The car was heading down the narrow, winding Yorkshire roads, and the moving landscape was becoming even more quintessential and enchanting. England’s particular atmosphere is hard to describe using only words, even if they are carefully chosen ones. Green hills with the distinguishable curvatures of deep and humid forests, steep, fenced-off pastures bordered by thick hedges where a few cows graze, narrow roads winding through the countryside, whose melancholic cheerfulness could not mask the wild but welcoming region’s harsh and wild nature.
The car is, between the men and the surfboards, full to bursting. The music that until now had motivated us to hit the road, to stay awake after the tunnel exit, to accompany the noisy and laughter-filled discussions, changes with the scenery: slower, calmer. For the hills, it has to be more respectful. The atmosphere is also more relaxed: not any less joyful, a road trip with friends is always a party, a personal as well as collective joy, but more intimate. More English. In the end, we didn’t know if the interior peace that slowly came over the car’s occupants was due to the journey, or to the landscape: both, most probably. The majestic presence of the second gave the first the most exceptional character. That alchemy between what we saw, what we felt, what we were living, gave, at that very moment, a unique feel to the road trip: like an interlude to our life, where the silent violence of glum and banal everyday life has no say. Then appear the villages, with their little white houses gathered around a sombre and mossy church, hamlets where pubs have the unwavering place of honour, where beers, noisy laughter and stifled tears mingle. A pub in front of which we pass, waiting for the right moment to enter. The place we talked about, the place where we talk. Its atmosphere welcomes long talks just as much as bursts of laughter. We come here to drink, to see.
The sea is there as well. Even though we missed it when looking for the pub, we could never forget it: violent, cold, sometimes calm, often rough, at times raging. When we throw ourselves into it, something is fulfilled: surfing here, is surfing elsewhere. No wind, the waves flow one after the other, five feet tall, sometimes more, sometimes less. No matter, the group is here, the hills, luxurious and torn up at the same time, protect us from the rest of the world. The water is cold, very cold even, the conditions perfect, the friends present. And afterwards, we’re going to the pub.
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– Josselin Picard –