyboard. Randy, miming the cat, says, "A keyboard! I know what those for!". Charlie stays there for a long time, rumbling contentedly. I'm wont to leave windows open whilst I sleep and tonight is no exception… I'm awakened a few hours later when the rain starts coming through, this is England after all.