A BREAK IN THE LAKE DISTRICT
I was in the queue for coffee at the busy Euston station when my phone pinged. An email. I saw Singapore Airlines pop up in the first line. It could only be one thing.
Steve was minding the bags and I could see him looking at his phone as I made my way back to him, juggling two cups of coffee while trying to read what it said. He too had received it. Yes it was the dreaded message; your flight has been cancelled. As if there isn’t enough stress at the moment.
On the train to Windermere it was hard to enjoy the scenery for the first hour and a half as I was tapping crazily into my phone, talking to the airline to try and find another date for us to leave. We are now booked to leave 24 October from London and, ah yes, excuse me madame but there is now an additional cost. Steam was coming out my ears and expletives slipped out between my tight lips. Steve was sliding down the seat opposite me, concentrating very hard on his laptop. Why is it always me making these bookings and dealing with people??? You may well ask. But I couldn’t possibly answer without using filthy, nasty words!
The lovely gentleman on the end of the phone, having called back three times due to failed wifi going through endless tunnels or deep in the countryside, tried to put me through to the electronic system that would take my card details. Twice we failed and the phone disconnected part way through. Can you see my face? Of course you can. It would have told a thousand stories. He gave up. He sent me a text message and asked me to get in touch on the hotline when I had a better wifi connection.
Finally I lifted my eyes to the scenery flashing past the window. Gorgeous. The sun had come out. Stone farmhouses sat nestled into hillsides with ancient drystone walls intersecting the undulating lush green pasture, dividing up the fields. Ducks and geese paddled around pop-up ponds, thanks to the heavy downpours we experienced this past week and black and cream-coloured fluffy blobs dotted the fields. These were the black-faced sheep, quietly grazing. Cows lay ruminating on the grass while others rubbed themselves up against old tree stumps enjoying a scratch up and down their rumps.
The train from Lancaster to Windermere was packed and at least a hundred people spilled out onto the platform with a raft of railway staff tightly lined up to greet us and check our tickets. No social distancing here as it was a bun fight to get through the narrow gap they had filled so no one could escape inspection.
The bus through to Ambleside was a little tour on its own, winding it’s way down hill, passing mysterious gates leading into long driveways with glimpses every now and then of the beautiful stone homes hidden in the trees. In a twist in the road the stunning Windermere lake sparkled into view, with boats in the marina and kayakers bobbing up and down on the water.
Our B&B is very cute and right in the heart of town. Our room overlooks the street and I can be nosy and watch the comings and goings of the many tourists that are currently thronging this very pretty place.
Out walking, a lady smiled at me as I was taking a photo of a fairly steep street and the very attractive pub in the middle of it.
‘Ooh it’s a lovely pub,’ she said, giving me a nod. ‘Take yourselves in and have a drink. It’s off the beaten track and mainly locals drink here. Very nice it is.’
I swivelled around looking for Steve and it took me a minute to realise it was the heel of his shoe I saw disappearing in the pub door before I could even suggest going in! We did enjoy a little tipple in the back garden in the sunshine, with the locals, before exploring a little more and returning to our room to freshen up for dinner.
Ta ra, luv. See you tomorrow.