A sole goosander, being swept downstream. Two swans foraging on the bank. All perching stones submerged so no other water birds. The shingle bank below Stramongate Weir submerged. The crashing of rocks being pounded beneath the weir.
Victoria Bridge, being repaired after damage at the time of Storm Desmond. House martins feeding low. A cormorant in flight. A man fly fishing. More rain. River banks being shored up and the river powering beneath the bridge.
Monday, I told a friend of my despondency on Scout Scar. ‘You might have been out of Thomas Hardy,’ she observed. Echoing my thought. We share a love of all things Norse so laughed over the chuntering man I had encountered. And how his favourite word made it into Old English.
The sun appeared so we followed-up my exploration of Kendal, to Trav's Chippy next door to the Anchorite Well (of pre-Christian origin) with a GR postbox integrated into the garden wall. Crossing the road, we entered new territory in Kirkbarrow Lane, rising ground with great views toward Serpentine Woods, over the town and toward the fells. The chimneyscapes of Kendal. ' My mum used to make me count chimneys to shut me up when she was driving,' a local painter and decorator confided. Kirk barrow- high ground by the church. My friend reminded me that council houses had big gardens to encourage tenants to grow their own produce. But times have changed and there's no sign of fruit and vegetables being grown. House fronts dominated by parked cars and recycling bins all about town. Then down through T' Crack, a narrow alley threading through Old Kendal close to the Parish Church which is situated beside the River Kent.. A cat on a wall overlooking ancient gardens. A woman in a dressing gown at mid-day. Why bother if it’s always raining? To Buttery Well Road. Then Mint Cake Mews, a converted factory where you can trace infills of masonry in walls old and new. The sugar-mint smell lingered in the air when mint cake was made here. Monday was wash day once and I pick up wafts of detergent. To anyone with a predilection for urban orienteering and a photographic memory for everything glimpsed en route, exploring the hidden places, peeling back layers of history - this morning I suddenly got it. Although a sprint through T' Crack might have seen a collision with a wheelie bin and a woman in a dressing gown.
To the Parish Church and back along the river. The complexion of everything changed with a lively companion on a fine day.
I heard on the news that a man drowned in the River Kent on Sunday.
See Kevin Crossley-Holland The Norse Myths. Balder's Dreams. The Death of Balder.
'Bloody Hell, it's horrible,' he laughed. We were caught in a sudden downpour and he was drenched. We were at the entrance to Ghyllside School and water streamed through the gates. I had come to look at the beck but we were deluged as we stood. Impossible to hear what was happening down in the ghyll and trees in full leaf screened it. The rain beat a drumroll on the metal box where someone's meters are stored. The gutters ran fast with rainwater, down into drains. I was wearing full waterproofs but my socks and trainers were soaked by floodwater. The sun came out as I reached home.
Wednesday, more rain forecast. Thursday - 'more cheerful weather'- promises Tomas Shafernaker whose always finds just the right tone.