On a sunny afternoon we might stroll along the bank of a celebrated river, watching the cascade of a weir, pleasure boats passing up and down – but mostly, we are unaware of rivers, passing silently through culverts and ditches, invisible to us.
A crack like a gunshot echoes through the gorge. Some frost-loosened fragments of the limestone cliffs reverberate, considering if this is their time to let go, and plummet 200 feet onto the road below. It’s a turbocharged VW Golf from 1982, backfiring somewhere along the sharply meandering course of the B3135.
It’s like a wet day at the seaside – sitting by ourselves on a bench under the shelter, the dripping dagger boards gayly framing our view of the water, and of the conductor, staring out like a lonely ice cream seller.
I’m John, landlord of The Oak and Toad.