Today we had a perfect walk on the fell, even though I hadn’t really had any sleep and we met a deranged man on our way back down to town. I took the camera, intending to photograph a ridge I have been studying, making sketches and paintings, with the aim of producing a large piece of work. I wanted a photo to make a more complete blog post, to show the spot I’d been working in. Unfortunately, I was so sleep-deprived when I hit the top of the hill that I forgot all about it, turned left instead of right, missing the vital spot and not realising until I was well on the way back to town.
I keep stealing Ray Bradbury’s words to head these blog posts, because he wrote so well. Sleep has been tricky recently. We live in a flat here in our rural idyll and every now and again young people, fresh from home, move in to the flat above. They haven’t enough experience of life yet to understand the concept of being kept awake and needing your sleep so they tend to make a lot of noise in the early hours. They do try to keep it down but have no idea how loud they actually are, in our rickety old building which has no soundproofing at all. At times I end up craving sleep (although a good cry or chocolate ice cream could be temporary substitutes) and looking longingly at the bracken on the hill. When you are really sleepy it looks so welcoming. Couldn’t I just roll myself up in it for the night, far away from all the clamour?
Tilly, who can sleep in all circumstances, tells me we have to go home because she is hungry.
Nearing the fell wall we came across a man with two children and a very calm-looking dog. The man was brandishing a child’s scooter and yelling, in an uncontrolled manner – at the dog as far as I could tell. He sounded extremely angry, shouting “Sit down (dog’s name) Sit down now!!” while the poor animal slunk around in his vicinity looking most unhappy. The man was brandishing a lead and had his back to us. I wondered if he was reacting to us approaching from higher up the path, although both Tilly and I were standing still, not wanting to approach as the yelling continued. “I’m just trying to establish control!” the man shouted, seemingly at his children, as he had not acknowledged Tilly and I and still had his back to us, the scooter held aloft across his shoulders.
I looked at my dog, who seemed as unwilling to meet this raging person as I was, and we turned together, leaving the path to plunge through bogs and bracken, escaping as the shouting went on. We picked up a lower path that would take us home and, after a while, the noise ceased. I looked back and could see the three trudging up the hill away from us – no sign of the unfortunate dog, which couldn’t really have been blamed for keeping its distance. What on earth had caused the man to feel so irate, I wondered? Maybe he too needed some sleep.
In my next post I’ll include the work I’ve been doing on the fell ridge, hopefully complete with a reference photo.