Hello all! I'm going to tell you about my holiday now. Not that you care, but it's a cliche and if it's good enough for Ben, it's bloody well good enough for me. My holiday in the Lake District was 99% good, and 1% bad. In the spirit of wanting bad news before the good news, here's the bad:
Friday night/Saturday morning I got no sleep. None at all. Not one second. Which meant that yesterday we loaded the car and set off on the long journey back to Lovejoy Towers, my good self shivering in the back and feeling like a zombie. Halfway home we stopped off at my Grans, where I was allowed a lie down in the spare bed. I got about 20 minutes sleep, before being woken up by my cousin and brother who were engaging in a particularly raucous game of Hide n Seek. However, I got home in one piece, and after a 10 hour sleep last night and a hearty breakfast of cold Chinese, I feel like a human being again. So let's cut the moaning and go onto the good stuff.
Our cottage for the week was in the charming village of Skirwith. Here it is in all it's glory (not my pic):
Could I live in Skirwith? No, and neither could any non-driver.The nearest shop is in Penrith - about a 15 minute drive away. The nearest pub is a 10 minute drive away. As the cleaning lady who was looking after the cottage said to us, "you certainly have to manage your cupboards wisely here."
Penrith itself is lovely. An old fashioned town, with plenty of interesting shops, although the shopping arcade sector is a bit scruffy. The great thing about the town is that it doesn't have a Tesco - I've seen with my own eyes in my hometown how a Tesco megastore nearby completely destroys the little shops in the town. Penrith has a tiny Morrisons and thats it. I liked that.
So, what did we do? As you might have gathered, to get anywhere in the Lake District you have to drive. The vast majority of roads are windy and tight, narrow little lanes, and even A Roads are tricky to navigate. This means that you have to drive for a while - I remember on one day to get back to the cottage it was 26 miles. On a motorway, thats 20 minutes. On a dual carriageway, 25-30 minutes. Around the Lake District? 1 hour.
As such my esteemed father didn't want to drive every day, so we had a few days (Sunday, Tuesday and Friday) of lounging around, walking the dog around the village and generally chilling. So that will explain the gaps in days you're about to see:
A tour of Ullswater, Windermere and Coniston Water. You might notice that there I haven't put "Lake" Windermere, "Lake" Ullswater etc. That's because, amusingly, in the Lake District there's only one body of water called "Lake", and that's Bassenthwaite Lake. Tru story bro. There's not too much I can say about the "lakes", so let's progress onto where we stopped for lunch.
The Drunken Duck Inn was outstanding - quite rightly too, judging by the extortionate prices on show. One thing about the Lake District - it's a real "tourist trap" and perhaps is another reason I couldn't live up there. Four sandwiches (which came with 2 bowls of chips) and four drinks came in at well over £30. I'm just glad I wasn't paying! The story behind the name of the Inn is interesting:
This unofficial title dates back to Victorian years when a landlady of the Inn found her ducks lying stretched out in the road and concluded that they were dead.
Thriftily she began to pluck and prepare them for dinner. The ducks however, were "quick" and not dead. Down in the cellar a barrel had slipped its hoops and beer had gradually drained from the floor into the duck's customary feeding ditch. Thereupon the ducks made all too good use of their unexpected opportunity, with the result that when they came to they found themselves plucked and halfway to the oven.
According to local legend, the landlady, full of remorse for the rough treatment, provided the de-feathered birds with knitted waistcoats of Hawkshead yarn until their feathers grew back again.
Up to Northumberland, where we took in Housesteads Roman Fort, with a section of Hadrian's Wall right behind it. Not my picture:
Behind the fort was Hadrian's Wall, and what stood out for me was the smoothness and the flat surface of the top of it. I think this might be because they put some time of added security onto the top of the wall - maybe some wooden pieces to make it almost impossible to penetrate. The wall itself is not very high. It was interesting, but as I later remarked, "Once you've seen one wall, I suppose you've seen them all."
As we weren't too far away, we decided to pop into Scotland, as I've never been up there before. We drove past the border and into Gretna, passing this house on the way (not my pic):
We drove to Keswick. I was very excited, as our destination for the day was the James Bond Museum. It's an odd location for it, and when you get there it's a pretty small place with only 3 rooms. Nevertheless, it was pretty cool, especially for nerds like me. On the way out I couldn't resist buying some tat, so I bought a pack of Bond Girls playing cards and a 100g chocolate bar which is in the form of a gold bar (a "Goldfinger Bar" no less). These two items cost £8. EIGHT QUID! Still, there's nice pics of Halle Berry and Fiona Fullerton for when I get lonely, so I'm not complaining (much).
On our way to having lunch in Ambleside, we passed Dove Cottage. Without Googling, do you know who lived there roughly 200 years ago?
Rainfall over the week - nil. About 15 minutes after we got home, it started to rain.
"Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose".