I have just had a most wonderful holiday. Why was it so good? Let me count the ways...
atreic was fantastic. She was an excellent companion, what we wanted to do with the days matched (although given we'd decided before setting off that we wanted to do some walking and sailing, and there were a limited number of days this wasn't too unexpected), we didn't run out of things to say or discuss or sing or rhyme all holiday despite long car journeys (I say long - the time passed quickly), she knew secret little places in the area which were beautiful, she looked after me when I fell poorly and did all the driving for that leg, and made the world seem better with her smile. I want to lock her in a box and keep her forever. But I had to give her back. Boo ;).
The Lake District somehow managed to combine green verdancy with rugged alpine rockyness. I have never been there before, but I can see how its reputation was well won. The landscape shows picture-postcard views from practically any space that you walk around in. I fear that my heart is already given to the Austrian Alps which is similar only moreso, but the Lake District captured a strong second place. Bonus 'alpine' points for the timber-clad youth hostel.
The weather beat my fears of endless rain by being startlingly sunny throughout our stay. The world around the lake district clouded over, but the sun still shone throughout the lake district making the colours glow. If my nose is currently peeling, that's entirely my fault.
Sailing. When I was younger, I was an avid reader of Swallows and Amazons and learnt to sail as a result. I haven't been sailing for ages, and atreic had never been, but nonetheless, we hired a boat and sailed around Windemere. There was only a breath of wind, so we sat back and let 'the blank swan' slowly glide through the water. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed it, and sailing in Swallows and Amazons country brought back all kinds of good childhood memories.
Sarah's birthday banquet was ... well, some people say that my party hospitality's good. (I'm not sure to what extent that's true, but that's another matter.) Sarah's made mine look like handing people an olive on a stick as they walked in and telling them to get on with it. Add some good company and fun games and it turned into a highly memorable evening. (Well, it must be memorable if I can remember huge chunks of it despite the alcohol I'd consumed.)
Moments. Within all of this, there were a liteny of perfect moments. The view from the top of Scarfell Pike. Sitting on a hillside drawing the landscape (I am so out of practice). Looking down the waterfall. Playing 'Cheddar Gorge' and somehow creating a lake filled with orange juice which a knight destroyed when fighting pirates and a dragon. Sitting eating soup and drinking apple juice. Paddling across streams. Sitting on top of a pill-box and discussing railway signaling with Nat. Laughing about atreic's discussions with her mother ("I really like it" "Well, *I* like it" "No, I *really* like it", continue to fade). Fuzzy Ducks. Waking up ridiculously early with the sun streaming through the curtains and the promise of a new day.
The regrets. These were few. It was a shame that atreic and I got ill at various times. It was a pity that emperor was unable to get back the day earlier. I should have put sun-cream on earlier. I wish that I had tried some of the Absinthe (I don't think I've had any before). These are but molehills, when seen from the mountains of good stuff, though (well, emperor not being there was probably a somewhat taller hill for the two of them). So I supposed I shouldn't complain.
I can't believe that it has only been a week. I can't believe that it's been an entire week. Either way, the holiday was truly glorious. Thank you to the people who made it happen and made it special.