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It was the first day of our Autumn holiday and I’d picked up a book about lovely, quirky words coined in the English language that had never made it into widespread usage.

Just as we’d done three years previously, Yim Soon and I were heading to the Lake District to mark our wedding anniversary and were spending a night on the way with our friends Paul and Moira at Rainhill near Liverpool. I’d come downstairs early in the morning and was especially drawn to the book’s first chapter, entitled ‘Dringle’. The word was recorded in an 1830 work ‘The Vocabulary of East Anglia’ by a Norfolk philologist Robert Norby, who notes that to dringle is ‘to waste time in a lazy, lingering manner’. Following some weeks that had been extremely busy, with one thing and another, it was probably good that I was being forced to slow down for a week and, well, dringle!

It was raining heavily when we left Rainhill and Paul had suggested that a good option on such a day would be to visit Conishead Priory, which was sort of on the way to where we were going. What was founded in the twelfth century as an Augustinian monastery is now the thriving Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre, which offers, as well as a café and walks along the shoreline of Morcambe Bay, free meditation at 2 p.m. We made it to the Centre and into the huge temple just in time for the entry of a saffron-robed monk who gave a little introduction to the session. “Now you may be wondering who these guys and girls are,” he began, motioning to the various Buddha statues behind him, and in one of the thickest Dublin accents I’ve ever heard. It was all very down to earth and accessible, so too the silence which followed.

On the way back towards Windermere I was excited to pass through the village of Backbarrow where we’d spent our honeymoon in November 1992. The day we arrived there it had also been pouring with rain and we’d had to carry our rucksacks and boxes of food up a long hill to the house. We had no car in those days. It meant we had to hitch-hike everywhere and that led to some wonderful encounters. We were even able to invite one or two people in for a cup of tea when they’d been so kind as to drive us right to the door.

For this trip we were lucky to be staying close to the Waterfalls at Ambleside, and how I loved to listen each day to the crashing water. The last time Yim Soon and I were in Korea we stayed for a couple of days with an old friend from L’Arche, Sook Young, who has developed a therapy centre near the West coast which includes meditation, massage, good food, trips to the sea-side and running in the mountains! All of the above is right up my street but there is also a waterfall in the garden and waking up in the morning to the sound of that was almost the best therapy of all.After the heavy rain, the waterfalls in the Lakes were in full spate, and there was probably no better time to do the ‘Waterfall Walk’. One such was Skelwith Force which brought back special memories. We’d spent a few days in the Lakes when our children were quite young and had come across Skelwith Force by chance. It was a warm summer’s day and Kieran, our eldest, and I had donned swimming trunks and were leaping repeatedly off a high rock into a swirling pool below. Yim Soon and I stood on that same rock and were content on this occasion just to take some photos to send to the children.

We’d also on that holiday climbed up Helvellyn. To get our daughter, a rather reluctant walker, up the first and steepest section I’d devised a quiz game, ‘Who wants to be a Harry Potter millionaire.’ The format was based on the popular TV show, with the questions all coming from the Harry Potter books, which were all the rage at the time. Some of my possible answers to the questions became more and more wacky and we had such fun and before Miran knew it we were almost half way up the mountain. It was one of my finest creative moments! Yim Soon and I had walked Helvellyn again three years ago, when we had sat shivering at the top eating our sandwiches in the snow. It had almost been too cold to eat, let alone dringle. This time we sat at the summit in glorious sunshine, taking in the views in a truly lazy, lingering manner: made perhaps all the sweeter by the intense effort that had preceded it.

Whether it’s through the enjoyment of a beautiful place or moment, or in the relishing of a precious memory, or simply sitting and staring into space, it’s good to indulge now and again in the art of dringling.

Eddie Gilmore

Author Eddie Gilmore

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