They walked a round trip from Seathwaite to Scafell Pike, mostly in silence, and especially when standing at Scafell Pike, 3600 feet and the highest point in England, the day clear enough for them to make out the Isle of Man. Kate loved the views, the air and the exercise. She saw her spasmodic comfort food indulgence as an occupational hazard of counselling, but at thirty-three, she could still afford a robust approach to weight control, walking the hills and valleys or sweating in the gym. Mark's swimming, now an integral part of his job, enhanced the natural fitness of a twenty-seven year old and the whole walk hardly increased his heart rate
I understand how Christopher Columbus’s crew felt as they sailed towards the edge of their world. I picture them clutching the tall masts of their galleon, looking down at the endless and heaving ocean, trying not to think of the abyss which, they believed, lay just over the horizon.
“Here we are, Wendy," says Margaret, as we roll up at the passenger drop-off point at Gatwick.
“Yes." I grope around for door handle, as if I haven’t ridden in her car a thousand times before. I need to get out. The so- called " natural’ air freshener, dangling from her mirror, is making me feel sick; green and shaped like a Christmas tree, it smells like toilet-cleaner. “Thanks for the lift."
They leave the hotel ballroom soon after midnight, last out into the night except for the band. Two couples in their best clothes, elderly, exhausted but content, drunk with laughter; the men, James and Charlie, wearing tuxedos that have traipsed a few too many good turns but which remain, more by luck than judgement, still the fair side of presentable; and the women, April and Isabelle, in dresses fresh off a peg, sapphire silk to below the knee, ruby suede and long-sleeved satin.
Streetlights burn a shade that fits the late silent hour like a snug vest, a calm nostalgic phosphorescence nearly yellow, nearly white, hiding just enough for time to lose its usual strict delineations.