Monday, 6 September 2010


Click and you're there!

Most people wouldn't have bothered that day.

The pointing hand sign said, "Please queue this side," but I stood alone in the rain on the mirror slats of the wet jetty, gazing at the dark bulk of mountains looming at the far end of the lake. Everyone waited inside for the boat to arrive.

Ullswater, beneath a grey symphony of cloud that brushed every peak and stayed there. Quiet, except for the sound of the rain falling softly into the gritty shallows and onto unyielding raincoat sleeves.

Every feature was brushed smooth, something so soft about the scenes made you slow down to look at the steep slopes of meadows falling to the shore, and the grissly dark textures of forests like in fairy tale scenes. Shadows frayed into fragments in the dancing patterns a wake makes on deep water, as the angle of brighter sky down the valley pulled us closer.

We passed close to tiny islands with crooked trees, rocky places just big enough for one tent to camp. A man in a Canadian canoe with festive bunting, laden with all the gear for such an island rendezvous, stopped paddling to wave and wave and wave, until we could hardly see each other any more. His coloured flags blended into the greys. His arms were lost in the calligraphy of water drawings.

The bold pushing line of wake was always drawing with the darkest ink. It forged behind us like a bold signature line, a theme with endless variations across the places where water turns to metal, where the sky falls open to the light.