The 'proper' car park was empty and mine was the only car making use of the dozen or so spaces next to the Village Hall when I left Rosthwaite this morning. It seemed like the rest of the world was still asleep so not wanting to disturb anyone or set the curtains twitching, I strolled slowly and quietly through a deserted village and, after being watched with a look of suspicion by 2 farm dogs I made my way down the lonning towards New Bridge. Looking upwards I could see the clouds moving quickly across the sky but down here in the valley, it was the type of December morning with still air, low light and a general feel of dampness to the day. The smell of sheep and cattle drifted down the lonning with me and in the distance I could hear a quad bike revving loudly as the rider took it across the steep fellside.
This was indeed one of those dark days before Christmas where I'm always reminded of the times when I'd walk home from school (yes walk on my own) in the dark. In the house there were wet clothes draped over the wooden clothes maiden; all drying off and steaming in front of a real fire. The kitchen would be filled with the aroma of home made mince pies and cakes. Biscuit tins had their lids firmly closed and we were all told not to touch because "they're for Christmas". Blimey, how times have changed. Kids hardly walk anywhere these days, everyone has a tumble drier, coal fires are almost a thing of the past and most Mam's wouldn't have a clue how bake a mince pie themselves. Even the custard we sometimes put on the mince pies was home made.