Monday, 19 April 2004
Pix Of The Day: Wet Wet Wet, But Not That Band
CREDIT: © Ann Bowker/Mad About Mountains
WHERE: Cumbria, England. WHAT: hills and valleys of the Lake District.
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Ian Scott-Parker writes: In the space of just two days Ann Bowker has managed to push the majority of my emotional buttons for childhood memories and expatriate longings. The first mountain I ever climbed was Carrock Fell, seen in the first picture but from other aspects much more elegant than the pudding lump it appears from this viewpoint, accompanied by my father after much pestering and reminders that promises are made to be kept. The first night I ever spent camping, with my sister in an ex-US Army bivvy tent on the first proper holiday our family ever took, was spent in the small meadow from which the picture was taken.
The lush pasture in the second picture is the valley of the River Caldew. Embowered by the clump of trees in the distance lies a house on which I centered fantasies of becoming rich and famous, then buying the house for my mother to spend the Autumn of her years tending her gardens. The ridge in the center of the picture is Coomb Height, leading up to the summit of Knott, which is a massive fell around whose edges I have spent many wandering days. On the slopes of Coomb I picked bleaberries into a tin billycan, which were baked into a delicious pie. To my knowledge, none of the world's famous restaurants have even heard of such exotic fruit.
When I next climbed a mountain it was with a group from my father's work place, up Seathwaite Fell seen in the third picture, by way of Styhead Pass and Styhead Tarn. On that occasion we found the rain gauge that supplies the data to support Seathwaite village's claim to be the wettest inhabited place in Great Britain.
Average annual rainfall in Seathwaite is 130 inches, though this pales beside the global record of over 1,000 inches in a single year experienced in Meghalaya, at least before the 2001 'drought' of just 363 inches. The desert where I now live receives about the same rainfall in a year as Seathwaite's British 'single day in a particular month' records of 7.17" on 22 April 1970 and 6.78" on 08 May 1884.
It has come to my attention that just before reaching one's dotage there is a brief period of anecdotage. If this is where I am now, it is comforting that my old bones may end up bleaching in the sunshine, rather than moldering in the dank atmosphere of my homeland. Even if it is to be so, a prolonged visit would be welcome.
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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)