Just recovering from a long weekend in the Lake District, near Windermere: heavy-duty Beatrix Potter territory. Our special B & B (above is the view from the bedroom window)was at Near Sawrey, a bijoux village just above Windermere, where BP lived for a while at Hill Top Farm, now a National Trust property. She also, conveniently, owned the pub next door, Tower Bank Arms, which appears in Tales of Jemima Puddleduck.
However, the attraction for us wasn't the opportunity to stand in a queue for a chance to wander round her old home, but to stride out on the fells and hillsides in a Rufty-Tufty ( BP missed her chance to write about him ....) Alfred Wainwright kind of way. We went all prepared for Cumbrian weather - heavy boots, several layers of breathable clothing, waterproof trousers, rucksack groaning with Kendal Mint Cake, compass to guide us out of the low cloud on the summits.
So imagine our dismay when we looked out of the window on Saturday morning only to discover that the sun was splitting the paving. Not a cloud in the sky. But there was no putting us off sitting down to breakfast on the Full English, which had been justified on the grounds of sustaining us through the wind and rain which are the default weather conditions in the north west of England.
We had two walks planned for Saturday, both of them starting from the pretty little town of Ambleside. The first one was a gentle hike along the Coffin Road to Grasmere, passing by Wordsworth's homes Rydal Mount and Dove Cottage. The route is known as the Coffin Road, because the dear departed had to be carried from Ambleside to Grasmere to be buried. Richard wondered why they didn't just consecrate some ground at Ambleside, as it's a steep climb up out of the village. Grasmere provided some good beer and a hearty sandwich (the one we said we wouldn't need after such a big breakfast) and we rode the open-topped double-decker bus back to Ambleside for our second walk.
The afternoon treck was more strenuous, uphill for about 1.5 miles, to High Sweden Bridge where I dunked my feet in the cold water of the beck, under the disconcerted gaze of a local sheep and one of her offspring. Her other lamb was bleating impatiently in the adjacent field.
Climbing steeply out of the valley we reached the top of the ridge and the reward we had been eagerly anticipating: the panoramic view down over Ambleside, the sparkling waters of Windermere and Rydal Water.
So what's a 'three sausage walk'? It's a 90 minute climb up to High Sweden Bridge in the blazing sunshine, one that uses up all the calories consumed in a Full English Breakfast. With any luck.
V & A Quilts: Went to this wonderful exhibition yesterday and will report back in the next couple of days - stay tuned to this station!