Monday, October 13, 2008

train through Lakeland

When I was very very small I was given a beautiful two-tier box of coloured pencils. All shades of the rainbow were there, pointy end upwards in a matt black card box with a top that tilted on a paper hinge to allow this baby artist access to her tools. I loved those pencils to bits. Every time I tilted back the lid and gazed in awe at the colours, I was almost hyperventilating with excitement.

Not unlike how I respond to a wall of yarn in a knitting shop, actually. However, these days, my response to all the hues and types of yarn has to be firmly sat upon less I commit fiscal suicide. Fiscicide? Yes. Anyhoo... My pencils had their maker's name embossed in gold ( not real gold, for heaven's sake) and the name was Lakeland and Cumberland. 

Well, that was a long, long time ago. Coloured pencils? These days, my dears, we find ourselves a burnt twig with which to daub the walls of our cave in these straitened times. ( you know - that stockmarket-melted, climate-changed, credit-crunched Armageddon we're currently enjoying. Some of us are enjoying it more than others but they had better hide their smug smirks less the rest of us rise up and rip them limb from limb, but hey, I digress) It's pretty chilly in the cave, and most of the stunted twigs we find lying around are saved to put on the fire at night. But sometimes, as the Tribe's resident storyteller, sometimes they allow me just one little twig with which to tell the story of what the heck happened to all our 21stC towering dreams, and how we all ended up living in caves.

I think, in truth, the Tribe would probably eat me, because my net worth in survivalist terms, is really negligible. Too old to bear Tribabies, too slow to hunt Tribeasts and way too mouthy to put up with any kind of Tribull, I'm pretty sure I'd end up in the pot, simmering nicely along with some turnips. 

where the hell am I going with this? 

Heavens, by now you're undoubtedly scratching your heads and wondering what on earth was in my breakfast back in Birmingham earlier this a.m. Or can it be that a week of touring has finally dissolved the weak glue that held my synapses together? Hope not. Boy, do I hope not. I still have miles to go and promises to keep. So. Pencils. Lakeland and Cumberland have long gone, I think. Or morphed into another pencil-creating company with a different name. Derwent pencils are ringing some vague and distant bell in the porridge of my brain. Anyway. Lordy. Do stick to the point, Gliori. The train has passed through some hideous urban conurbations, most of which have completely passed me by, locked in embrace with my desktop, as I have been. But I looked up about half an hour ago and found myself in the middle of a landscape of such quintessential pastoral beauty that I was completely blown away. It was the Lake District, home of Beatrix Potter, William Morris, John Ruskin and many other luminaries of the art world whose work has enriched our world, to the betterment of us all. The views were exquisite, and if only I still had access to my little box of pencils ( reaching out for them down through the years) I could have drawn a sketch to show you what I mean. For now, simply the words will have to do.
This is a wonderful world, full of beauty. We ignore it at our peril.

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