After the breakfast Artur and I left the caravan, he was to take me to a river right behind the farm. I never heard of River Esk before, not in geography classes, not a sign anywhere but Internet helped but not without a lot of confusion. Just in this area, there are two rivers by the same name, Esk.
Longtown is part of the Lake District (or I assume for it is so close to Carlisle which is the only city in Cumbria). The River Esk that runs along the border of Longtown is the Esk that flows from Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland. The River Esk has two tributaries – Black Esk and White Esk and I am yet to know if this river we were going to was a Black or a White. I still don’t know why the tributaries of Cumbrian rivers are often a Black something and a White something.
Before leaving the farm, Artur said he wanted to show me a great view. I was in Cumbria for great views so I was excited. Here’s the view I got of endless farmland – for as far as my eye could see. We climbed up a huge mound of animal fodder covered with tarpaulin, I hadn’t climbed anything in years except staircases!
We then climbed over a small gate to get into someone’s private property. We weren’t serious trespassers as the farm owners are usually tolerant to their neighbours and I was for then a ‘guest’ on The Fauld, so no problem! Upon walking for 15 minutes, listening to Artur’s stories and sharing mine, we reached a field of yellow flowers – Cumbria!
And there was the river, a beautiful view. Artur and I sat by the river, more story-telling followed. This is how Artur tells his stories.
We sat on the banks of The Esk for as long as it took me to get into the beauty of the moment, soak in its reality, enjoy the gentle sun on my skin, fill my lungs with fresh air and let the wind play with my hair.
Artur then climbed down to the river, a rather precarious thing to do but he wasn’t so worried for he can swim. I can’t so I didn’t dare to do the same. Artur wanted to show me nests of birds on the cliffs. I couldn’t see them. The river is popular for angling, rich with salmons and we did see a car parked a little further up, perhaps people fishing.
And hence began Artur’s ‘do you have these in India’ questions, which I was most happy answering with either a yes or no and mostly ‘I don’t know’
‘Do you have these in India? We call them ‘Mother and Step-mother in Belarus: The upper side is smooth and warm like mother and the underside is rough and cold – like a step-mother’ – nope, I don’t know if we have those in India.
‘Do you have these in India? We call it ‘Touchy Himalayan’: When it is ready, as in mature, you touch it and it explodes’ (video above) – not sure if we have those in India, but if it has ‘Himalayan’ in its name then we are likely to have them in the north, in the lower Himalayas, not sure Artur 😦
‘Have you seen this fish before? We call it the ‘three thorns fish’ or a ‘five thorns fish’: they’re tiny little, translucent fish with either three or five thorns on their back.’ – nope, I have never seen those before.
‘Mubin, come here without making noise, or the birds don’t fly away.’ – and they flew away when I took my camera out.
‘Do you have this tree? It makes me miss home. The bark gives a juice which has a very subtle, tarty taste. Families stock the juice and have it occasionally, in the summer months.’
‘I am not sure what berries those are, they may not be poisonous but don’t try them yourself’
‘I don’t know what plant that is’
‘Do you have this tree in India?’ – I don’t know Artur 😦
We walked into Longtown for lunch and picked this warm restaurant, one of the few in Longtown – The Sycamore Tree that offers a 30% discount to senior citizens which I thought was a sweet offer. I was happy to see the difference of being in a small town in England to the cities – tables had senior citizens talking with smiles on their faces, pleasant explanations, another table had a young family with children. And another table had two new friends – Artur and I.
By now I knew what a gift it is to be with Artur who is sensitive to creatures around him – big and small. Here he found a green little thing, not sure what it was, not a spider.
We order lasagne for each other, this is when Artur discovered I don’t like raw vegetables very much – ‘how unfortunate’ written all over his face.
A great afternoon and great meal. We headed back to the farm and on our way to The Fauld, we saw plenty of cars outside the Arturet – ‘this is unusual,’ said Arthur. I never saw so many cars here, not even on a Sunday.
There was a wedding at the Arthuret, and how did we know that? A car slowed down, the driver an elderly man in a great mood it seemed – ‘the sun will shine bright on the bride today’ and an exchange of smiles.