Well, let’s not have every rare blogpost open with a ‘sorry I’ve not been here for ages’, because whilst I am sorry that I’ve neglected writing stuff here and reading all the excellent blogs that I like to read, the endless cycle of time off -> apology catch-up post -> more time off -> less exciting apology catch-up post does not sound like fun! Although hopefully more regular posting will resume shortly.
Suffice to say, I’ve been on holiday. And doing a bunch of other stuff because it’s been well over a month. I met an astronaut, for example, and he gave me a NASA badge. Which, to my dismay, I lost a day later. I also conducted keyhole surgery twice, while drinking wine both times. These are the highlights of the Edinburgh International Science Festival.
Aside from a new-found love of science, one of the things I discovered during my break is that the Lake District is awesome. Totally amazing. I’ve lived in the UK for the vast majority of my almost 28 years now and I don’t think I’ve ever actually been round that way before. In my head, England looks a certain way. England is green pastures, and forests, and rolling hills, and villages, towns, the occasional city. In my head, I picture where I grew up in the Chiltern Hills, and Yorkshire, and then my mind becomes blank because I have deleted all knowledge of living in Birmingham. And the rest is all Scotland, now and for the foreseeable future. So ladies and gents, as it turns out, the in my head version of England is all wrong! England has mountains! proper snow-capped ones! They cluster around huge, dramatic lakes so that wherever you go you are just a moment’s walk from a picture postcard view.
An old friend from university, Drunk Laura, got married in the Lake District on Easter Monday. She was called Drunk Laura the entire time we were friends and neighbours, partly to differentiate between her and her flatmate Christian Laura, but during our student years we often thought we should have named her Accident-Prone Laura instead, as she was rarely out of plaster. One time when we were about 20 I persuaded Laura that the flat we were about to go to didn’t have a front door, so we had to access their party through someone’s bedroom window. After I scrambled through, I turned around to see Laura with both feet on the windowsill, clutching the frame. And she shouted my name and let go with both hands. And broke her arm.
I felt very guilty about it, but Laura just laughed. I think that was only a few weeks before she drunkenly leapt on me in the street, bringing us both down to the ground, and fracturing her elbow. And about a year after that she showed up at my house limping, having fallen off the pavement. When frozen peas didn’t help we wheeled her to the nearest hospital on an office chair (not wanting to pay money for a taxi, being impoverished students) and it transpired that she’d actually broken her ankle. By falling off a pavement. Otherwise known as a sidewalk. A kerb. A height of just a few inches.
Anyway, I’m happy to report that despite the groom accidentally kicking that very same ankle during their first dance and drawing quite a lot of blood that caused them to cut the whole thing short, Drunk Laura did not break any bones during her wedding. She looked beautiful, the ceremony was lovely, the speeches made everyone laugh and cry, the happy couple looked SO totally happy and in love, and the dancing was epic. Plus the DJ played Pulp’s Disco 2000 which gave me excuse to dance around and point at myself during the “Deborah, Deborah” bit, which is always fun for everyone (namely me).
We also forced the happy couple to have a bridal suite photoshoot on their four poster bed.
So, the Lake District. Totally gorgeous. Here are some photos look, from our bedroom window, and near a lake, and half way up a lofty mountain that we climbed.
While climbing said mountain, we discovered that with some parts of the Lake District, the more remote you go the more people there actually are. Just because you’re climbing a mountain doesn’t mean there won’t be streams of people everywhere you look drinking tea and loudly singing songs from The Little Mermaid and giving you a bit of entertaining chat as you pass each other, clinging onto the handrail because it’s actually quite steep and you’re actually quite scared of heights.
We also realised foolishly that seeing snow-capped mountains everywhere around us would obviously mean that the mountain we chose to climb would, duh, have snow at the top. And snow is quite hard to navigate – especially when all those hoards of people have smushed it down into a sludgy kind of ice. But, still, we climbed to the top, we took dramatic jumping photos that were never quite timed perfectly, we flirted with some other mountain climbers, and then we discovered that on the other side of the mountain top (and in the direction of home) there was even more snow. So we invented some innovative new snow-appropriate means of transportation. Lizzie, who last year married Tom, one of my other best friends from university, went with a ‘shuffle step’ that was cautious yet cool, I went with an extremely gravity-friendly form of ‘crabbing’ which didn’t look in any way gracious but did enable me to clamour down icy rocks like a crustacean while Sam, who has featured in a few blog adventures, invented the ‘squat ski’, as demonstrated below, which in my case occasionally turned into ‘bottom tobogganing’.
The moral of this story is: climb snow-capped mountains, guys! It’s fun! Also: visit the Lake District.*
* This post is in no way sponsored by the tourism people for the Lake District. I don’t think they’d have approved the term ‘bottom tobogganing’ for starters.