Saturday, August 11, 2007

Away from it all

impossible songs

impossible songs
A few days away.

Alton Towers and the Lake District - a short tour.
My Alton Towers visit was a better than the last one (10 years ago?), a bright sunny day, the park not too busy and the rides themselves were pretty good with queues almost bearable. It’s hard of course not to feel like a ripped-off captive in any theme park. Food and drink prices are extortionate, the actual quality is low and few of the attractions match the plastic and glossy blurb that describe them in brochures or web sites. A bit like most ordinary life really but to be honest I quite enjoyed the whole illusion of meaningful distraction and the prices scam.

High on a hill in Staffordshire there is a golf club and hotel with magnificent, open views across rolling hills and farm land, I stayed there for two nights and it was clean and pleasant and good value. Sadly however none of the helpful staff there had even the vaguest command of the English language, for a short time I was an outsider. We got by on gestures and pointing and a lot of Monty Python style “slow” talk. Do words matter?

The Lake District was a warm cataclysm of brainless traffic non-stop from the M6 to Windermere and Ambleside. Two places that must have been fantastic 60 years ago but are now held hostage by trippers and coaches and dirty money in a mess of street furniture and confused one way systems. After an hour of slowly boiling anger and going nowhere I turned up the road for Coniston and by complete chance discovered a quiet, decent spot on the waterside by Coniston Hall. The stumpy Cumbrian hills that pass for mountains here in the UK were green and magnificent in the August sun, the air was clean and the beer pretty normal but nice. The start of a brief but valuable 24 chill out began. Next day normal service resumed, grey skies masked and choked the peace and the impending rain filled my sails and blew me home across the border.
Patience and timing

Endless waiting and getting nowhere. I seem to spend a disproportionate amount of time waiting for other people. Clearly my own sense of timing in other things is wrong and I am therefore unable to work to the button to mesh neatly with whatever should be happening next. This means I am wasting a huge chunk of my own time. It also means that other people don’t share my sense of appropriate “earliness”. If everybody did then they would be in sync with my time and I wouldn’t waste so much waiting on them. A dilemma only I can solve.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:17 PM

    Yes John - visiting the Lakes feels like trespassing in a rich man's back garden. SUV's, manicured lawns, very little actual wilderness and large red signs everywhere, telling you exactly what you can/can't do.

    Makes you long for scotland.

    Cheers, Paul