Thursday, 27 October 2011

Postcards from Abroad

Well, not quite abroad....

These were a few postcards I came across in the loft recently...

Addressed to Mrs F Body with a 3d stamp and postmarked Ambleside 21st August 1963
Dear Nana,
We got to the cottage at 4.30 on Sat, after a very uneventful day. All that happened was we got a flat tyre in town. We were stuck in a traffic jam and the rain was so hard we had to stop the car because the driver couldn’t see. It’s a lovely cottage. We went to Wast Water on Sunday.

(That was the wettest holiday we ever had and which I referred to in the Ambleside Bridge House posting.)

22nd October 1967 Dear All,
The weather has been overcast but it has not rained. Derwentwater is a couple of feet higher than I have seen it before and one or two of the footpaths are 6" deep streams. So far I have remained dry and cheerful, and have used up a fair bit of film on everything I could see. Hardly seen a soul on the tops but there were plenty of folk at Ashness on Saturday and Keswick is pretty crowded.

Postmark illegible but sent during my August 1968 youth hostelling trip
Tuesday Dear All
It has been very wet though there was fine spell from 1pm -3pm. I went up to Stickle Tarn which was hidden in mist and down again then over Silver Howe to Grasmere. Boy I'm tired.

Whilst I don't remember the exact date that the above card was sent I remember the day like it was yesterday. Actually at my age I recall 1968 somewhat better than yesterday! The card is a masterpiece of telling half a story. I not only went up to Stickle Tarn but I carried on to Blea Rigg in thick mist. (The above ohoto on the shore of Stickle Tarn shows the 'view'.) For the first, and only time in my life I got lost in the mist notwithstanding a few years experience of walking the fells and having done this path twice before on my own. Even though there was no distinct path I was reasonably confident about my route and was heading down a stream that would join Sour Milk Gill and take me to Easedale Tarn. I was both surprised and a little horrified to find myself coming down the Langdale side of Blea Rigg. Exactly 180 degrees from my anticipated route. I made my way down into the valley and then headed up over the ridge again by Silver Howe. Near the summit my left leg (injured less than the right one but nonetheless injured in an accident in 1966) started to have muscle spasms and bleed internally. The last couple of miles into Grasmere and up to the youth hostel were agony but it gradually eased. Certainly a memorable day but 'Boy I'm tired' ranks as a masterpiece of understatement.

Grasmere in the mist.

(You may have noticed I have increased the size of my font and emboldened it. Hopefully those who were finding it hard to read will now find it easier.)


  1. An good look back...........Grasmere looks magical.

  2. I second Adrian on that, truly magical! And boy does that sound unpleasant, to have one's legs bleeding internally... poor you!!!
    1968 was the year of my birth. About 5 years later, I wrote my first letter, addressed to my Oma (Nana in English), and to this day I remember the exact words.

  3. As you said CJ it was a masterful understatement. Over the years our family has managed some extrordinarily beautiful photos in the Lake District - amazing given the amount of time we spent there in the rain!

  4. Scriptor,
    That typical British understatement can be dangerous if you are married to an American. My husband called me at work and said that he had cut his hand in the kitchen. He was so calm. I said, "Well, are you going to put a band-aid on it?" There was a pause, and he said, "There's quite a bit of blood." There were stitches involved, so I'm glad I finally understood the seriousness!
    Good idea for the bold font. Just last night my Dad told me he finds blogs difficult for his eyes!

  5. So great! Post cards a lost art!! It seems NO ONE writes anymore. Very cool post!

  6. Writing post cards is an art (oops, I see Lisa just said that). So are understatements ;) I found some letters I wrote home from England in my teens as well which do not quite tell "the whole truth" either. Nothing as drastic as your example but still.

  7. Post cards are not a thing of the past in this family, Lisa. I send dozens and not just when I'm on holiday. I also have friends who send them to me. Perhaps it's an 'older generation' thing. Although I use texts and emails across the world all the time too.

  8. The master of understatement, "Boy I'm tired".

    Have just spat my tea across the table laughing at that!



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