Sleep last night was almost impossible. Home I might be, but there was much on my mind. The past few days have been both heady and intense in ways I would find hard to describe and the sense of home is strong in the north. From the accents to the hills, from the unfurling of the bracken fronds to the sparkle of tiny crystals in the soil itself, to the low flying skies. North is home and already I miss it. However, there are memories of laughter and beauty to hold.
After Little Moreton Hall, and with one friend duly kidnapped for the weekend, we drove to Bollington to gather suitcases and take a temporary leave of the rest of the party who were spending time at a spiritual retreat, while Stuart and I were to introduce my kidnappee to the local landscape and sacred sites.
It was here that I briefly met the next friend, down from Scotland to share the retreat, and last seen in Glastonbury a couple of years and way too long ago. Though we talk most days, phones and email are not the same as being able to meet the eyes or share a smile and a hug, which was why, as she and I talked, I stood for a good while, a very small figure in the crook of Robert’s arm. That was an all too brief meeting as he would be leaving again after the weekend and I will probably not see him for another year.
My Scottish friend, however, would also be heading home after the weekend, where I and another would join her for some long overdue catching up in person. Meanwhile, two of us, Kevin and I, set off for the drive through the glorious Derbyshire hills to Sheffield and dinner with Stuart.
The weekend was shaping up to be a good one. The weather promised to be half decent, the landscape glorious and we had far too much to share with our visitor than we could possibly fit into the time available. I had a feeling the pair of them would get on well together.
All I can say is never travel without a camera. Not even to a restaurant. By dessert it appeared I was right on all counts. Conversation had ranged far and wide and, as Kevin introduced Stuart to the idea of the Guinness Float, scooping ice cream into his pint and dousing mine in the dark liquid… already calling me hobbit… I could see I was going to have trouble with these two. And that was a delightful prospect. Two pairs of mischievous eyes twinkled at the lens as I attempted to capture in two dimensions a moment that existed in the 3D Technicolor of love, life and laughter. This was going to be fun.