The Edge. Part II

Bank Holiday weekend was looming, so the weather was far from perfect. But on Alderley Edge the view was clear and the rain seemed to have withdrawn its threat for while.

Plodding uphill, I’ll be honest, I felt a bit disappointed.

I’d been in the mood for magic.

I’d chosen to wear my 1960s Scandinavian silver ring with the blue enamel. I don’t know why I thought I was a thing to do. The Norse myths, I suppose.

You see how daft a mood I was in?

It’s always like this, when I go expecting miracles.  Like my miserable trip to St Winifred’s Well, to stay with the nuns.

Anyway.

Back to the Edge.

To lichen-clad stone walls.

To ferns, unfurling.

To the juicy green of April leaves.

Subdued skies and dappled views through tall trunks and long branches.

All working its magic as I climbed up to the Beacon.

Which was not what I expected, surrounded as it was by lofty trees.

But then, the paths led on. To rocks – and a vista over the plain.

I found the Engine Vein, where Mary [see quote, Part I] went underground. And learned she didn’t need books, to know.

“The Engine Vein was a deep crevice in the rocks, and along it went the tramroad for the miners who dug galena, cobalt and malachite … Mary was not allowed at the Vein. It killed at least one every year … Above and behind her Mary saw the last of the day. In front and beneath was the slope, where it was always night.” Alan Garner, The Stone Book

As close as I could get to the opening – it is fenced off

I wandered up and down and round and about.

Past rocks stained green with copper.

Natural phenomena, with sinister teasing faces.

I saw those two dark holes as eyes, watching. I stepped back to get a better view and walked into the grabby branches of a tree

And still they watched as I walked away!

Browsing rabbits.

A shy, beautiful jay.

And ominous black birds. Demons in disguise? Guardians of the magic? Or familiars?

I felt a little frisson, as if I was being watched. Silly, I know. But still,  I was glad there were people passing, now and then. Enough for reassurance – but spaced for some isolation.

A bellowing sound rose over an incline. A child appeared.

I smiled.

‘Was that you?’ I asked. ’Goodness, I thought it was a monster.’

His mother smiled, turning her doting gaze down on him.

The child, not long ago a toddler, looked at me with an empty face and cold eyes. Raised a stick he was carrying. Pointed it at me.

A broken twig had left a nub behind and his thumb went to it as he stared at me.

And I realised.

‘Oh no, are you killing me?’

His mother realised too. Shocked she gasped, ‘Henry, no, really!’

Hmm. Maybe remnants of dark Old Magic lurked there after all…

Back at the car park I bought a cheery orange lolly-ice from the ice cream van. Ate it beside a hedge of May blossom, scanning the horizon.

Then set the sat nav for home.

Fool that I am, I tapped, ‘avoid freeways’. Again. Thinking the traffic – by now it was approaching 4pm – would be worse on motorways.

‘Recalculating route,’ the maddeningly calm voice said, before I’d even started.

I turned around. Set out.

But The Edge had put its curse on me.

She-who-must-be-obeyed led me down long country lanes to ‘road closed’ signs. Stopping me from accessing every available route, or so it seemed.

I was trapped in a spider’s web, woven by malign traffic spiders.

And my journey time had gone from 1.5 to 3 hours.

Once more I found myself in the constituency of former Chancellor, George Osborne. I gritted my teeth and drove. Reached a small town, relieved that at least there I’d find some signs.

And the first signs I saw were for:

An Aston Martin dealership

A luxury watch supplier

Financial asset management

and

“Advanced rejuvenation”.

By this time my head was bubbling with rage.

I’m going to leave the words I typed just as they left my fingers – so you can see how cross I (still) was:

I am glad when people do well in their lives, but there’s soemthign about the thought of a man who earns £20,000 an hour* for speaking that makes me furious. That and thde fact that he is an MP, with duties, and a slary, and a family firm that make shim money. Hoe gredy can one man be? And isn’t it immoral? this man’s recebtly been key to the running of the ocutnry alebit badly – he was the argcitect of the faile austerity prgamme after all, whose targets wreemnsieed and whos ergiuem sasw poor people iwht one spare bedroom penalised whiel the rich got spared some of their inheritance atx.

As I left that prosperous Cheshire town, I was seething.

And then I found what felt like salvation. A dual carriageway.

But.

Ms Satnav suddenly lost her voice.

The road was so new she didn’t recognise it.

I screamed inside. And began to panic. And finally, switched her off.

I had no map book. I didn’t know (sad but true) whether I should be going east or west. Which made choosing a motorway a gamble.

I mentally threw the dice. And found myself at Manchester Airport, Terminal Two. Weary, but at least now I knew which way to go …

Back the way I’d come.

At last, with (almost) a feeling of joy, of coming home, I joined … the M6. And a queue. A veritable jam.

I assumed it was volume of traffic. But eventually I crawled past the cause.

A black car, crumpled. Air bags deployed. Nose inwards from the central reservation.

Two other vehicles, one on the hard shoulder. A scatter of debris on the road. Stunned looking people standing still. And no emergency services.

It had happened very recently.

And I was lucky.

I put George Osborne – and pitchforks – out of my mind. Journeyed home calmly.

Did a little supermarket shopping. Ate a salad. Had a glass of wine.

Slept. And woke.

Then, loading up the pictures from The Edge I finally felt the magic.

Just one last thing.

There’s a character in The Stone Book called Old William. Not old but deaf and never married.

I want to end with his words:

“That’s what comes of reading,” said Old William, ‘”you’re all povertiness and discontent…”


 

*I made the mistake of looking up, then adding up, how much George Osborne was paid (expected to be paid as they put it) for speaking engagements between September 2016 and March 2017.

The answer is £941,584 for 46.5 hours work. I didn’t include the pennies though of course look after the pennies and the pounds look after themselves as Mr Osborne no doubt needs to ensure. On top of this – and not listed – the travel and accommodation costs were paid in the majority of cases and we are talking locations from Hungary and Dubai to the USA.

The site that let me into these fury inducing statistics is here if you want to be incensed by his other ‘member’s interests’:

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/11145/george_osborne/tatton

This entry was posted in Art, jaunts & going out, Britain now & then, Thinking, or ranting, or both and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to The Edge. Part II

  1. Those photographs were superb at showing the ‘atmosphere’ of your walk.
    These ‘speaking’ engagements are just whitewash for what are actually bribes in my view: so what did he do to attract the pay off?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Helen. I agree about the vast sums paid to a man whose economic policy was proved hopeless… Why? And … No, I have to stop, you won’t be able to read what I type! Thanks for commenting. A lot of people looked at this post, you’d never guess – but I suspect most of them didn’t make it past my red mist!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I so enjoy your words and pictures Mary and you find such interesting places to visit. Pity about the motorways, gentrified spots (Alderley Edge I guess) and the obnoxious Osbourne.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so much ‘Elizabeth’ (for a moment I thought my sister had gone all formal and changed her sign-in) – and welcome! Did you look at the theyworkforyou link? Not advised if you are easily ignited as I am!! As to interesting places to visit, Hull is on the list… not sure where, but it’s there. Will let you now when and hope we can meet.

    Like

  4. Heide says:

    What beautiful, evocative images of the woods you’ve captured! But your description of that little boy in the woods is chilling — even across the Atlantic I can feel the chill of his gaze. And although I can sympathize with your wrath toward George Osborne (we also have a money-grubbing opportunist or two in the States), the terrible crash you happened upon did put everything in perspective, didn’t it. I’m glad you got home without incident … and I’m grateful you took us along on this adventure. Wonderful writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much. And thanks in particular for commenting on what for me was the most disturbing thing about the whole walk, that little boy. I can still see his face. But you’re right, the accident (and the fact I wasn’t involved in it) was a bringer-down-to-earth. I am trying to stay calm – or clam as I keep typing 🙂 – as we approach our election here but it’s not easy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Heide says:

        Stay clam and carry on! Yes, yes … we must think of our mollusk friends during times like these. 😉 All joking aside: In the aftermath of our election in the U.S. a dear friend reminded me of Gandhi’s assertion that, “When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won.”

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Thel says:

    What a magical spot, and a rude awakening… the human rat race. Keep the secret magic deep within and Go to it when you need it. I loved your photos. I’ve been thinking about fractals lately and seeing them everywhere in your pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had to look up fractals – one of those words I always worry I have a wrong meaning for in my head. But now I have I see, the ferns especially and the trees. Thanks for popping by and seeing something new (to me) 🙂

      Like

  6. jilldennison says:

    I read Part I a few days ago, and just now got back for Part II. I enjoyed this, though was saddened that you hadn’t found your magic at The Edge. But …. I loved the pictures, and laughed over your rant … took me a bit to figure out some of the words, but that made it even funnier, so I went back and read it again! Glad you found your peace at the end of the day … yes, sometimes it takes seeing the struggles of others to remind us that we are okay after all. Hugs, my friend! Thank you for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Jill. I am so fed up with politics – but like you thrilled and relieved about Macron. Somehow, though, it makes Brexit seem even worse – why!? Can we move to Scandinavia – Germany – France? Or Ireland? If only… I made the mistake of diving into Twitter today and am suffering for it now. So, I am going to take a little break with nature and post some pictures – so you can pop by and pretend you have gone forest bathing! Take care, hope you slept well. Hugs to you too, and a big transatlantic wave from my back garden. M

      Liked by 1 person

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