Daffodil Dance

Daffodils Illustration: Shutterstock


After the showers comes the sunshine… and a promise of brighter days that are yet to come

Lucy opened the car door and stepped straight into the muddiest of puddles. She cursed under her breath in exasperation.

Trust her to get wet socks before the walk had even started! Luckily she had a spare pair in her rucksack on the back seat. She was well equipped for a hike in the Lake District, including her first pair of waterproof trousers.

After three days of constant rain, it was clear to Lucy there was a reason why this area was famous for its watery landscape. She opened the boot to release her two excited border collies. They ran in swift circles around the car as she pulled on her wellies.

Bella was late, Lucy noticed, glancing at her watch. Her sister had insisted on stopping at the village store to pick up supplies, in case it was closed on their return, like yesterday. As city dwellers, they had been unprepared for such short opening hours and the cupboards in their holiday cottage were growing bare.

It was a long time since the sisters had been on a trip together…

When Bella had suggested a short break in the Lakes, Lucy had jumped at the chance. Her youngest son, Jake, had just flown the nest and showed no signs of returning any time soon. His new life was packed with activities.

Even the university holidays seemed to be full of enticing ski trips or climbing adventures.

Lucy would never have dreamed of trying to clip Jake’s wings, but she found her house far too empty without him. She was glad she had her dogs for company.

Molly gave a bark of pleasure when Bella drew up and hastened out of the car. She patted both collies affectionately.

“Sorry that took so long,” she called as she pulled on her hat and gloves. “It’ll be worth it when you see what I’ve bought for our supper.” She indicated the bulging cool bag in the boot. Lucy spotted a bottle of wine sticking out of the corner. She was not planning any complaints.

Soon the sisters were striding through the woods towards the bridge. They crossed the river that linked Rydal Water to Grasmere and hugged the shore until they emerged by the open lake. The trees were bare and the water looked brown as tea, lapping the stones on the sandy beach.

Lucy shivered. The wind had a bitter edge, more redolent of winter than spring, and the dark sky threatened rain.

“Just keep thinking of that hot chocolate I promised you when we reach the cafés on the other side,” Bella encouraged, proffering an arm. Lucy took it and they huddled together for warmth as the squall blew towards them.

“We’d better run for it,” Lucy shouted when the heavy drops began to fall.

Race you to those trees.

They giggled like schoolgirls, pushing and shoving as they vied to overtake.

They were still laughing when they collapsed in a heap against the wall of a stone boathouse. Its roof jutted out just far enough to offer some shelter.

Lucy fished out a tube of mints from her pocket while they waited for the rain to pass. She looked carefully at her older sister’s face beneath her hood as Bella leaned forward to take one. Bella’s cheeks were flushed and her eyes sparkled with mischief. You’d never guess what a long battle she had been through with cancer these past few years. She was positively glowing with health now. Lucy silently crossed her fingers. Bella had given them all a scare but it felt as if she was finally coming out the other side.

The rain ceased as suddenly as it had begun and they moved back out into the open meadows beside the lake shore.

“Look at the daffodils!” Lucy exclaimed, as the sun’s rays lit up swathes of flowers lining the path.

Their bright yellow heads were dancing and swaying in the wind, weaving a vibrant ribbon through the mossy stones and dark trees ahead.

“Dorothy Wordsworth would have been proud of those,” Bella murmured. They had visited Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth museum earlier that morning. Both had been impressed by the Grasmere Journal of the famous poet’s sister, whose 250th birthday was being celebrated.

Dorothy’s account of the daffodils, which she had admired with William on the shores of Ullswater, was as vivid as his poem. The siblings had explored the Lake District on foot together, as companions and collaborators, each recording their experiences in their own unique way.

Lucy glanced over at her sister. Bella stood among the daffodils, the collies at her side. The sunlight glittered on the water and the sky overhead cleared to reveal the first strips of blue since their arrival. Lucy hoped that William had appreciated Dorothy’s worth as much as she valued her own sister.

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Allison Hay

I joined the "My Weekly" team thirteen years ago and, more recently, "The People's Friend". I love the variety of topics we cover both online and in the magazines. I manage the digital content for the brands, sharing features and information on the website, social media and in our digital newsletters.