The Best Glass of Wine
I wake to Apollo between us with his head on the pillow, on his back elongated like a human.
It’s almost 8am and we quietly pull on boots and jackets to head out to find fresh Croissants for breakfast. There’s a constant thin mist in the air. It’s dreary in the literal sense. The town is almost silent. We walk into the door of the local Coop, literally into it. It’s not open and it appears that very little, nothing intact, opens before 10am on a sunday.
Via the lake we return home. With no obvious presence of algae we throw the ball into the shallows and have two shivering pups.
In the cabin the family are awake, I put the kettle on and start on the rounds of tea and coffees. Apollo is cornered and gently groans, not quite a growl, but it tells the toddler that he is uncomfortable. The situation quickly escalates with fear emotion and Andrew takes him into a room and tells him to settle. He really just likes his own space and once he settles he’s happy sleeping.
We chat about the next year, Lottie tells me in 2020 she fancies a Nepalese retreat and Himalaya hike, I tell her about the September walk a group of us are planning to finish 100km of the Camino trail over four or five days. I’d love her to join and the group consensus is that if she’s anything like her brother they’ll adore her. Easy.
Soon we bid farewell, wishing we lived nearer to spend more precious moments with them all.
Andrew and I pile into the car with the pups, after a terrible nights sleep we’re not ascending tough exposed peaks in the wind and rain. Instead we agree to a circular lake loop around Buttermere. That is until we arrive to gridlock, full cars, families, kids, babies, pups, ugg boots, full cafes and self sticks. Without a word we look to one another and just keep driving. Instead we take the narrow steep lanes in the two wheel drive estate car. In a moment of 25% descent I miss Big Silver, my old badass 4x4.
We ascend Honister pass, pulling in and parking up before walking around the valley. Sheep run loose and we keep the pups in control close beside us, that is until they sniff out fresh excrement and roll. I wash Aura’s neck in an icy stream and she’s not happy.
Back in the car we enjoy the ascent then pull into the slate mine. The cafe is limited so we pass and head straight into the shop where we ask about slate floor product lists. We’re kind of on and off in our minds about flooring in the house. There will be 100sqm of flooring in the new space and we want just one type throughout. The owner chats to us about their slate - mined there in the hills. We leave with a sample after crawling around on the floor and rubbing it aggressively.
The drive back to the cabin is slow, sunday drivers are out in force.
Home the pups are showered and cleaned. Then we wrap them up and leave them before walking into town to find lunch. It’s five to three when we arrive at a great tapas and real ale - a proper hiker kind of place, but they tell us they’ve just stopped food. We double back to a new favourite spot and hear the same thing. Then we loop back around to the other end of town where we met the hiking girls for dinner last summer at the Mountain Festival, it’s closed. The forth try is open and will serve us - it’s a proper Italian wood fired pizza joint. It’s not fancy, but it’s needed, and delicious. We talk about flooring, run the figures for the slate. It would cost twice as much as the bespoke kitchen, so we decide on some entrance tiles with the date of the original house construction - 1852, carved in.
Less than an hour later we’re home to a low sun on the horizon, Derwent water behind us looks beautiful through the tress. We grab two glasses of box wine, the pups and head out, just meters to the lake.
The silhouettes of the hills is stunning. The lake is moody with reflections of the intense pink skies above. Aura curls into my lap with her head in my Artic jacket. The setting, the company, it’s all too much and I’m reminded of one of the best glasses of wine I ever had with our friends in a French monastery restaurant near Reims. This may have just topped that.