"Hello...Is that Mr Pudding? It's me. Wendy. I'm the cleaner at Crowden. I've got your car keys. You left them in the toilet. When you get this message phone me back. This is my number *********. Bye". - Message via The Puddings' answerphone service Aug 31st 2012
I had driven over to Crowden on the Woodhead Pass that eventually leads over the Pennines to the modern day city of Gomorrah - Manchester. Upon arriving at the visitor car park, I laced up my walking boots grabbed my camera and headed up the path to the public conveniences next to the campsite. There I made an offering to the God of Lavatories before commencing my walk three miles northwards to the triangulation pillar at Black Hill.
It was hard going and often the path was invisible amidst the moorland bogs, peaty groughs, rough grasses and heather but eventually I made it to the middle of the Black Hill plateau before descending on a different path - The Pennine Way that clings to steep hillsides west of Crowden Great Brook. By the cliffs of Laddow Rocks a feeling of vertigo threatened to overtake me as I teetered along the edge knowing that with one unfortunate slip I could be crashing to my death on the boulders below - which would no doubt have pleased some bloggers of my acquaintance.
Finally, I made it back to the car park, planning to drive home via Glossop and then make our evening meal. I had a nice quiche in the fridge and there'd be rice and salad too. But. Yes, but.. Where were my car keys? I searched my pockets, checked out my camera case, looked under the car. They were nowhere to be found.
I remembered the offering I had made in the porcelain booth that morning but when I got there the cupboard was bare!
Just next to the toilet block is a small campsite run by the Camping and Caravanning Club of Great Britain. I went into the office/shop and spoke with the warden on duty. "No, no keys have been handed in mate!"
It was about four fifteen in the afternoon and I knew that Shirley would be home from work very soon so I waited and then used the campsite phone. Now Crowden is about twenty five miles from our home in Sheffield and I am sure that the last thing Lady Pudding wanted to do after a week's work was to battle through Friday night traffic and out to the wilds of northern Derbyshire but she agreed to do it. I was left chatting to the warden whose name is Mark.
What a bizarre world we live in! Turns out he's married to a woman from East Timor and ventured there last summer. He had several interesting tales to tell and it was a good way of passing the time before Lady Pudding finally arrived with the precious spare key. It was starting to rain by then as I shivered under a young sycamore tree by the car park.
We didn't get home until seven thirty. We scrapped the idea of the quiche dinner (or "tea" as we prefer to say in Yorkshire) and headed for "The House of Spice" - one of our favoured Indian curry houses. Well, every cloud has a silver lining! In fact our cloud had a double silver lining because when we got home I discovered the answerphone message transcribed at the top of this fascinating post. What a relief - not to have to shell out the £1,750 SEAT would no doubt have been demanding for a replacement car key!
|Crowden Youth Hostel|
|View west across the Crowden valley|
|Laddow Rocks high above Crowden Brook|