Friday, April 4, 2014

Wednesday after breakfast

We've now finished our breakfast, planned our first entire day in the U.K. and so we are off.  Our goal is the Lake District, so after much negotiating and driving on the left, entering roundabouts, and getting lost more than once, we arrive at Bowness-on Lake Windermere.  It's a pretty day, there are daffodils everywhere, growing on hedgerows, in gardens, in fields, in cemeteries.  They are so beautiful and this is a pretty little town.  It's crowded.  So that means that a lot of other people have had the same idea that we had.  Pretty day so spend it at the lake.  We drive around and around until we finally find a parking place on the street, a good walk away from the main part of town.  We cut through a country lane and head back toward town.  I had neglected to bring my all weather coat because when we left the hotel the weather was mild.  The wind blowing off the lake is quite chilly and I'm shivering, besides which its beginning to mist slightly.  When we reach town we immediately start looking for shops that sell sweaters or jackets.  Hooray!  Found one.  And better still, find a fleece jacket that has been marked down.  Last one they have.  Try it on.  It's a bit snug but oh so warm!  Earl finds a light jacket too, and so we are on our way.
We decide to eat a bite or two so we find a neat restaurant in town and are seated.  This is so different from home.  There is no tipping.  I didn't realized that and all I had was a five pound note so I gave it to the waiter after we had eaten.  There was no place on the tab to leave the tip, so I just handed him the money.  He looked confused but he took it.  We asked the couple at the next table what the customary tip was and they said it wasn't necessary unless you just got exceptional service and then it was usually only ten percent.  I told them I had just given our waiter a thirty percent tip.  They laughed and said then I had probably made him happy.  Anyway, it was nice to know that, and well worth five pounds to find it out.  I played it safe and had the fish and chips.  It was delicious.  Earl ordered something else and was not too happy with it.    
We walk around the town and finally decide to take the lake cruise.  The boat we choose goes to Ambleside and then turns and comes back, about a ninety minute trip.  Are you game?  Yes, I am, says Earl.  So we queue up and off we go.
The lake is lovely and Earl wants to set up on top of the boat, in the open, so we won't miss anything.  I snuggle down in my new fleece jacket and feel so alive with the wind on my face.  It's chilly but exhilarating....and I am happy!
This is Beatrix Potter country. She loved the lake country and she bought several hundred acres to keep them from being developed and then on her death she donated them to the National Trust. It is extremely beautiful country.  Time for picture taking.  Being on the boat affords us a great opportunity to snap up the countryside. 
When we reach Ambleside the boat docks to take on and let off passengers so while it's sitting still we go downstairs to warm a bit and chat a little with other passengers.  I am so enjoying these people.  They will not initiate a conversation but if you speak to them they are more than happy to speak back.   And everyone is so helpful.  If you ask for directions they will go out of their way to help you.  Most of them want to know where you're from, how long you've been in the country, and why did you decided to visit.  They seem genuinely pleased that you picked their part of the world to experience.
Our boat docks back at Bowness and we walk back through the country lane to our car.  On the way we pass an old cemetery so we have to go in and walk around and read headstones.  In the United States we think a hundred years is a long time.  In the U.K. they think a hundred miles is a long way.
One morning when I was talking to the lady from Lockerbie she said when they visited America they noticed that everything was so new and there was so much space.  Compared to here, she's right.  This country is old.  And I must say it looks it.  Well weathered and well built.  These stone houses could stand for hundreds of years, and some of them have.    Some of the tombstones are so old and weathered the information on them is unreadable, but I do spot one going back to the seventeen hundreds...Whoa!!  .
 We are now back in the car and back on these winding, narrow, twisting roads, back to our hotel. The roads are very narrow, lots of hills and dips, absolutely no borders.  On one side you have just barely enough space to avoid the head on traffic and on the other side for much of the way you have stone walls, so close you could reach out and touch them.  It's a wild ride, that's for certain.  I had forgotten to bring the map we had drawn telling us how to get to Grange on the Sands, the town where we're staying, so I end up directing Earl all the way to Barrow...Big mistake.  We are totally turned around.  When we reach Barrow we decide to shop a little since we're there, so we find a really nice store and buy some junk food.  You heard me right!  Junk!  I'm having chocolate withdrawal and I really want a snack.  Back in the car we start out again for our hotel, but there are so many narrow country roads and very few road signs....To say we were turned around and lost would be an understatement.  But somehow or other, without help from me or a map, Earl gets us back to our hotel.  Did I mention he's my hero!


  1. What beautiful pictures! I'm so glad you started this blog so we can read more details about your adventure.

  2. So glad you guys had a great trip!!! You guys really needed a getaway! Glad to heave you back home..

    Your other son,