A cairn, an ambiguous stone circle and the hum of the motorway.
I have been craving a wintery landscape for a long time. Since the episode of the broken foot, I have looked longingly at the black spidery outline of trees against the bleak sky outside my badly double glazed window and yearned yearned yearned to be outside battering against the elements feeling the chill in my face before accidentally eating more Wotsits and passing out in front of a Poirot I have seen a concerning amount of times before.
The cast has just come off- I have a strangely immobile unflexible foot like something badly grafted onto me by a freelance student doctor from the past or the NHS of the future and have been told to take it easy but I have been immersing myself in history books and folklore (along with Wotsits and obsessive Facebook refreshing ) and am resolute on going to the alleged site of a ruined stone circle and cairn near Carnforth.
I have not been out for a while so dress the part in a see through Calvin Klein peasant dress with attractive boots underneath. I have sadly forgotten how fucking cold Outside is and the look is ruined by the running nose and pronounced limp.
Yealand Conyers is the sort of little higgledy piggledy village from the past that makes you smile to think that Real Countryside still exists until you see that the darling tiny cottage on the road is up on Rightmove for nearly 300 grand, you can still vaguely hear the motorway but also the monotonous bang of some wax clad wanker killing an animal somewhere nearby. Still love it though- an architectural mishmash of centuries ambling pretting along a winding road with a backdrop of hills, fields and the Lake District mountains. People smile and say hello and the village school looks like the mystical sort of primary school which doesn’t feature a crudely etched ejaculating penis somewhere in the vicinity.
The Quaker Meeting House is the closest I have ever felt close to embracing religion with its trusting open bookshelves to borrow from in an empty room. The graves sadden me though with their disrespect for mawkishness and base thrills. Just a name and the dates. Far too respectful and tasteful. Every graveyard aficionado knows the greatest pleasure is the occasional gravestone pronouncing ‘Murder!’ or ‘Drowned at Sea’. A grisly guilty pleasure for those who refuse to read ‘Pick Me Up’ but a few hundred years makes an badly timed death romantic and scholarly.
The stone circle and cairn on Summerhouse Hill is exciting in its ambiguity. It looks like a stone circle but it has been disputed and depleted. The views stretch for miles, the sea combining into sky- at this distance Morecambe looks romantic. The cairn is definitely a cairn despite the surprising inclusion of a few red bricks and the stone circle a gap toothed Shane Macgowan grin.
I am so cold I want to die and the many divots in the soil have caused anguish, pain and confusion to a foot I had decided was definitely healed.
I peer and scratch in the many molehills in the hope the past will be opened up to me by a helpful mole. The helpful moles just give me stones and the terror I missed something and then will maybe see someone smugly gurning on the front cover of the Westmorland Gazette holding proudly aloft one of the pieces of stone I chucked sulkily away.
This is not helped by seeing some men definitely not wearing see through Calvin Klein metal detecting the area with a fast decisive sweep whilst I am peering at a cowpat and shivering with my boobs hanging out.
I decide to go to the pub.
The New Inn at Yealand Conyers is the sort of pub that used to exist in the countryside before they were all bought out, Farrow and Balled and almost impressively over-priced.
Fortunately the New Inn seems to have resisted this- my child’s hot chocolate comes with more chocolate and lollipops on the side than he had on Christmas day with the occasional bar of Cadburys Fudge casually plopped on his saucer. Polite well behaved dogs eat the complimentary dog food by the roaring wood burner and there is a pleasing amount of animal skulls on the wall and some excellent looking vegetarian meals on the menu for well under a tenner.
I go as usual for the chips and wine option but will be back to this little cosy place where history abounds, the sky streaks across Morecambe Bay and a nut roast and trimming comes to 6.99.
Next time I shall wear a cardigan and find some treasure.