Do they look familiar to you? Chances are they do, unless you were on a film drought in the early 90’s.
We’ve been wanting to get out to Aysgarth Falls for a while. Part of the deal we made to ourselves when we came back to the UK was to explore as much as possible and get to know the country we live in before we travel out of it again.
Life has been a bit of an unforgiving onslaught over the last couple of months. Our first house fell through on the day of our move thanks to an agent’s lack of honesty and decency (we’ve been spoiled by the letting agents in Oxford it seems). This left us with little choice but to return to mum and dad’s and renew the hunt, bitterly let down. One week later we returned to Skipton to hunt anew and settled on another place that we had viewed at the same time as the first. It had now been reduced into our price range, and we excitedly went to the agent only to find that someone had signed up for it not 15 minutes before we got there. Despite feeling like we would never catch a break, it was a case of third time lucky. The landlady of a charming little farm cottage just outside Skipton was happy to have us as tenants. We have cows, sheep and fields as our neighbours, beautiful sunrises greet us many days and we’re a mere 20 minute country lane stumble from a friendly local pub. As it turns out, this little home perfectly suits the life we want and another piece of what we want in life falls into place.
As we began to move, Mickey’s mum fell ill with a rare and aggressive condition and after a brief fight, she passed away. Coping with her loss and all the practicalities that a death entails wasn’t easy but we were aware of our fortune at being back in the country at this time and were able to be grateful for it.
Then there was the job front, I started part-time as a science technician at the local college the week of the funeral and Mickey at the local farm shop the following week. It was a bewildering degree of change all at once and one that left us reeling. Not that we realised it too much at the time, we’d both entered the trudging “head down and get through it” state that comes with situations like that. It’s only in retrospect that I’ve realised how long it has taken us to really settle and replenish energy reserves. Two happier discoveries though are that despite common consensus, there are many jobs out there and it’s been perfectly possible to live quite a comfortable life around the minimum wage mark. It is, of course, one in which we have to make choices. But for the most part those choices coincide with the simple priorities we’ve set.
Despite all we faced, the post travel blues never really hit. Perhaps it is because of all we faced; life kept us distracted by the things that really are important: shelter, death, loved ones. To be sure, re-establishing ourselves was energy sapping and slow. At times is was a drudge and there were definitely things I resented spending money on.
But weaving through it all was an energising excitement. How many adults get to re-engineer their lives at our age, with a better understanding of who they are and what they need? Perhaps most don’t want to. But for me, the chance to start afresh and form healthy habits free from the clutches of old ones felt rejuvenating. The chance to shape this life in harmony with the things that are important to us as well as the fact that we were building this new life and facing the decisions it brings together, further enhanced the feeling of satisfaction. Minimalistic, vulnerable travel is an excellent tool for boiling down your priorities and we’ve been putting that tool to good use, despite being settled for now.
And so, having weathered the storm and with energy reserves finally repleting we found our Sunday free of work and decided to explore our surroundings a little further afield. The world deigned to crown our exploration with one of the best days of weather we’ve had so far. Autumnal rays glinting off water and setting the backdrop for the emerging resplendence of the season would temporarily blind us round the country corners on the way home…but who would complain after such a perfect day?
We visited the attractive falls with a small, recycling crowd of others before spying a quieter path and heading off the beaten track and into countryside that was shared only by curious rabbits, wary sheep and bustling, busy song birds. The whole day cost us £5 for parking and fuel…we might have also spent a few quid on a delicious marshmallowed flaked hot chocolate, flapjack and coffee. You have to treat yourself sometimes right?
Oh and for those still racking their brains, the falls was used in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves in the scene where Robin fights John across the river.