Worldcon Report 14: Lake District

by Brenda W. Clough

image 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.

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About Brenda Clough

Brenda W. Clough spent much of her childhood overseas, courtesy of the U.S. government. Her first fantasy novel, The Crystal Crown, was published by DAW in 1984. She has also written The Dragon of Mishbil (1985), The Realm Beneath (1986), and The Name of the Sun (1988). Her children’s novel, An Impossumble Summer (1992), is set in her own house in Virginia, where she lives in a cottage at the edge of a forest. Her novel How Like a God, available from BVC, was published by Tor Books in 1997, and a sequel, Doors of Death and Life, was published in May 2000. Her latest novels from Book View Cafe include Revise the World (2009) and Speak to Our Desires. Her novel A Most Dangerous Woman is being serialized by Serial Box. Her novel The River Twice is newly available from BVC.

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Worldcon Report 14: Lake District — 6 Comments

  1. Firstly, your landlord probably knows the M6. It is entirely possible to spend not four, but fourteen hours on that journey – it used to be part of my patch as a delivery driver, so I speak from experience.

    Britain is, as Terry Pratchett points out, gnarly country. You can spend three weeks in the Lake District without seeing all its sights, you can probably spend three _months_ and still not have seen it all, and the landscape is continously changing, as are the dialects and customs. This creates a feeling of distance even when journey times are short.

    I hope you have a fantastic time!

  2. Oh, I know it. It is just not possible to see and do everything. And the roads can be curiously difficult, what with the naming conventions and the rarity of street signage. Even a GPS cannot quite save you. However, American blundering and random wandering about do have an effect.

  3. I hope you know that the enormous distance of the Lake District and the necessity to visit somewhere nearer plays a big role in a beloved work of literature ;).