Parking between the caravans resident in the “orchard”.
Walking along the straight narrow path, past the ample, two extended, workshop.
Seeing that the usually open door was closed progressing into the garden.
Looking across the garden to see how busy the top of Latrigg was and noticing that the bench was empty.
Saying hello to the search and rescue dogs noisily doing their job next door.
Climbing the few steps into the kitchen saying hello to Pauline stood their like a sentry on duty.
Turning the corner into the lounge.
There Doug would often be in his chair, reading with the aid of a standard desk lamp.
The greeting was simple, yet meaningful all the same “Y’alright Wack”.
I hadn’t always been Wack, the first time we met, and for some time after that, he called me Mark. Sue, now my wife, then my girlfriend, found this very embarrassing. Mark was a friend of her’s who would visit the house from time to time. I wasn’t embarrassed, it just made me smile.
I would sometimes get my real name, but more normally I was simply Wack and happy to be pal, mate, friend. As a stranger from the other side of Pennines it was nice to be welcomed in.
Many a time I wouldn’t get any further than the front of the workshop where he’d be reassembling some newly restored part of an Ariel, BSA, Norton, Royal Enfield and such like. Two wheeled marvels of chrome and gleaming paint on their way back to full health and occasional trips on the open road.
At other times he would be resident inside the workshop surrounded by tools, machines and various components. There was skill to the way he worked, but he wasn’t the tidiest of craftsmen, I liked that, because I’m not the tidiest either.
The workshop is cold now.
Most of the machinery has gone and so have the components.
I think I’ll carry on being Wack though.