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  • Writer's pictureAnnemarie Rawson


Dinner last night in the Lily Bar and Pub was delicious. Ham and leek pie for him and summer risotto for me. Mine was full of broad beans, peas and topped with asparagus and lots of Parmesan. Steve declared his to be excellent home cooked food. Both of us were impressed.

My spring risotto
Ham and Leek pie - it was proper hock ham

Our morning dawned cool and crisp with wisps of cloud disappearing into warm sunshine and after a delicious and filling B&B breakfast the river path took us to the ferry pier here in Ambleside where we boarded a cruise on Windermere lake. This glided us through still, millpond water to the town of Bowness. Far too many people here for me and after stepping into the busy road once too often, coffee in town was ruled out and we opted for a more quiet stop at the Laura Ashley Hotel. Umbrella-covered tables on the terrace were very inviting. Our Italian waiter took our order and disappeared.

The pier at Bowness
The view from the Laura Ashley hotel
Looking up at the Laura Ashley hotel terrace

What a let down. Fifteen minutes later still no coffee. People at the table next to us gave up. They’d been waiting even longer they muttered to us and just got up and left. After much discussion our lukewarm coffee arrived and was dispensed with very quickly. Bowness was a pretty town but, as snobbish as it sounds, it certainly had a different clientele to Ambleside. We should have listened to my new best friend, George, host at our B&B. The Laura Ashley hotel was very tired. The staff must have been as well, the time it took for coffee to arrive! Our waiter was very embarrassed, poor man. Not,his fault.

Still, the cruise gave us the opportunity to glimpse the crenellated tower of Wray Castle through the forests as well as many slated turrets and ornate chimneys of old country estates, hidden amongst the trees.

This was the private home of a Lancashire mill owner. Now a private hotel.

After our award-winning pie lunch I was ready to climb on the bed for a little siesta but his lordship was lacing his hiking books and about to embark on the two hour hilltop walk to Grassmere. What could I do? With a deep sigh I pulled my boots from the wardrobe, pulled on my thick socks and laced myself in.

Another lovely home on our walk.
View from the track from Ambleside to Grasmere
Rydal Hall - this was outstanding. Passed it on our walk.
A private home seen on our walk

Once off the road and onto the track I found my rhythm and was getting some great photographs. Asking if we ‘were there yet’ entered my vocabulary at the one hour mark when I was ready to turn for home. Luckily for Steve, four fun Glaswegian women were resting at the ‘coffin stop’ (I’ll explain later) and we started chatting. My stride kept up with theirs as they continued on and Steve seemed to lag further and further back.

Just as we hit the Grassmere signpost I said Cheerio to my Scottish pals and waited for Steve to catch up. I must have waited a full 10 minutes and still no sign of him. I rang. The phone went straight to answer phone. A couple of minutes went by. Still no sign of him. I had back tracked a few hundred metres before I saw him sauntering down the track towards me. Relief.

‘Where have you been?’ I asked as he got near. ‘I was getting worried.’ ‘The guide said to take an offshoot to look at a waterfall,’ Steve said. ‘So I did. You didn’t miss much. Did you have a nice chat with the Glaswegians? I could have been lying there with a broken leg and you’d never have known, the way you hooked in with them and left me for dead,’ he said. He was joking but it could have been true.

I felt a bit mean - but only for five minutes.

‘The best thing is you’ve probably used up your female allocated 10,000 words already today. There’s no need for you to talk anymore,’ Steve said grinning at me, like an ape on a pole. What a smart ar.e.

Don’t you worry. There’s plenty more words left in me yet. Silly Steve had forgotten there was still tonight’s dinner ahead of us ...

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