1. Everything’s ready so we’re relaxed and get away in good time. Most unusual for us!
1b. Clear roads and clear skies.
1c. A simple but surprisingly nice lunch. Lily politely accepts the offered biscuit from the landlady.
1d. We walk around what would have been the moat (as if it needed it, with the river on both sides) and when we see that they allow dogs inside, we stroll around the inner and outer keep making Game of Thrones jokes and imagining what is must have been like to live there in its heyday(s).
1e. Barter Books. It’s a mystery to why we have not been there before: a huge secondhand bookshop that allows dogs inside and has both roaring fires and a café selling wonderful cake. We buy an armful of bargains and eat our fill. We also see a range of springers in the waiting room: from a little puppy in arms, to an excitable yearling to our sleepy old lady, snoozing under a bench.
2. We get out of the car. The only sound is bird song. The incredibly friendly people at the pub.
2b. The cottage is lovely – Lily runs through to the garden and I follow. We’re so used to cute but cramped fishermen’s cottages nestled into the rockface in Staithes that we’d forgotten that other places have space to stretch.
2c. I ask Lily if she’d like to go for a short walk and she leaps up: explore! explore! She pulls me down the road to the sheltered shore. I watch the sun set over the mainland, blown away by the stillness and the beauty. Looking south, I can hear strange moaning coming from the islands beyond: I assume it’s birds chatting noisily as dusk falls and am amazed that the sound travels so far. (I’m even more amazed when I discover the next day that the specks I could see on the beach, the noise makers, were not birds after all but seals).
3. The night sky, filled with stars. We see the ISS and satellites, the moons and rings of Jupiter, the colour difference between red and blue stars, and bats and owls. If we’d not been so tired, we’d have stayed out all night.