What’s this? A mini trip report? Oh yes!!!
Our miniest of mini breaks to the Lakes was indeed lovely, and began last Thursday with us setting off just the usual five minutes later than I would ideally have liked to. We left Rebecca in her PJs awaiting her Grandma, with a list of things she must do and a longer list of things she shouldn’t do, mainly around the looking after of animals, and to some extent Grandma!
We don’t get away without the kids very often really, mainly as usually we enjoy being with them, so doing lots of things without them seems to work against that, plus they are getting to an age now where we have to bribe them to do stuff with us anyway, as we are just too old and square. However, this rarity did not stop us both feeling guilty for driving away from the house with an empty back seat!
The journey north was uneventful and just over an hour, and we only hit any traffic in Windermere itself as we queued to get through the silly one way system and then down the hill into Bowness. Parking was a bit of an issue, which is ridiculous, as you would think Bowness was a popular tourist spot, the weather was nice, and 90% of the country wasn’t in work!! Finally we find a slot, and dump the Mondeo and go for a wander.
As I was parking up I Foursquared the fact that we were in Lake Windermere (not actually in the Lake, but you know what I mean). This seemingly trivial piece of info will be relevant soon.
Things were looking pretty idyllic to be honest with blue skies and a sort of grey/green lake.
It will not overly surprise many of you that top of my list was food at this point as it was minutes past midday. We pass at least one eatery before I forcibly drag Louise into the Two Egg Cups Cafe, and after wasting vital seconds pondering where to sit, we do, and get to order. Soup and a sandwich for me, with just the latter for Louise. Red Wine for Louise, yes, at this early hour!!
Replenished, we start to browse some shops, only to be interrupted by a text from Paul, the former singer in my band (you know, the one in which I very nearly became a world-renowned pop star?) asking if we were still in Windermere. We were, and it turned out that he was too, with his family, and we arranged to meet up near Beatrix Potter…the attraction, not her rotting corpse! He’d seen my “check in” on Facebook it seems!
So we find a seat outside a pub opposite, get a drink and wait. We have a nice chat with Paul and his family for half an hour or so, and then make our separate ways to the rest of our days. The wonders of social networking eh?
The immediate rest of our day consists of shopping it seems, and Louise buys a new dress in Hen House, followed by some more browsing and awandering. I wish to draw a veil over the next few minutes as they involve a parking ticket, quite a lot of swearing and a promise never to darken Bowness’ doors again. Yes we were slightly late back to the car, but the signs saying it is free for 2 hours were small, and our lateness was not much bigger. The £25 I have paid the council will be the last pounds they ever get from me, and basing this on what we spent there that day, they have lost a fair bit. However, I was late, the signs were there, but I moaned anyway!
So as I drove away, seething, counting up the numerous other unfortunates along the road who were about to come back to a similar thank you for spending their hard-earned money in the Lakes, I tried my best to calm down and not let it spoil the day. Having spent a few hours down by the Lake we then drove up the hill and parked up in Winderemere itself (as opposed to Bowness) and looked at some more shops! We did also stop for a drink outside a lovely cafe in the sunshine, and I went mad and had a shandy too!
With the afternoon pushing on, we decided to head over to our hotel (or Inn) and get booked in and start to get ready for the important stuff, like eating. The place had grown since our last stay with some renovations and extensions taking place, but it still looks pretty idyllic and peaceful. Our room was large, airy and had lovely views out over open fields. I immediately take up position on the bed, and do what you’d expect when away with my wife, all alone, and that was to switch on the TV, whilst Louise got ready.
Two showers later, and one of us in a new dress and we make our way downstairs to our table. We were asked if we wanted to go straight to the table or have a drink first. I looked at the bloke incredulously wondering if he’d lost his mind. It had been hours since I last saw food, and there was to be no further delay.
I had a lovely starter, of Serrano ham, chorizo & boscaola olives with seasonal melon, manchego cheese with extra virgin olive, whilst Louise had Chicken liver parfait, pear & saffron chutney, toasted brioche. I only managed to get a photo of mine as Louise was busy shaking her head and tutting at the sadness of me in photographing my food.
Mains followed, and I had an 8oz rump steak, served with twice cooked chips, onion rings, field mushroom, tomato and sauce poivre (which is pepper sauce to me and you), whilst Louise had Lasagne. Louise had some Rioja, and I had some San Miguel, as I was on holiday after all.
At this stage I was full, but with a dessert menu thrust into my hand I had little choice but to choose one, and it was tricky as I wanted them all. In the end after asking the waitress just how large the Chocolate Mouse with Amarillo (I’m sure this was what they were called!) biscuits was I plumped for that. All dessert menus should quote volume and size in my view.
That was absolutely lovely too. So armed with the remains of the bottle of red, and some San Miguel, we headed for the beer garden. However, I don’t know if it was a sign of my old age, or a symptom of a full tummy, but I was freezing cold, and we retired to our room shortly afterwards to do what Louise had been looking forward to all day. That was to watch My Big Fat Royal Gypsy Wedding on the telly. With Louise fully satisfied we were asleep minutes after its climax. Night then!
So the next day dawns, and more showers happen, before we are tempted back to the restaurant for yet more food. All good intentions of having some fruit and a yoghurt are out of the window, and we both plump for a full English. It would indeed be rude not to. Full again, despite not really getting empty from last night, we check out and head out for the day. We paid £165 for bed, breakfast and evening meal, including the alcohol, which I thought was excellent value!
We have no concrete plans, and as soon as I can get a 3g signal we pull over and I use the Enjoy England app (my company built this one you know!!) and have a look at what is available. Louise fancies a castle, and so we then discover that the Lake District is pretty much short on castles, and the nearest one appears to be an hour away at Muncaster. No matter, have Mondeo will travel, and after a brief stop at a garden centre to get some drinks (and would you believe Louise suggested we share a Dime Bar Cheesecake, but I sensibly declined!) we set off.
The journey was fairly tortuous and windy (as in bendy, not full of flatulence, although there were moments….it must have been Louise’s lasgane) and where radio signal could be obtained we listened to bits of the wedding that was going on down south. With a short delay for sheep, and the most annoying Ford Focus driver known to man doing 28 mph in front of a three-mile queue of traffic, we finally got to our destination.
Muncaster Castle is a very good day out to be honest. First we had a look at the Owlerey (I’m sure that is a word), and then did the tour of the castle itself, which is lived in to this day. Both Louise and I love this history stuff, and are both fascinated by how things were in “the olden days”, so this was very enjoyable.
We grabbed some lunch, and did some souvenir shopping (presents for the girls to relieve some guilt), and picked up some Cream Fudge bars too. Good grief, the Chocolate Rum and Raisin was incredibly good. We both stood in the car park making foodgasm noises as we chewed. We thought briefly about nipping back to the shop to get some more before we left, but again sanity prevailed and we wandered back to the car.
The Sat Nav said it would be two and a bit hours to get home, but my superior driving skills took a good fifteen minutes off that, and we pulled up outside the house at 5pm. We were both knackered!!
We had a lovely break though, helped by the glorious weather of course and we must do it again and more often, if for no other reason than to get some more of that Chocolate Rum and Raisin fudge!
The evening is spent watching endless reruns of the same news story about the wedding, which seem to focus on Kate’s dress and her sister’s arse, and I see nothing wrong with that.
Till the next time…….