Yorkshire is often called 'God's own country', especially by Yorkshire
folks. Never by anyone from Lancashire, though, apparently. But I have no wish
to reignite the Wars of the Roses, you'll be relieved to hear. What side would
Wiltshire people be on, anyway?
According to the well-known saying, 'it's better to travel than to arrive'. If you're driving from Wiltshire to Yorkshire it's not, as we did the other week. At first it's OK as you speed north up the M5, casting a pitying eye on the columns of traffic making little progress as they head to the beaches of the South West. But the further north you go, the slower the journey becomes. Mile after mile of crawling along the M6 at 10 MPH, or stopped altogether. In the blazing sun. And the car’s aircon has packed in.
It was certainly better to arrive in Yorkshire than to travel. We enjoyed rambling on Ilkley Moor. Certainly not 'bar’tat'*, though, with the sun beating down. There were magnificent dales and waterfalls to admire and lovely old towns and villages to explore. Not to mention treating ourselves to tea at Betty’s, complete with the obligatory Fat Rascal scone.
In the Bible the Christian faith is likened to a journey. Old Testament heroes of the faith Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are described as pilgrims on their way to ‘a better country, a heavenly one’. No, they weren't heading for Yorkshire, not even Wiltshire. Their eyes were on the city of God. Jesus is the way to that special place. He died for our sins and rose again that those who believe in him may be with him for ever. The journey to that heavenly country is sometimes hard going, but it will be more than worth it.
* ‘bar’tat’ = without a hat.
For July edition of various local parish mags