by Brenda W. Clough
This was to a great extent a travel day. We drove from Cheltenham to Keswick in the Lake District, in Cumbria. We arrived early enough to walk through the town and squander yet more money on on-sale mountaineering jackets, and sink a pint of the most excellent local beer.
What was really interesting, though, was the time it took us to drive this distance — four hours. This is less time than it takes to drive from Washington DC to New York. It is negligible, miniscule, to an American understanding. However, my landlord in the B&B in Cheltenham spoke of it as if we were a Polar party attempting an ascent of the Beardmore. He urged us to rise early, get out fast, and drive as if wolves were after us. The vastness of the distance appalled him, and he fully expected it to take us all day. If we had actually driven a full day we would be well into Scotland and possibly hit the North Sea. This is one small island, but it is big in the mind of its residents. Now I understand their confusion, when they arrive in the US. That expectation that they can drive from Maryland to Disney World in one day — it comes of being born on a right little, tight little island.