Friday 15 June 2012

Four days away

When I posted the now disappeared post Inspiration or perspiration I mentioned that we were going away for a few days to somewhere that I had never been to and we had been trying to get to for a few years. Finally we made it last month to the Lake District which is less than two hours drive from where we live. For a change we managed to set off not long after we had planned to do so, leaving around noon.We had a good if slightly damp journey and if we had kept going would have arrived at our hotel before we were allowed to have our room. So we stopped for lunch at a pub/restaurant in the Lyth Valley. We just needed a sandwich and a drink. Having taken our order the bar maid asked where we would be sitting. I pointed to a table by a window over looking the Lyth Valley. We were told that we could not sit there as that side was for diners only and we were having food from the bar. It was Friday lunchtime, which I would have expected to be a busy time and we were the only people in the whole place! So we had to sit by a window over looking the road. We were not there long and it was only a short journey from there to our hotel in Bowness-on-Windermere.

By the time that we had settled ourselves into our room, from which we had this view of Lake Winderere,

the sun was out and we decided to go and do some exploring. Part of the object of this exercise was to find somewhere to eat that evening, as husband does not like eating in hotels in the evening. He also thinks that we get more of a feel for the place if we eat out. That night we ate at an Italian restaurant! But before we did so we worked up an appetite walking around Bowness and along the Promenade by Lake Windermere.


The next day was dry but cool with sunny intervals. We set off for a tour of the lakes by car. First we went into Windermere before heading off round the southern end of Lake Windermere. Then it was on to Coniston Water. The scene of  Donald Campbell's triumph and disaster on 4 January 1967. I remember watching it all live on black and white television. The terrible outcome took everybody by surprise. We stopped in Coniston to stretch our legs and take a few photographs mainly of Coniston Old Man, the peak, below, which overshadows Coniston.

Next we had a quick look at Hawkshead where there was nothing much to see. From there we headed towards Lake Thirlmere stopping at Thirlspot for lunch. After lunch we drove around Lake Thirlmere stopping on the way to take some photos.

From there we headed back towards Windermere, stopping in Grasmere, where the poet William Wordsworth is  buried at St Oswald's church. Below is the bridge by the churchyard in Grasmere.

Back at the hotel the sun was out and we decided to have a walk around the garden, right, which is opened under The National Gardens scheme.

That evening we dined at a French restaurant in Windermere recommended by one of husband's squash playing friends. We had taken the precaution of checking out the menu and booking a table during our visit to Windermere earlier in the day, which was just as well by evening it was full and we saw several people turned away. The first couple that had been turned away returned a hour later and sat at the table next to us. They were Americans from Boston and had only flown into Heathrow that morning. They had travelled by rail to Windermere for a few days. Then they were going back south and over to Normandy, in France.

Sunday morning dawned cool and grey and the weather forecast was not very good. We decided to take a drive up the coast. After driving for miles along a deserted country lane we came to the Sellafield Nuclear Power Station. It is not a pretty sight. Its' situation is desolate and bleak. In fact it looks rather like a prison - box like buildings and a tower surrounded by a wire fence with topped with coils of barbed wire. We did not try to take any photographs. We did not want to spend a night in a prison cell. The only other building in the area is a railway station. So we continued up the coast driving through St Bees, Whitehaven and Maryport before turning inland to Cockermouth. Everywhere looked grey and miserable. By now we were looking for a pub for lunch. We did not find anywhere suitable until we had driven to the bottom of Lake Buttermere.

Lunch eaten, we had two options, to go back the way we had come or along the more direct route which took us along the Honister Pass - a slightly scary single track road to Seatoller, which had this view.

That afternoon the rain set in and we decided to call it a day. We went back to our hotel room and read the Sunday papers. Later we ventured out into the rain, driving into Bowness for our evening meal.This time we tried an Indian restaurant. So our feel for the area gave us the taste of Italian, French and Indian cuisine.

On Monday morning before setting off home we went into Bowness to buy ourselves some souvenirs and Kendall mint cake for husband's work colleagues. The previous evening I had spied a rather nice art shop on our walk from the car to the restaurant. So it was to there that we returned to purchase a wall hanging wine bottle and a small blackboard to hang in our kitchen. One small problem. Over a month later I am still waiting for the blackboard to be hung up.

This was not the Lake District at its' best. Here is what it can look like.

Thursday 7 June 2012

Cheshire Wife's flower show

My mission for this year is to get on top of our garden, which means that because our English weather is erratic and unpredictable I need to spend as much time as I can working in the garden when the weather is good, as it was until about a week ago. Then having spent all of that time out in the garden, I have to spend time catching up with the housework in the cottage. I wish that I could say that I am up to date on that score but there always seems to be something that needs doing. However, I feel that I have spent enough time on the cottage recently to be able to justify spending some time on my blog.

Here are the rewards of time spent working in the garden.These photographs were taken about two weeks ago when the weather was hot and sunny.

An azalea to the right of the front door

and an aquilegia to the left.

Then there is this weigela which is flowering for the first time since it was planted about six or seven years ago.

On the other side of the front garden bearded iris are in bud about to open .

A few days later they are open.

Next if we move around to the back garden we have allium

a rose

and a clematis.

Then moving on down the right side of the garden we have the first of the oriental poppies in flower.

Behind them is a rhododendron which we grow in a pot because our soil is too alkaline for its acidic taste.

Finally of the left side of the garden these lupins are holding centre stage.

Lastly, no flower show would be complete without a flower arrangement. Here is the most recent arrangement from my flower arranging class. My mother used to keep umbrellas in this pot by the front door.

Not all of my arrangements are worthy of being photographed and displayed on my blog.