The road was calling me north and I couldn’t wait to finish work and give in to its blandishments. The sun was shining and warm, the forecast unusually good for England. The fields were ablaze with the brilliant yellow of rapeseed, the hedgerows, bending beneath the weight of May blossom, awash with wildflowers. Pink campions covered the roadside, pale blue forget-me-nots, bright starry ransom and banks of anemones, and, in the shade of the trees, carpets of bluebells linger. The dandelion clocks swayed in the breeze, sending fairy-like seeds up in clouds to dance beneacth the trees. It was a glorious day.
As my job extends over seven days each week and any day off is deducted from my holiday entitlement, I make the most of these trips north for the monthly meeting of the Silent Eye, so the journey is part of the adventure. Refusing the mind-numbing boredom of the motorways, I have a route I now know so well that I could drive it with my eyes closed, if I didn’t enjoy it so much.
South to north, crossing half a dozen counties, I watch the seasons change. In the south, the roses and summer flowers are starting to bloom and spring is almost over… in the north, the bluebells still flourish and all the eager energy of spring is in the air.
The road, though, sometimes has ideas of its own, and beckons me in new directions. Following some inexplicable impulse, I took a new turning, finding a lake had never seen, where golden gorse tumbled down the hillsides, impossibly bright. There was a village that announced itself as a Saxon settlement, where I was obliged to stop and visit a little Norman church that just happened to smile at me as I drove past… and which contained some rather interesting Norman and Saxon artefacts things, given the current state of our research. As I drove through Matlock, I spotted a perfect prop for next April’s workshop in a shop window too…
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