Thursday, October 07, 2021

Time away with the sibs

The news was making me anxious last week, but after 5 days away in Wensleydale with my sibs, and a news blackout, I feel so relaxed I may give up reading the news forever.

It rained a lot, but that made the many waterfalls worth visiting. This time we didn't go to Aysgarth Falls, but we saw Mill Gill Force, West Burton Falls, Cotter Force and Hardraw Force.

Here, for example, is Mill Gill Force, which has featured on the blog before

And here is Hardraw Force

Jonty and I climbed up and walked above and around it

Here's the top of the waterfall. The small yellow circle shows you how small the people at the bottom look.

Hardraw is where Kevin Costner made an appearance in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, and where my brother Jonty used to walk behind the waterfall carrying a glass of beer, to see if he could do it without spilling it. (FYI Jonty was also the first streaker in Hawes.)

We drove more than usual because of the rain. This included a trip up to Tan Hill, the highest pub in the British Isles. It was too wet and cold to stand outside and take a photo so I took one of the stunning front cover of a book about the pub. Just look at that fabulous sky.

There is a large porch at Tan Hill which they leave unlocked night and day so that anyone lost in a storm can take shelter. When we were there it was full of sodden anoraks. The sodden people were in the bar.

The rain didn't spoil the holiday. We still had a lot of laughs. 

Driving up there on the motorway during a chat about online and texted scams, one sister asked me to text a reply to her husband as she hadn't got her glasses on. That sister's communications are notably succinct (I still remember a text she got while away from home that said 'All fine. Hen dead') so I didn't bother adding a kiss at the end. 

Then my other sister's phone pinged, and as she was driving she asked me to text her husband back (as if I was her). I typed the brief response and wondered how many kisses to add. Neither of my sisters are as soppy as me, so I finished with one kiss.

'Thanks, Sue. How many kisses did you put?'


'Oh my God, he'll think it's a scam!'

One morning during one of our leisurely breakfasts I was telling the others about my recent annual check up at the doctor's. The nurse came to the waiting room and asked me to step onto a machine in the corner that would weigh and measure me and take my blood pressure simultaneously. 

I told them I'd protested to the nurse that I was wearing my boots and my coat and how much would that add to my weight?

Jen said: 'What about your false boob? That adds extra weight.'

'Not that much,' I said.

'Weigh it!'

Much laughter.

I found some scales in the holiday cottage kitchen cupboard.

For the record it weighs 250gms.

It was so wonderful to be all together after two years since the last time (though we missed Pete, who because of Covid restrictions didn't feel able to come.)

We argue and snap at each other from time to time - of course we do - but I find a deep down comfort in being with them all. I am struggling to express where this comfort comes from. Is it because I have known them all my life, and we all loved our parents and our childhoods?  There are some stark differences between us but there is something underlying that means we accept those differences and see there are far more important things at stake than whether we agree on the need for the monarchy, whether Robert Peston looks grubby, or how to cook baked potatoes.

We certainly all agree that the £20 cut to Universal Credit is cruel.

I just found an earlier blog post from five years ago exploring this conundrum.
"Four sibs are keen ornithologists. One sees a bird that's been pointed out to them, and thinks: "Yes. And?"

One objects to a milk carton on the breakfast table, two think that coming down to breakfast in pyjamas is a capital crime, and the others are baffled by the strictures (although two protest at an electric kettle left on the table.) It's complicated.

Four like background music. One prefers silence.

Four are technophiles. One's a technophobe.

Four sibs are tough stoics. One is a wuss.

Three have cats, one prefers dogs, and one has hens and brought eggs for us all. 

Two think Mrs Brown's Boys is funny. Two think Mrs Brown's Boys is beyond the pale. I forgot to ask the other one.

Three are foodies. Two consider cooking to be a tedious necessity.

Two are monarchists. Three are republicans. (N.B. the lower case r.)

Two sit in bed in the morning reading the news on their iPads and fuming about the current government. The others don't, but are nevertheless prone to the fuming bit. 

I suspect that Venn diagrams drawn up by my sibs would highlight different things.

Our undisputed commonalities would be our love of Wensleydale and our love for each other. Priceless."

Our family circa 1958

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