Our second day down in the Lake District with the club opened with spectacular views over the Newlands Valley. Although we have climbed or walked nearly all the major peaks in the Lakes over the past 40 years most of us had never been in the Newlands Valley area, set in the heart of the Derwent Fells, just west of Borrowdale. We had booked a cracking climber's hut, which shall remain nameless, as we may want to book it again. I was very impressed with the Newlands Valley which was like the Lake District as a whole, only as a mini one valley version... i.e. it packed a great deal of impressive landscape into a very small area.
"How.?" I asked. We were already committed to going up the round of hills with Alex and Craig but the constant increase of wind and rain for every step upwards meant we would not enjoy it one bit but to turn around was club cowardice of the highest order.
"I will send thee a 'Sign.' " the angel replied. "And a Wonder.' "
"Is that a banana in your hand? I asked, changing the subject.
"Even angels are allowed a lunch break." the angel replied, somewhat peeved. " It's in my contract. As I'm an angel it's a special banana of course."
"It would be." I answered profoundly.
"Damn. That's really bad luck." I sympathized.
"I know." she replied. " I was looking forward to a long tough day up there but maybe its a sign."
" It's a wonder it lasted as long as it did. " I answered. " I think we should turn back."
" Good idea."
Luckily, Sandra is not that keen on bagging peaks in driving rain either.
I broke the news to Alex. He seemed upset but agreed Craig and himself should carry on upwards into the lashing glory of the upper slopes for the mountaineering reputation of the club. The prize and lure of new summits, even if invisible under mist and clag, shouldn't and couldn't be denied.
I pointed to Sandra's boot.
"Would'a and could'a but sadly can't. All the mountaineering books say it's better to stay in pairs for safety. We shall have to go down."
I departed with a grin.
"Why are you taking a photo of a Wedding Cake? "A puzzled, nae baffled, Alex inquired suspiciously. Anything considered "unmanly" is highly suspicious in any male dominated club.
"I like all art and beauty in this world but I embrace my darkness also."
They didn't get the significance of the quote. "You're weird. Let's hit the pub."
" Why are you taking a photo of us in a corridor?" Alex grumbled. "Put it away man."
"I am a camera. " I replied cryptically, thinking of an old 1955 film title. " I like the unusual, the different, the bizarre."
"Weird with a capital W." they agreed.
I remember seeing The Haunting, a Julie Harris film years ago based on The Haunting of Hill House and was very impressed by the strong brooding atmosphere created in that old black and white film. Sometimes it's the lesser known works that really shine rather than the blockbusters or they do the unsung groundwork for the blockbusters that go on to claim all the credit. A suddenly different Keswick in the rain at night seemed very European and "film noir."
Speaking of which this is a bus journey and night out from Kirkcaldy in Fife back to Burntisland. Some of the funniest ad lib's and off the cuff remarks I've witnessed have been on late night bus trips on the way back from the pub in the days when I used to go for night's out. Worth a watch. The camera settles down after a minute. Some swearing but funny. Gets better as it progresses.