Friday, 2 March 2007

On a day like this

Good grief. It's a sunny day. Reason enough to make a diary note. But as I said, I live in a very beautiful place and on days like this it is hard to imagine wanting to be anywhere else. Truly.

The sun is streaming through the window, the veins of the poinsettia in front of me opaque in the translucent ruby of their leaves. The grass in the fields across the lane is a vibrant green broken only by the ragged darkness of the dry stone walls. No sheep today, just the skeletons of the sleeping trees, a trail of woodsmoke from the village below and the heather-clad escarpment in the distance sharply defined by a winter blue sky. A cockerel crows. The light is so shiny and bright that everything glistens. The puddles sparkle, shadows dance. Several walkers pass by, making their way steadily uphill, revelling in the beauty of the day. After the relentless gloom of recent weeks, this is one to cherish. Your spirits soar. It's a good feeling.

However, it is also a very rare feeling. You see, our village lies just to the west of Buxton, a slightly faded spa town on the western edges of the Peak District, famous for its water. Its thermal waters and its rainwater. The thermal waters are bottled, the rainwater just comes down in buckets. Yes, Buxton is officially the wettest place in the country and there's a metereological station on the top of the hill in town just to prove the point. Though you only have to live here to know that this fact is hardly under contention. Yesterday I was standing talking outside school with our very own brand of drizzle-cum-rain falling so persistently that water was pouring down my face behind my glasses. You may wonder why I continued to stand there but if you didn't, you'd never get out, never see anyone. It's a lesson I learned quite early on. And if the sun does happen to shine you have to grab the moment, get out there and walk, revel in it. God knows when it might happen again! The other lesson I learned is to buy a decent hat and coat and wander about the lanes looking a cross between Harrison Ford and Sharon Stone in that western she once did. Difference is, she looked sexy, I just stay dry. Shame I wasn't wearing them yesterday - by the time I got home I'd pretty much dissolved.

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