About fifty years ago I used to spend family holidays in the North Yorkshire Moors, travelling from home in Middlesbrough for days out at Roseberry Topping or summer holiday weeks in Rosedale. My uncle had a cottage there; he worked in what was still known as Dorman Long – the steelworks that prefabricated the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The place names are etched into my memory – Thorgill (where the cottage was); Fryup, Goathland, Blakey. The crosses that sat out on the moors to guide travellers – Fat Betty, Ralph Cross. Above all the view from the top of Chimney Bank – the old chimney itself that used to power the winding machinery of the ironstone mines, and away across the valley the three golf balls of Fylingdales early warning station, looking out east for signs of mutually assured destruction.
Last week we put the dogs in foster care for a week and headed off to Glaisdale in the north east of the Moors. It was a wonderful, cold, rainy, sunny, cloudy, windy and occasionally snowy week. On the last night I couldn’t sleep properly and woke in the darkness, dozing and waking with odd repetitive thoughts going through my head which crystallised to the notion that I would start a blog. I drafted whole pages in my mind between sleep and waking. It would cover my professional life teaching and researching psychology, my personal life including my pagan path of Wicca, I’m fairly sure I also drafted an erudite and witty review of something – maybe the film Gravity which we saw before we came away. I had so much to say and somehow between finally drifting off to sleep and waking this morning it has all slipped away.
Driving back today, the golf balls have gone, as has the chimney, like my grandiose plans for a blog that will go viral and take over the intarwebz. But the herring-bone marks on the limestone of the cottages are still there, as are the mysterious paved trods forming a network all over the northern moors, and the Roman road still marching across Wheeldale. Maybe if I don’t try too hard something will come back to me in weeks ahead?