If two years ago I was told that I would be spending my August in rainy Yorkshire I would have said ‘no thanks’ and swapped it for a summer prancing around the Spanish or Greek islands, sipping cocktails and sweating in the midday summer heat, thank you very much!
However, this year, as I sit in a wonderful stone 1700s Yorkshire Dale house, looking out at the endless green hills, I find myself more than content with this change of plans.
Long walks alongside the neighbouring farm of sheep, cows and horses, even longer country pub lunches and an incredible lack of phone signal is proving to be impressively therapeutic for the mind and soul. And dare I say it, lighting a fire whilst watching the outside rain pouring down is something that I never thought I would have enjoyed so much in the middle of the summer months. But alas, it is raining, the fire is lit, and it is a dreamy experience.
During the later afternoon as spells of sunshine break through the rain, the cans of beer are opened and gin and tonics are dutifully served by some, as others immediately bring out the equipment for a game of badminton.
Evenings that would previously have been spent scrolling through emails, the news and Instagram are now dedicated to group activities of cooking, dealing Uno cards and for catching up on fiction reading thanks to the lack of the previously mentioned phone signal.
The Yorkshire Dales are a place known for many things including the stone walls crossing the landscape, dramatic scenic hillside landscapes and diverse wildlife. Speaking to a local in our village’s only pub, The Forester Arms, we learn that stone wall laying is still a profession practised nowadays and, when done right, will last another 150 – 200 years, making me take stock to consider what creations of mine might ever last that long! The locals’ friendly demeanour and relaxed approach to life feels like a far cry from the madness of London, the city I call home now, and something that almost immediately makes you also want to take a slower approach to pacing through life.
Whilst living here permanently is not on the cards and whilst the rainy days and isolation of village life may eventually lose its charm, enjoying this time exploring England’s backyards full of nature, fun and mystique is absolutely something that everyone should experience given the opportunity to. Each hill has a story to tell, each field has an animal to intriguingly observe and each pub has many delicious lunches and drinks to be devoured.
This may not have been the original August of my dreams, but it has fast become an August to be remembered and, just perhaps, the August that was truly needed.
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