Thursday, 6 August 2009

Out & About in Lakeland

Time for some of those holiday pics and chat I mentioned, so skip this if that kinda thing bores the pants - or any other bit of underwear - off you. ;0)

The cottage we stayed in in Chapel Stile was lovely, just a few yards along the road from the church, and the back garden was a treat. DH took a snap of the clematis (?) that were growing amongst the shrubbery fencing between us and the next property.

They were way prettier than the pic shows (not one of his best, Bless!). I wanted the pic because I love these flowers and plan on having some in our garden - it will be a reminder, so we'll know what to keep a look out for next time we visit the garden centres. :0)

So what did we get up to while we were gadding about in the Lake District? Well the first couple of days we took it fairly easy as I was recuperating after the stomach upset I had on the Friday night before we came away. We continued unpacking and generally settling in on Sunday but DH and I took time out to have a wander down the road to the pub (and I mean down the road - we were up the hill and the pub and shop were down at the bottom of it), to check out the menu with a view to eating there at some point. We also called in at the Brambles Cafe (above the Co-Op shop) for a warm drink and a menu check - it didn't have anything that I'd be able to make a full meal out of, unfortunately. The walk back up the hill must have tired me out because I fell asleep in the chair for an hour before tea. We cooked and ate in - the kitchen was brilliant and very well stocked with tools etc, again the best one yet.

Monday we all felt a bit livelier so after dinner we got togged up in our walking gear and wandered along the top road from the cottage to the junction with the road up from Elterwater village...... down we went into Elterwater itself for a drink at the pub (herbal tea for me). The menu was very promising and a chat to the lady behind the bar revealed that they would be OK about altering things on the menu to suit my diet. Great - we booked for 6.30 in the restaurant..... even better, it was DS's treat for our anniversary meal. We had a wander around the village and down by the river to kill some time, then headed back. They were very accommodating when it came to mixing and matching the food and leaving out dairy products and dressings etc and the meal was excellent - well worth waiting to celebrate while we were away. :0) The only problem was: we had to walk back to the cottage on full stomachs..... DS's was very full because he shared a starter with his Dad and went on to have pudding too, the guts......... there was a reasonable slope up to the back footpath, a very stony path down, then the flippin' hill all the way back up to the cottage. I was amazed when DS didn't either burst or barf. LMAO

Tuesday spoilt itself big time: it chucked it down for much of the day. We weren't in a rush to get wet. After dinner we drove over to Windermere to do a food shop in the Booths supermarket. For those in the UK, think sort of like Morrison's but better: lots of choice there, especially on the fresh fish counter. The chap behind the counter actually asked DS if he was a Chef - he's not but, due to his regular trips to the Farmer's Market where he chats to the stallholders, and to having a love of good quality food and cooking, he is becoming quite knowledgeable. Once done in Booth's we all decided we were thirsty, so opted to go to Lakeland Ltd as it was only next door. The Menu was full of no-no's for me but they did have herbal teas. Afterwards we had a wander round the store - always a treat - and made a list of the items we wanted. No point in buying them there and then as they wouldn't have fit in the car to take them home, it was so we could remember what we wanted and then do an internet order once home again. Back to the cottage after to unload, have tea and a quiet night in, with beers for the boys.

Wednesday was another iffy weather day so we had a drive over to the Rheged Visitor Centre. Yay, finally a proper shopping opportunity! LOL We had dinner in the cafe first, where they were really helpful (had run out of the chicken and bacon salad so made a smoked salmon salad up specially for me), then had a wander up to the top of the place and worked our way down. I always like a nosey at the bookshop and didn't come away empty-handed - though I forgot to add the book DH bought on the Stone Circles of the Lake District (a little gem: there are way more than I ever thought there were).

We also indulged in a smelly soap with a heavenly smell from the smellies shop. I also treated myself to a small haematite bracelet, to replace one I broke that had also been bought from there a previous year. We also got a few tasty goodies from the food shop...... and no visit to Rheged would be complete without dropping in to my all time fave, The Paper Shop. It was extra fun this year as I knew I'd be spending DS's money for him. ;0) He had offered to buy some replacement goodies, for all those emergency last-minute cards he'd nabbed from my stash....... and I could get a few extra bits and they'd be the rest of my Christmas gift. So with that off I trotted, basket in hand, to see what there was...... not that I actually needed any added encouragement or incentive to go find some goodies. ROFL When we got to the till I got the final stamp added to my Loyalty Card BUT I didn't have to wait until next year to claim the money off voucher - when the lady realised I only bought in there once a year whilst on holiday she knocked the money off straightaway. How nice was that? DH was really happy as it didn't cost him as much as he thought it might and I was happy because I came away with this little lot to play with:

And I still get to find a little something else for my Christmas pressie at some point. LOL

After all that exciting shopping we drove back to Grasmere where we had our evening meal in Tweedies Bar - another very helpful place and excellent meal. I can highly recommend the venison. :0) A steady drive back over the tops to the cottage after.

Thursday was reasonable weather so we had another walk, this time taking a packed lunch and going in the opposite direction: along the valley bottom footpath to the Stickle Barn, just below Dungeon Ghyll, stopping for lunch by the river on the way. We stopped for a loo break and a drink at the Stickle Barn, then opted to walk back via the higher path along the hillside - yup, up another rocky hill and it went up and down, up and down most of the way back...... and it was squishy and occasionally downright wet underfoot. After last years washout of a holiday (remember the bursitis that stopped me from doing any proper walking?) those hiking boots got well and truly christened, for sure. We walked back to the cottage via the Co-Op, where we got a few bits and pieces for tea. The walk was about 5 miles and was the longest one I've managed to do in a very long time and I didn't ache overly much the following day...... chuffed to bits just doesn't cover it. :0)

Friday was a bit so it was decided it was a day for driving over to Kirkby Stephen, so we could visit our favourite shop: the 2 Ravens, which is one of the rare New Age style shops in Cumbria. The lady in there always recognises and always has a good chat with us...... it was also good to have her notice that I'd lost weight and say how much better I looked. As soon as I went in I spotted an absolutely gorgeous Charoite crystal ball sat in the display cabinet and it was love at first sight. It was a stunning piece, not quite purple and not quite blue, with swirls of black and white vein running through it..... and one solid black area with a white vein around it that looked a little like a starburst around a black hole. The owner must have sensed something because she took it out of the cabinet so I could hold it. Wow! There was a definite power/energy in it that immediately had me reacting to it, sort of a slightly spacey swirl through my body - I told the owner that it was definitely a piece I knew I could work with but that I also knew I probably couldn't afford it and daren't ask the price. The rarity and size of the piece was definitely reflected in that: £295........ and that was a real jaw dropping moment and I carefully handed it back so she could lock it away in the cabinet again. The piece kept calling to me and spoilt me for any other crystal in there....... but there's absolutely no way I could justify spending that amount of money on one piece, even though I know it's "my" piece. Gutted just doesn't begin to describe it. :0( Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket? LOL I then made a bee-line for the books and found these two gems to add to my eclectic collection:

DS bought a book and a couple of crystal pieces, then we said our goodbyes and left. On to one of the gift shops and DS did all of his present buying in one fell swoop: lots of bags of handmade choccies, some choccie cookies, bottles of cider and some fluffy marshmallows for his goddaughter. Back to the car and we drove round to Pendragon Castle, to see how it had fared over another winter: a few more stones had fallen and the sheep still use it to shelter in, so you have to watch where you're putting your feet (and there are some areas you just don't go into!) but it still has the same peaceful air about it. We then drove to the Moorcock Inn where we had our evening meal (they do a huge and very tasty gammon steak) before driving back to the cottage. Unfortunately I developed a migraine on the way back but my herbalist had warned me this was a possibility on the new medicine mix, so I had some Migraleve tablets with me - luckily they worked after a time, though it made the drive back a bit of an ordeal....... you can't look at and enjoy the beautiful scenery when you've got flashing gold zigzaggy lines blocking half your vision. :0(

Saturday my brain was a bit fragile to loud noises but I felt fine otherwise, so we made a packed lunch and drove over to Castlerigg Stone Circle, near to Keswick. After eating we had a wander around the circle and Wanda decided she had to have her picture taken:

This is my favourite spot and view, looking out from the circle to the cup of the valley. Yes, that's some of your actual sun shining there too and it must have gone to Wanda's head because she started to get pretty laid back:

Can't blame her, the sun warmed those stones up quite nicely and it felt quite toasty next to them. :0)

Soon after we made our way into Keswick itself to look round the market and do some shopping. The first stall I spotted had some wonderful Fair Trade bags and purses. My other little bag is looking a tad tatty now and isn't really bag enough to carry all my pills and potions, so I chose this one as a replacement:

Plus a cute little wallet to go in it. I was all set to pay for it when DH said he'd treat me, lovely man. :0) Into one of the many walking shops and DS came out with some trousers, socks, gaiters and a bandanna; Dh got a much needed new rucksack. Another shop and I came out with a pair of Brasher walking shoes and some socks which are so comfy it's like walking on clouds. A scout round the rest of the market and the shopping bags included some cheeses for the menfolk, a bottle of cider (gift), some meats for more meals and a pretty necklace DS bought for his girlfriend. Not a bad haul. Back to the car and up to the Twa Dogs Inn for our evening meal, then back to the cottage where I finished my book that night (more in the side bar or over at the reading blog).

Sunday we stayed local. DS tootled off on his own for a walk round the valley and down to Skelwith Bridge and back along the river path in the valley bottom. DH and I had a nice wander down to the river so I could cleanse my crystal ball. The usual spot was already taken by a couple of collie dogs and their owners so we wandered up river a bit, to try and find a suitable spot. As I checked out one place and wondered if it was suitable, lo and behold a dragonfly appeared and flew around the area - we'd never seen one around here before so it was enough of a sign for me, making it extra special. Back to the cottage after, via the Co-Op, for a quiet night in.

Monday we made a packed lunch and drove over to see another stone circle that has been on my must-see list for a while: Long Meg and Her Daughters which took a bit of finding when we got over there, as it's not that well sign posted. It's far bigger than Castlerigg, with many more stones, and a totally different feel to it. Meg herself was quite imposing and Wanda decided she had to have a pic taken:

The weather was decidedly changeable, being overcast then turning to rain..... so no sunbathing that day. The views were disappointing, so Castlerigg remains my favourite site. When we got thoroughly rained off we drove back, stopping off at a pub on the way for a loo break and drink. DS's friend S joined us at the cottage that night for a meal and natter.

Tuesday was lousy weather but it didn't deter the two younger chaps, who got togged up and went for a walk over the tops to Grasmere. DH and I, being much less fit and with a strong aversion to getting seriously soggy, opted to go over a bit later in the car, meeting them both in Tweedies Bar for lunch and a natter. They then decided they weren't quite shattered or soggy enough yet, so set off to walk to Rydal Head next whilst DH and I had a tootle around the shops. DH got himself the Churchill's Wizards book and I managed to pick up another couple of buys from the secondhand bookshop:

I'm currently reading the Reincarnation book. We then drove to the Rydal Head car park to meet the young 'uns who came back from viewing the river, which was topping its banks by now. We dropped S off at the Britannia Inn in Elterwater, where he was staying, then took DS to our cottage so he could shower and change, then went back to the Britannia for our evening meal and a natter with S.

It bucketed it down all that night as well and all the following morning. We picked S up, as arranged, and went for a tour round in the car - S hadn't been to the Lakes before so it was an opportunity to show him more of the sites...... without getting wet! LOL First we went up the valley to Little Langdale, circling back round to Elterwater; then up over the tops to Grasmere and through there to the far shores of Thirlmere, where we stopped in a car park to have our packed lunches. The weather had fined up by now so we had a bit of a wander down to the waterside and took some pics on our phones. Climbing back into the car we took S into Keswick so he could buy some waterproof trousers (he'd never needed them before so had to borrow DH's set the day before) and I took the opportunity to get some more Brasher socks. From there it was a drive past Crummock Water and Buttermere, then back to the cottage via Keswick and Grasmere. The chaps had a fry up and I had some local steak. :0) S was really impressed by the scenery and would love to visit the area again to do some more walking.

Thursday all three chaps went off for a male bonding session at Rookin House Farm: archery, clay pigeon shooting and quad biking. I opted to stay at the cottage for a quiet day doing "me" things: reading, making full use of the broadband connection, doing a little cleaning and tidying up and generally chillin'. When the chaps got back we all headed over to the Stickle Barn for tea
and a natter. It was a good day all round. We said our goodbyes to S when we dropped him off at the pub, as he was heading off first thing, to go visit some relatives further North for the weekend. He enjoyed his time in the Lakes and has decided he's going to come back some time to do some more serious walking. It was lovely to introduce a newby to an area we know and love so well. :0)

Friday was another iffy weather day. The morning was spent packing all but the bits we needed into our suitcases and getting them loaded into the car, to save time the following morning. After lunch we headed over to Coniston for a wander round. We had a look at the beautiful carved cross on Ruskin's grave in the churchyard, grabbed a brochure from the local self-catering cottages agency (for future reference) and a look in a couple of the gift shops. Guess what I bought? Yup, another book:

Though why a book about CB, a Yorkshire woman/author, was in a Cumbrian gift shop beats me. LOL That was the last of my buys - would you believe I actually came home with way more than I spent, so it was a real cheap holiday! LOL

Saturday dawned.... and ended up another wet one, thanks to the typical Lakeland drizzle. Packing the rest of the stuff into the car was a hurried and soggy experience and the cleaners arrived before we'd quite finished, thanks to the folks in the next door cottage not going as soon as we'd hoped so we could pinch their parking slot, to make our loading easier - the road is very narrow outside the cottage.... and considerably narrowing the road further whilst unloading wasn't fun. So glad I can't lip read as I'm sure some of the things the drivers who had to squeeze their cars through the gap weren't very nice. ;0)

On the way home we called in at the Country Harvest store near Ingleton so we could get a few necessaries for DH and DS to have for dinner (the cafe was extremely busy) and some to take home with us. I also managed to find a lovely zip up fleece top, thin enough to use as a cardigan rather than a jacket, which I was pleased about. We ate our lunch in the car in the car park then set off again, calling in at a pub near Wyke for a drink and necessary break, then made it home...... to be greeted by a mountain of mail that almost blocked the way in. About half an hour after we'd finished unloading the car the rain that had been dogging our heels all the way back finally caught up. Not bovvered: we stayed in, with our first take-out curry in a fortnight to keep us company. ROFL

I'll post pics of my bits of holiday stitching next time. DH might have transferred some of the phone pics onto the computer by then, so I may add a few of those too. :0)

Thank you for all the lovely comments on my last post. I'm gradually catching up with blog reading/commenting, so if you haven't had a comment from me yet.... you will soon. Thank you for visiting. :0)


Daffycat said...

Oooo, it sounds like you had a wonderful time, Karan!

Karen said...

sounds like you had a lovely time

Barb said...

Karan what a joy to read your blog it is so newsy. If I win the lottery you will have your crystal lol.
Hugs Barb

Paula said...

Well Karen it looks like you all had a great holiday... and doesn't the Wanda one just love herself sunning away

Julie said...

Sounds like a fab trip, lots of exercise and nice food too, what could be better.
Nice books. That crafty little bunny, hitching a ride to the stone circles, i wonder if she met any friends there!!!

Angela said...

Sounds like you had a great time.

Andrea said...

Karan, it sounds like you had a really enjoyable time. Weather is always a hit and miss affair here in the UK, but it seems you made the most of it.

Elisa said...

Sounds like a fantastic time was had by all. Some lovely purchases time remember to pop me in the boot!!
Elisa x