My tired eyes sting a little as I sip my very hot tea and look out over the estuary of the River Dee. Well, actually the sun has now set so I can’t strictly see it, but from my seat on the Halkyn mountain I can identify it as the expanse of blackness ahead of me followed by peninsula of light which is the Wirral, beyond which lies another blank chasm bordered by an even larger twinkling urban sprawl as the Mersey runs next to Liverpool. Were it daytime, my vantage point might let me see as far as the Pennines.
Little more than five hours earlier I’d been in bed asleep, when the call from the hospital came, urging us to make the 300 mile journey as soon as possible, just in case, as an elderly relative was taking a turn for the worse. Within an hour I found myself on the road, escaping the post-Christmas cabin fever and turkey, and with the prospect of missing out on a New Years shaking the hands of people I would never normally want to shake hands with inbetween trying to get off with people I would never normally want to get off with, or whatever it is that’s expected of you. I remember doing this drive ten years ago in much the same circumstances. Ten years ago we’d made it as far as Conwy when the call came to say we were too late. I’ll be damned if I’m going to let that happen again, so I drink my very hot tea quickly and get back in the car.