PHOTO: 1) SHIRE HORSE
2) THE BULL TO END ALL BULLS
From Ireland I went to the Lake District where it rained continually except for the day that I visited Beatrix Potter’s farm. Then, like an omen, the sun came out and shone on her colorful garden grown seven ft. high with holly hocks and dizzying with the scent of stocks. Even the mouse holes in the baseboards had been preserved, where she had made friends with other Bad Mice after her acquaintance with Tom Thumb and Hunca Munca.
In Ireland there was the Slow Coach. In the north of England there was the Pack Horse, a service that carried luggage for back packers. Since I was going to walk the Coast to Coast path from the Lake District to Yorkshire, and since it crossed one of the highest ranges in England, the Pennines, I was delighted to be able to use this service. Walking without my pack for those few days in Ireland had caused me to fall into the plush lap of the good life; it had introduced me to a luxury I couldn’t resist continuing. Walking packless to the top of the Pennines and down again was like having helium balloons attached to my shoulders–this even though the path was steep and there was snow at the top.
In Yorkshire, I went on a tour through Castle Howard, in honor of my Port Townsend friend, Gwen Howard, who’s husband was surely descended from the Earls. Even better than that, I attended a livestock exhibition.
I watched people showing dogs, sheep and the huge traditional Yorkshire draft horses called Shire Horses: gleaming black with white noses and feet. Seeing a handler trot a half grown one of these goliaths around a track was a tooth rattling event since the ground shook for a good distance away.
However the most memorable animals I saw there were bulls. I have never seen their equal, and I thought I had seen some pretty big bulls in my Oregon youth. These looked like their muscles were pasted onto their bodies in hefty slabs–one on top of the other. I wondered if I could make a 1” = 1’ model of one using quarter inch foam board, slapping one piece on the other as if making a vertical topographical map. I cannot even remember what color these bulls were; I just remember their muscles.
I also saw another engineering marvel: York cathedral. But in comparison to these bulls—-ho hum.