Tuesday, October 7, 2008
The last kiss of summer
This weekend I was up 'home'. While the South suffered gale force winds and torrential rain, the North sunbathed. We spent the day in Hawes, reached via Hubberholme and Oughtershaw. I like Hawes, a solid little town with a tuesday market. This is hill farming country. Every fifth vehicle seems to be a blue series 2 Land Rover with a dog in the back. A lot of the families here have worked the land for generations. It can be a hard and often solitary life. Modernisation seems complete now, but as recently as the mid 70s some of these farms had neither electricity nor running water. Of course, a lot of the farms have become second homes, holiday lets, outdoor centres, cafes and small business complexes with wi-fi and cappuccino machines, but it can still be a surprisingly 19th century place. At the tail end of the 1990s, a friend of mine - a district nurse - visited one of her patients, an elderly spinster who lived alone on a remote farm. Her companion that day was an African doctor. The farmer took one look at him, bolted the door and hid upstairs, squinting at the couple from behind her bedroom curtain. My friend had to get a ladder from a barn and coax the lady down, like a fireman with a kitten in a tree.
I took this picture of Pen-y-Ghent from the B6479 near Selside. We were on our way for fish and chips at the Fisherman in Settle. Very good they were too - fried in beef dripping. Mushy peas. Bread and butter. A pot of tea for four with an extra pot of hot water. The chap on the table behind was a 101 years old. Who says fried food is bad for you?