Postcards from the bothy

Follow the track along the edge of the mere, where the mossy woods slip down the hillside to greet the lake. Look out for a clearing, one with a rope swing hanging over the curving pebbled beach and benches made of thick felled trunks, and, in front of it, an old hatchery with a stone bay full of firewood. Stay for a night and have a rest. Stay for several and leave the world behind, rushing ahead at its insistent pace while you slumber in the woods like Rip Van Winkle, with nothing to do but stoke the stove, heat the soup and knit as the sun sinks over the tops of the fells.

We had a wonderful time at Holme Wood Bothy, resting, playing, eating and sleeping. A little bit of everything, bar work and a sense of time. A week without watches, appointments, school or the office. Without electric lights or the wireless. Even the newspapers were out of date, good only for coaxing the stove into life. We retreated from the world, entering it only to buy thick coils of cumberland sausage or fireside pints at the local pub. And in five days we had a little bit of everything: frost and snow, glorious warming sunshine, and a storm which whipped the lake up into galloping white horses and wet mares’ tails. Proper Easter weather. Spring in the Lakes, unreliable and wild and absurdly beautiful.

I sent a note home to myself, each day, to stick into my diary. Something to remember this little holiday by.  I’ll stick one in each day this week, from Tuesday to Friday. A series of snapshots. Souvenirs, if you will. Postcards, from the bothy.

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