Left for Hawes, first getting supplies at the Co-Op; flavoured milk for Robert, out of date Twixes for me. I’m assuming here that “Twixes” is the correct plural for Twix, but since you always get two in a pack, perhaps Twix is the plural already. Unbeknownst to be family members lurked in Kirkby-Stephen, getting their daily dose of newspapers before a proposed stroll through the hills.
We walked along, unaware of this potential support, and soon an important topic was raised for discussion between Robert and myself; food. I insisted that we needed to eat several main meals a day (a philosophy that might have been a contributing factor to my prolonged poverty whilst at university). Robert, on the other hand, was far too aware of the mounting cost of the trek, and insisted a tight budget must be kept. The argument escalated, as any argument does under strained conditions, and I stormed off to make my point (the most effective method of winning an argument that I know to this day), crossing the border into North Yorkshire on the way.
All of a sudden the Heavens opened above me. I was soaked in 2 seconds flat, and then pelted with hail stones. Was God punishing me for abandoning my brother? I heard a distant roll of thunder, echoing like an ethereal laugh. Fortunately I could just make out a pub, as I wiped my glasses with a soggy sleeve. The Moorcock inn, said the facade, time for a pint. I strode in, dripping a trail of precipitation, and ordered a Theakstons. As I sat in a very comfortable arm chair, sipping my peculier ale (a Peculier being a parish situated outside the jurisdiction of a Diocese), I remembered my stubborn brother and our lagging companion, Euan; time to tell them where I was. I checked my phone to find a text and five voice-mails (record popularity for me). I must have received them over a brief second of signal, since at that moment I had none. I still needed to inform my companions of my whereabouts, but there was no way I was going to venture outside, and away from my tasty beer, so I decided to compromise. I sat by the window.
The text I had received was from my father, who was informing me that my Uncle, the ever enthusiastic Richard B, wanted to join us for the walk today. With sadness I thought this was a lost cause, since it was late in the day for any organisation, and I had no signal with which to fix that. I almost jumped out of my damp skin when Uncle Richard’s head loomed by the window beside me. I cheerfully greeted him, and he told me that Robert and Euan were not far behind.
Once caught up, Uncle Richard bought us some drinks, and we had a good chat with him and my Aunt, after which they kindly drove to Hawes to book us into the hostel. There is the odd occasion when I get the urge to believe in angels; even if the winged type have an ambiguous existence, there are certainly metaphorical ones about.
To raise our spirits further the Sun had come out and banished the rains. We cheerfully raced through the final five miles, enjoying the traditional farming feel of Yorkshire, and squeezed into the hostel. The desk girl was very friendly and we spent a good twenty minutes ordering dinner, holding up a grumpy woman who wanted to buy a bottle of water. We spent the evening relaxing in a room with several holidaying families, reading our books, playing cards and eating Wensleydale cheese in the traditional Hawes way; with some grapes on top and fruitcake below.