Enjoyment of a Contrivance – Saturday December 1902

If this frost continues, we shall have skating soon. A caller from a farm a few miles distant tells us that the fells are white. The lower hills press so near upon us that the mountains are quite hidden from us.

This afternoon I had a novel experience; a ride in a basket chair attached to a bicycle. It is luxury in comparison with a pony carriage but a serious drawback to my enjoyment was the evident muscular strain upon the rider whose neck grew more and more red. I walked up the hills and there was enjoyment for both in free-wheeling downhill.

Of course, these contrivances are only of practical use when attached to a motor cycle. We went two or three miles to a point where the gap between Scafel Pikes can be seen. Only the peaks are visible over the intervening country and they were gleaming white against the pale wintry sky.

A few flakes of snow blew against our faces from the east as it drifted from the snow heights, but, when we turned, the sea lay in a golden shimmer, crossed by one narrow bar of cloud shadow. The seagulls and plovers with an occasional mournful cry, stalked in company over the pastures dotted with the newly laid heaps of manure. I wonder how those great flocks of birds feed themselves when the ground is frozen.

Finished reading “House with the Green Shutters.” If the volume had been my own property, I should have burned it to make sure that that copy, at any rate, would not injure any young imagination, or excite any sensitive nerves. It is clever, but corrosive and biting. All the hard and unlovely Scottish characteristics that Barrie and Ian Maclaren gloss over or idealise beyond recognition, are painted in uncompromising colours and the book is redolent of Scotch whisky. Don’t read it.

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