Jim is still with us, he has to attend a baptism in Andover (not his, you understand...). Friends collect him before Joyce arrives for lunch.
Jim gets from the baptism at mid afternoon, and later I take him to the station and Joyce home.
I sent Carol this Kipling poem:
The Way Through The Woods
THEY shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.
Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate,
(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few.)
You will hear the beat of a horse's feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods...
But there is no road through the woods.
by Rudyard Kipling
My Mum kept a Commonplace book in which she wrote her favourite poems and prose, all in her lovely italic hand writing. "The Way Through The Woods" is in it :)
Sir Les pops in for a chat with Sir John. Desperately funny.
This reached number 1 in the UK charts in 1968. One of my favourite songs. If only a certain deceased DJ had taken note of the lyrics...
A run this morning - it feels fine. The four of us breakfast together, then we head off to Odiham on our bikes. We lunch at the Bell, always good, and get soaked on the way home. D&T set off back to Dibden Purlieu at tea time. It's really pleasant to see them, the day was fun. It was good to hear about their trip to Portugal last week. Chris and Nigel are in Italy, everyone seems to be in the holiday mood.
Carol sent me another lovely poem, by Robert Frost:
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Homeward! We set off home at nine, no hold ups this time, and get back to Basingstoke at around two thirty. The house is still standing, so we unpack and do domestic stuff for a while. Dorothy and Tim arrive at ten thirty in the evening, having been in London with their daughter Cesca. We chat until late, then retire to bed.
A wet day :( We laze around Endeavour Cottage until late morning, when suddenly the rain and grey skies are gone, and the sun shines brightly. We spend the day exploring Whitby, looking in the shops, lunching in a cafe, taking photos, and generally enjoying ourselves. In one shop Tina and I find some excellent waterproof jackets, and over trousers, so I let Tina flash her plastic around and wear my new, warm jacket out of the store.
One especially pleasing thing about Whitby - it's hard to see a shop with a name we know. No Starbucks, no Tesco, no McDonalds, no chains of any sort. By the harbour there is a Co-op, and I'm sure we could find a Boots if we looked hard enough, but in the main there is a wealth of local shops and cafes, all with fascinating fronts facing the lucky visitor. I try to photograph them all...
Although a small town, there are many different areas of Whitby to explore, and always marvellous views in all directions. As it is our last day, we dine on fish n chips from a shop in a tiny lane adjacent to ours. The portions in this part of the world are huge, it's a struggle to make an impression on our fried supper. I do manage, somehow.
Today we drive a couple of miles north to Sandsend, and walk to Staithes via Runswick Bay. Although the morning starts quite brightly, with even a little sun, before midday the rain has set in. The wind blowing the rain from in front and to the left of us makes walking difficult, and we keep a good distance from the cliff edge on the coastal path. Despite the conditions, I can't help feeling how good it is to be out in the open, striding along, looking forward to getting home and warm later on. Like banging your head against a wall, it's lovely when it stops. "Fight the good fight, with all thy might..."
Both Runswick Bay and Staithes are picture postcard villages, with tiny streets and colourful houses tumbing down steep hills to the sea. I regret not taking my camera out of my bag, but don't want to risk ruining another one in the rain in the space of a few weeks.
From Staithes we get a bus back to the car, and in our cottage in Whitby get the heating on full blast and dry ourselves out.
In the evening, we dine at the famous Magpie Cafe. Famous for fish n chips, they have a large menu of seafood dishes and we opt for something which was not deep fried. The food and service is excellent, but we feel the pressure to turn over as many customers as possible.