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U3A Writing: Wish You Was Here

Peggy MacKay tells us of some of her favourite places – and of a time for tears.

Thinking back to childhood, any place was fine as long as the weather was good. Long, sunny days down in the wood at Sowood, damming the brook to paddle. Water is always a fascination for children I think. The sandwiches eaten almost as soon as we got there and coming home starving in the afternoon. A penny scholar’s return to town and another to Marsden to walk to Blakelea as long as Maud, our friend who was three years older than me, was to accompany us.

Working in the hayfield for our uncle, raking and shaking the hay and fetching the home brew in a milk can on the back of the motorbike. Blistered hands and tired out at the end of the day, but we thought it was wonderful. Happy memories. I wonder what today’s children, twelve and thirteen-year-olds, would think about that.

In 1974 our first trip to Vancouver, flying over Iceland and seeing the icebergs and then the tundra regions of northern Canada and flying back over the Rockies. Quite breathtaking views that will live in my memory forever. Not to mention all the other places, such as Vancouver’s Stanley Park.

In 1976 our first tip to the USA and a visit to Niagara Falls on the Canadian side, absolutely breathtaking, an awe-inspiring sight that will never be forgotten. These two trips taken with my husband are treasured memories.

My first trip to Majorca the year following my husband’s death. I went with my second daughter Catriona, her husband Geoff and son John. This was a trip my husband had wanted to make, so it had a certain amount of sadness for me. The place was Valldernossa. Standing just outside the monastery looking out over the valley brought tears to my eyes. Such a beautiful view, but I was alone.

The wonderful panorama from the viewpoint overlooking Windermere in the Lake District is well worth the climb up the hill in Bowness. On a fine, sunny day it is a sight to stay in the mind forever.

Lastly, the view of our valley from the footpath to Slaithwaite, part of the Colne Valley Walk. A wonderful sight and right here on my doorstep, to be seen any day and every day with just a short walk. The whole valley stretches out before you. Green hills and moors from Marsden to Bolster Moor and down to Milnsbridge, with Slaithwaite lying below. Over Golcar to Lindley and beyond. The old mills lying the bottom add character beside the river and canal. It’s a beautiful valley, and I never tire of seeing it.

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