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Driving, England

Back in the Saddle

I’m confused.  It is June…summer time…outdoor living…short sleeves and sandals (I’d say barbeques but we don’t have a grill here).  So what is with the 60 degrees and gray skies?  I’m beginning to think I’ve become the victim of seasonal affective disorder!  Or maybe the two days of 70 degrees and sunshine this past weekend renewed my optimism so today feels especially like a buzz kill. 

Or maybe I’m feeling a bit shaken by the total reversal of confidence in my driving.  Funny how scratching up the rims of the car on a stone bridge (officially an ancient, stone causeway monument) could turn me around so completely and so quickly!  I pretty much cursed the roadways, clutching the steering wheel until I finally came upon a motorway.  Give me straight roads and highway speeds any time.  I don’t even care if there are four-lane round-a-bouts at the top of every exit ramp.  Just keep me off those narrow, winding, shrub-lined roads and especially stone “causeway monuments”!!!   Be still my heart….!!!!

And what better way to overcome my road anxiety than a long walk along the Derwent River in the Peak District of Britain.  The countryside was beautiful – rolling hills, meadows and lots of sheep!!  Seriously, the public “footpath” took us straight through grazing sheep and farmers cutting hay (ok…we zigged when we should have zagged, but the farmer was gracious enough to get us sorted straightaway)!  A stop in a Darley Dale pub for a quick pint and some cheesy chips at the midway point and life was good again! 

Day two sent us on a walk to the Riber Castle – straight up the foothills.  And I mean it was a straight ascent.  We stopped for a few photo ops (funny how everything is more picturesque when you are in need of oxygen)!  Unfortunately, the castle is undergoing renovations so we weren’t able to see much through the imposing fences but the views of the valley were magnificent.   Our lungs re-oxygenated we continued our journey in what soon became Fear Factor UK.  Let’s just say the descent took us on a very winding, narrow path perilously close to the edge.    We’re no dummies so we quickly backtracked to the original route past the castle still under repair!

Back on solid ground I now had to face a different fear and get back behind the wheel.  Depth perception is the biggest problem.  Intellectually I know the road is wide enough for two cars but my window on the world is a bit skewed.  I made my way back to the motorway and tag-teamed with Craig once we got near the blasted stone causeway monument.  Back in the passenger seat I tried to manage the anxiety by closing my eyes and looking out the window but to no avail.  My breathing became normal again only when the gates to the car park opened and we were safely in our apartment.   

This rider is going to get back on the horse…just not today!!!

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Words of Wisdom

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. - John F. Kennedy
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