I havent got around to saying anything about our week away. It was very nice, and undoubtedly a good idea. We were in a little Victorian lodge in the Calder Valley, green and peaceful, with the sound of the Hebden Water (somehow the Scots term seems appropriate) tinkling over the stones. Perhaps the most exciting thing which happened was a bat in the kitchen, but excitement was not required. We walked up to Heptonstall from Hebden Bridge one day, which was interesting. It’s terribly steep, and the trek up reminded us of various hill-towns in Tuscany, Murlo for example, which is a sort of giants’ Christmas pudding, so steep and so small that the only parking is outside the actual city area. We went there, not by way of a pilgrimage to the grave of Mrs Hughes, but to visit a plant nursery. We asked advice about getting back to Hardcastle Crags, and were told there was a way straight down. There was. The Calder Valley is amazingly steep. Our slog up from Hebden Bridge had been on the diagonal, so we’d travelled about three miles relative to the river. The way down was at ninety degrees; a sort of path made of millstone grit boulders. I thought about this as we made our way down: it must’ve been made so that people living in Heptonstall and along the top could work in Gibson Mill, down by the riverside. It was quite fun going down, but the thought of doing it down and up on a daily basis, in clogs, was something else again. So, there was quiet fun in the country, and it didn’t rain absolutely all the time. Then we had an urban day with Dr Biswell, and that was good too. We got back here, and found ourselves approaching the various things that need to be done in a much calmer spirit. Just as well, really. Breaking news of the last couple of days is that the new first year course I have ended up solely responsible for designing has picked up 200 punters, at which point, the words ‘winging it’ cease to be applicable. Actually, things are under control, though it’ll get better as time goes on.
PS: the good Dr Wu passed her citizenship exam with flying colours, so we took her a bouquet of red flowers. Also on a floral note, the glow-in-the-dark dahlias are finally doing their stuff with the utmost magnificence. Long may it continue though I sadly suspect that it won’t: we will keep them for next year.