Wendy's life

This blog has been created as a celebration of the life of Wendy Margaret Cronin (born 16 October 1944 and died 10 October 2007). The blog owner (me) is Steve McRobb (aka Macro) - I was Wendy's partner and then husband for almost 30 years. To add comments or a post, you must be an invited friend or family member - email me if you knew Wendy and would like to join.

Friday, 11 July 2008

The passing year in Wendy's woods

Last time I wrote about the Hambleton peninsula, it was the middle of June and the bluebells were over. Now it is the middle of July, and already two weeks since my last visit. Then, the campions in the woods had given way in their turn to brambles. In the verges and meadows beyond the woods, there are moon daisies (that was Wendy's name, but they're more usually called ox-eye daisies), fireweed (that's greater rosebay willow-herb), mallow, clover and keck (which she more often called cow-parsley).

I've been to her tree less in recent weeks, mainly because of preparations for the 3 Peaks Walk, which begins tomorrow. My training walks can all be seen on my photos page. Many have taken me back to places that Wendy and I visited together over the years, and this has been very poignant at times. Lots of mountains carry memories of Wendy. I used the wet Sunday after a long walk over Ingleborough and Pen-y-Ghent to visit one of Wendy's all-time favourite places, the waterfall on Mill Gill above Low Mill in Askrigg. She used to go there with parties of students from Melton College. She loved the damp, mossy, ferny 'fairy grotto' below the waterfall, too, because it was such a secret and mysterious place. She also loved the smell of the wild garlic in Spring, and this was all around me when I was there. It was good to see parties of students abseiling off an artificial climbing wall and doing archery in the grounds behind Low Mill. Wendy would have been in her element.

She might have been less happy to see that the Kings Arms has changed hands and all the strange artifacts that used to hang from the ceiling of the main bar are gone. The yard behind the Old Post Office, which I rented for the year I lived in Askrigg, has been developed into a big complex of holiday apartments. I think this was half derelict with one or two houses and barns when I was there. But then, that was about 18 years ago now. Probably 20 years or more since Wendy and 'the girls' first took a group of students to Low Mill. Directly across the road from my old home, what used to be a house has been converted into a new hotel.

Even the National Park headquarters at Yorebridge House in Bainbridge, where I worked for 15 months, is now a hotel and restaurant. I'm tempted to go and stay, just to find out what they have done with my old office on the corner overlooking the ha-ha. Wonder if it's now a bar? It might be nice to sit there with a pint and reminisce about that year, one of the toughest that Wendy and I faced together. But hard times soon turn into history, just like happy ones do too. You only have to blink, and everything changes. As Tom Waits sang: "Nothing in life is yours to keep."

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