I'm a lucky man.
I've got a terrific wife, Helen, the love of my life. We've been blessed with three wonderful children who've grown up and are making their way in the world... and at some point are going to make me a gra... a gra... oh, you know what I mean. Saying that word is a wee bit difficult.
I get to work in a field I love. I'm an historian, but not an academic. I never thought I'd have the qualities to teach. Helen has that talent; she teaches law to undergrads at the University of Edinburgh. Instead I go out into the field, and I write. Some of it means freelance assignments, and some is directed for books I'm working on. I'm writing what I hope will be the authoritative history of my home town.
Now I'm down in the Lake District for a few weeks. I'm on assignment for National Geographic. They want an article on the area, its history and people. You know the sort of thing. How tourism is a boost for the area, the culture, the land. I'm writing, of course, interviewing people, visiting archives, gathering information. I'm working with a photographer I'm friends with. Gabriel Miller's an Irish-American, does the whole travelling gypsy thing as well as I do. He's twenty or so years younger then I am, but a pro, and damned good with a camera. And he's like the little brother I never had, so of course we tease each other relentlessly.
He's finally found someone. He's talked about her, a woman named Chloe. She seems to suit him. He misses being with her. He's worried about her, I can see it. And with good reason. Her mother is dying, and he wishes he could be back home with her to see her through it.
Now we're stuck indoors. The biggest storm in decades has settled in over the British Isles. The lightning and the thunder are flashing and rolling, the wind is howling. It's raining cats and dogs out there, and we really can't get out and do anything. Not unless we want to catch our deaths with a cold.
The phone lines are down, and the same's the case with cell phones. Hell, for that matter, we can't get wireless coverage for our computers. He keeps staring out the window, wishing he could talk to her. I know the feeling. I miss hearing Helen's voice, but she knows what the weather's like right now. Edinburgh's getting this downpour too, after all.
From what he's said, Chloe's had it rough in life. She finds it hard to trust men. And he's wanting nothing more then to reassure her he's fine, to hear her talking back. He'd rest easier if he knew she knew how bad the weather is out here. It's not that likely. From what he says, American media only pays attention to storms overseas if the death toll goes into the triple figures or if there's an American involved.
For now, we're stuck. Reading books at this nice bed and breakfast, playing chess (which I know Gabriel would never do unless he was bored already), and wondering when the weather will clear. Here we are in one of the best hiking areas in the world... and we're indoors.
Okay, Mother Nature. I know England's got a reputation for foul weather at the best of times, but enough already!