19 September, in the year of our Lord 2021
Up, and thanks be to God, unharmed, and after some cheese, quoissants and a little preserve that was left on a tray for us, our hostesse not to be seen, today take the boat from the port of Mallague to Sky Isle, which was 40 minutes and many coaches upon it, only the weather not as we had hoped, it being very rainy, and not at all as the prediction hath it when we booked the boat, which was for there to be much sun shine, and why we did think to go today. Land at some minutes past 10 a-clock, whence a long journy, which was over an hour, I think, to some black mountains, very dark and of a threatening aspect, there to walk along a path Mr. Jones had walked before, though twenty years since, which he did know for a fact for he catalogged it in a great note book. But it all changed, which I think made him a little sad, with many brown signs proclameing the road to ‘The Faërie Pools’, which attract a great many there, more than for the trayn at the vyaduct, and a great park for all the coaches, which was not there when Mr. Jones come last. And the walk up a long vally, and over many streams, all awash and the water over our boots with the nights rain, though I with my Carrymore coat against the rain, and my feet dry in my Scarper boots, the best I ever bought. But Lord! the flimsy shoes we saw the people walk in! — dayntie flats, and boat shoes, though they must risk torrents and a path all uneven with rocks, and with much mud between them. But all around the scenery very wild, with much water in cascades, and a grey cloud that moved around the tops, and a drizzle so we could not see where the river run to the sea.
Mr. Jones did teach me today the meaning of a new word, which is the Verb ‘to contour’, and used it in a sentence that proveth his understanding of it — viz. ‘We shall aim for there — ’ (he points to where the stream emergeth from the mountain) ‘ — and from there bear left, on to that track there — ’ (he points again) ‘ — which contours around the head of the vally to that pass there — ’ (again he points) ‘ — and from there we shall return down that track by those trees — there. Three hours, max.’
‘Very well,’ say I, though I harbour a reservacion, for the length of the walk yesterday upon Egg Island hath tired my lower limbs and I have a discomfort on one thigh.
By and by we reach the foot of mountains and our chosen route, which we follow for a little way, and leave all others behind, which were only a few of them that had walked all up the torrent. Only I sense it to be more tiring than I thought.
‘So, when you said “contour around”,’ whinge I, ‘I did take it to be a flat path, one that followeth the topographickle features pertaining to a single line on a map joining points of equal height above or below sea level. We are going consistently upwards.’
‘Perhaps we should rest here upon these handy boulders and have some lunch?’ says Mr.Jones, brightly and, I think, to mollefy me (but efasively avoiding the question, which I note). He fisheth within his nap sack for our victuals, and I within the depths of a pocket, to extract what is rubbing against my thigh.
‘Would you like some crisps?’ says he. ‘Flame-grilled lark or cheese and onion.’
‘I will swap you for a pork scratching,’ say I, gallantly.
Anon, and we top our highest point, which marketh a pass across a saddle betwixt the hills, and the clouds part and afford fine views, and I am heartened at least to see two who chose a different path below us, mired in a quagmyre of mud and marsh but gamely struggling on, he in a bright blue tunic and she in neon pink. And now contented, for now it was all down the hill, on a good path, with many rocks for good footing, though we could not pass the torrent at its end, so we must cross by the way we come.
Thence by coach to the boat, and home in a fine sun shine and the sky blue and all the grey cloud gone. And on the way the Captain hayled all upon the boat that a great number of dolphin were afore us; and he slowed the boat and changed its course, and we saw them all a-leap, more than I ever saw in my entire life, and then they were astern of us, and all greatly joyed by the sight of them.
At supper, enjoyed two plates of fresh longerstines and a pint of wine at a fine taverne in Mallague, and mightily contented for the day.
‘I hope you are more calm of spirit than hitherto,’ says Mr. Jones. ‘I have consulted the Trippervisor and our hostess hath many five star reviews.’
‘I cannot gainsay that,’ say I, ‘for I have done the same. And yet I am obliged to draw your attencion to the bad one, for it obtrudes plainly and niggleth me. The one from a Malcolm Prince, of Birnham Wood.’
‘There is always one.’
‘Eat your big prawn.’