Judith was working at Coldcotes B and B in the morning so I went walkabout along the River Nidd, just following my nose – at least until I came to this sign:
So why can I just ‘go’ here and see where paths lead me rather than having to follow precise directions when I take walks in the US? I suppose it’s because here I’m bound to find fellow travellers on the trails or find a welcoming farmhouse whereas in the US you can get seriously lost, even in the mountains around Santa Cruz.
After lunch we headed out for a garden party held as an end of year thank you for people who volunteer at the food bank in Harrogate. The company assembled in a wonderful garden and elegantly consumed delicious cakes, tea, strawberries with ice cream and made polite conversation. When I overheard the owner saying he was born in Bolton I chipped in ‘Whereabouts?’ ‘In a maternity hospital, I presume,’came the response. Was this for real? In the end we had an interesting conversation about accents. Everyone in England seems to think I’m Canadian. That would surprise my American friends I think. We talked about how public schools like mine tried to get rid of students’ regional accents. in his view they now ‘tolerate’ them. He put forward the theory (whether if was his own I’m not sure) that what accounts for the Lancashire accent being so different from the Yorkshire was the intense clatter of the cotton mill machinery where workers had to mouth words silently and listeners became excellent lip readers. Therefore they used more round mouths. Auzzies keep their mouths closed to avoid eating flies!
A quick turnaround saw us heading our for Grassington (the Saturday afternoon run out) but there were no available parking spaces so we visited the Wilson Arms Hotel, a place where I spent a summer as a chamber maid and Colin washed the dishes in the kitchen. It was there that we met our friend Stefaan from Belgium, a language student honing his skills. The up-market hotel is now a nursing home. We drove on to the lovely little village
of Kettlewell with Mastiles Lane rising above it, passing Kilnsey Crag where we watched some climbers. We found the post office cum Youth Hotel and campground where Colin and I had camped and then stopped for some libation at The Racehorses. That pub and the Blubell across the street were doing a roaring trade, with a lot of cyclers and hikers as well as the driving crowd.
Back at Judith’s I watched the last half of a very interesting TV program about Roald Dahl. Apparently he was quite a celebrity, appearing on the Michael Parkinson show. I don’t remember knowing anything about him until my daughters began to read, and devour, his books.