It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Archaeoman away for some weeks and the muse’s voice inaudible.
The frenzy wasn’t quite as bad as usual in the run-up to his departure, more of a prolonged shower than an interminable tropical downpour.
Yet still, as usual, it swept most things before it.
Which is perhaps why I booked the cottage I did in such a hurry.
A fellow blogger had written about a peaceful, sea-view of a place, with Welsh literary connections – and I was tempted. So tempted I caved in. Joined the Airbnb ‘community’.
But something diverted me from Wales. Some mischievous sprite whispered ‘Yorkshire’ in my ear. And I succumbed.
The week I’d chosen was punctuated by a monthly freelancers’ day I enjoy. And so, after a jolly Wednesday spent in the company of other lone workers, one bringing luscious cake, I set forth upon a Thursday for four nights away.
In rural Yorkshire.
Now, setting forth, for me, is no simple matter.
First, there are the books. For a stay alone it’s essential I take the books I might need – or want. Two carrier bags packed, I still worried. Then found the obvious solution: technology.
After much searching I found the lead to recharge my Kindle and, after more searching, my Kindle.
Secondly, clothes. Sun today, but what tomorrow? Walking: boots or … ?
I had the luxury of solo travel in a car, so decided to take whatever I felt like taking.
It took a while to pack 😉
A fruitless search for our cool-bag ended when I remembered it had gone to Africa. So the new-bought goodies went in the freezer.
In a way it was liberating. The blurb said a brew-pub was a decent walk away. Perhaps there’d be good food too.
And so came the time to set forth. Which is where the most serious issue arose.
To illustrate the scale of this challenge, I’ll journey back in time. To a previous home.
When I was working in the south west of England we lived, for five years, in a picturesque weaver’s cottage of four storeys. One medium and one tiny room made up each floor, except the top, which had just one.
On that floor we kept our ironing board.
One year, Archaeoman was away for three months. And every working day, when I left home, I had to unlock the front door I had just locked and climb the stairs to the top floor. Some days twice in a row.
To check whether I had switched off the iron I may or may not have used that morning.
On one occasion I was in London overnight and had to call my neighbour to check I hadn’t left a pan on the hob.
You can see where this is going. I’m neurotic about leaving things switched on.
But again, technology to the rescue.
I made a list. Checked off each item. And then photographed the evidence with my phone’s camera.
#Sad. As Donald Trump might say.
#Effective. As I say.
And so I hit the road.
The next question. Visit Salt’s Mill on my way or not? Not for the Hockneys, I’ll confess, but for lunch – and a new Moomin mug to replace a Christmas present I broke.
And, and, and …
I reached the mill and went straight to the shop. Which needs a health warning. Full, as it is, of fabulous Scandinavian design.
Glass cases of ‘collectables’ that have me thinking, ‘oh no, I got rid of one of those when I cleared my parents’ house,’ at irritating intervals.
As you might guess, the Moomin mug had company in the large paper bag when I left.
A candleholder for our hand-dipped candles. The ones that have been sitting in the cupboard since our last expedition, before Christmas.
Another tea light holder. And a tiny gift for… well, she’ll find out in September 😉
I had Yorkshire tea and tea-bread in lieu of lunch. Then sped towards my goal with a happy heart.
The omens were bad.
A mistaken trip down a long cobbled path.
Several phone calls to the owner – no response.
Several turns-around in tiny roads, checking details online on a dodgy connection.
Two trips through a bottle-neck hamlet in a valley below a quarry…
When I finally arrived, the one downstairs living room, straight off the road, was dark and gloomy. The one window looked over the road.
Spurts of traffic that had made it through the bottleneck changed gear as they struggled up the steep hill.
Behind the sofa, a door led onto a tiny porch – and that into a beautiful sunny garden. Of which there was no view from indoors.
The tiny kitchen was dark.
I went upstairs. ‘My’ pleasant sunny bedroom overlooked the road which ran directly beside the cottage.
I rang and finally got through to the owner.
We parted amicably, despite her plain incomprehension and the few tired tears that escaped, despite my best efforts.
But before long I was driving on top of the world. One of my favourite places on earth rising in the distance.
I toyed with the idea of finding a b&b for the night. Then got back in the car and drove.
Nearly two hours later I was home.
The light poured into our upside-down-house’s airy, Scandinavian-style upstairs living rooms and kitchen.
And I learned two expensive lessons.
- There’s no place like my home.
- The muse is not for finding – it’s my job to listen. And to wait.
In fact, I think she may be around, somewhere.
Apologies to the Beatles, but …
… she’s staying home, bye bye. Bye bye.