The important thing is the sunrise: it was raining, the sun was not seen to clear the horizon, but we were there. We being the hard core of durham_rambler
and myself, D. and valydiarosada
; occasionals G. and C. (with family); and neophytes, the Bears. Only Richard was absent
. I could say his spirit was with us, or some such, but I don't believe that, so I won't. He wasn't there, and this was wrong, and we missed him.durham_rambler
had enlivened Friday evening with the discovery that he had failed to pack his medication, leading to a whip round which demonstrated that between the other five of us we could supply all his immediate needs (this says something about the age of the party, but I'd prefer not to explore that), but did not have enough supplies to see him and us through the week. So on Saturday morning, having failed to raise our GP by phone, he and the Bears and I headed into Berwick in search of medication (and other supplies). Once there, we set to work to accomplish our various missions: durham_rambler
consulted the pharmacist at Boots, who recommended the drop-in centre at the infirmary, while GirlBear bought some postcards at the stationer adjacent to the market hall, BoyBear and I scrutinised the secondhand / antiquarian bookshop at the back of the market itself. So by the time we were reunited, I had found the next two books in the Aubrey / Maturin series (and asked the price of what turned out to be the most expensive volume at the shop, on the prehistory of Malta, at £140), BoyBear was in the music shop, I was stocking up on goodies in the Green shop and durham_rambler
had an appointment with a doctor at 2.30. This gave us just time for lunch at the Curfew, a tiny pub with a good range of interesting beers and a tapas bar next door. The appointment went smoothly, a prescription was issued and in due course filled at Tesco's (all bar one item), and we also did some heavy duty supermarket shopping.
Which was just as well, because we served dinner for 11 at Coble Cottage on Saturday evening (the table is described as accommodating ten, so this is a plus, to be recalled when I come to write, as I will, at greater length about the cottage). We went to our several beds, sofas and in one case van, and emerged at four a.m. into the rain. I am proud to announce that no-one bailed at this point. We straggled down the road, past the castle and out to the edge of the island, and we were all eleven of us gathered there by 4.30, when we declared that the sun must surely be risen by now = or else not - and that the world would either carry on or it would not, and either way there was no point in standing around any longer in the cold and rain.
The party continued en masse a little further along the shore, then some of us turned back to the village, while others continued to the white pyramid (it's a navigational aid) on Emmanuel Head. Some of the younger members of the party declared it to be climbable, if only we had some rope (which we didn't), and if it weren't wet from the rain (which of course it was). Older hands pointed out that it was clearly in need of repainting, and the imperfections this revealed in its surface made it more approachable now than it had been for years, a state of affairs which would probably have been remedied by next year. By now the rain had stopped, and the party splt again, some returning the way we had come and a hard core continuing along the dunes, getting wet all over again in the long grass, before turning inland and home across the nature reserve. The castle floated in a moat of mist, but the sun was shining brightly by the time the last few of us reached home, and bed - and all of this was right and proper.
Sunday was a blur of peple getting up and different times, and lingering around the long table eating different meals and discussing different plans, declaring they must go, they had things to do, but well, if you are making coffee... In the course of these conversations, G. revealed that he has been looking into his family history and discovered, several generations back, that durham_rambler
's surname crops up. When this happens, we have a simple test: are you related to the boy V.C.? G. said, yes, it seems that he was my grandfather's cousin. As he was also durham_rambler
's grandfather's cousin, the two of them must be, in some degree, cousins: which was unexpected, but pleasing. The day ended with all visitors departed, and with the resident party raising a glass of prosecco, above the bowls of more strawberries than we could eat, to Richard Turner, our absent friend.