Mick's been using up some of his holiday from work before it expires at the end of this month. He's had all week off so we decided we'd have a little break away from home in the Lake District, somewhere neither of us have ever visited before, even though it's not all that far away from where we live.
We set off on Tuesday morning, not too early, and arrived in Windermere around lunch time. Our first view of Lake Windermere, stunning. The scenery in the Lake District is just beautiful.
We parked the car and set off to walk down by the lake. It's 10.5 miles long, a mile wide and 220 feet deep making it the largest natural lake in England. We were lucky with the weather for although it was rather chilly, it was a beautifully sunny day. We'd wondered about taking a boat trip but it was still a little too cold for that.
Afterwards we went into Ambleside, one of the Lake District's small towns, to have a wander round. I was glad that we stumbled upon Bridge House, a two roomed building originally used to store apples for nearby Ambleside Hall, as I have a Lilliput Lane ornament of this building. It's said that at one time, a family with six children lived here. It was built over Stock Beck to avoid land tax and is now owned by the National Trust.
The time was now getting on so we drove to our quaint sixteenth century inn where we'd booked to stay for two nights. In all honesty, it wasn't the best place we've ever stayed but it was comfortable enough. The room was on the small side but the food was adequate, the cooked breakfast was included and we also had a meal there on that first night.
Wednesday was another lovely day, still cold but bright. We decided on a trip to Grasmere, a pretty village popular with tourists, and the home of William Wordsworth.
Grasmere is surrounded by spectacular fells and we saw lots of walkers passing through the village.
There's plenty for tourists here, shops, pubs and cafes, and I expected it to be much busier than it was, in fact, I expected the Lake District in general to be far busier than we saw it and can only imagine that it wasn't so because we were there midweek, out of season. I'm sure it gets far more crowded during the summer months.
William Wordsworth (7 April 1770 - 23 April 1850) was an English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English Literature. He lived in Grasmere and is buried in the churchyard of St Oswald's Church in Grasmere.
He's buried alongside his wife Mary, their children, Dora, Catherine and Thomas, his sister Dorothy, and other family members.
By the side of St Oswald's Church is the Wordsworth Daffodil Garden.
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
This piece of land had become neglected and overgrown but now, through sponsorship, it provides much needed funds for the ongoing maintenance of the church.
The path is made up of 3000 engraved stones which have been sponsored by the public. It was amazing when we realised what we were walking on, Mick looked down and immediately saw a stone engraved with the names of a family who live near us, though we don't know them.
It's a lovely garden, very tranquil and perfect for quiet contemplation.
Of course, it was perfect that we were visiting when the daffodils were blooming, it made it all the more special somehow.
No visit to Grasmere would be complete if we didn't pop into Sarah Nelson's Grasmere Gingerbread shop.
"No-one knows when exactly but sometime in the winter of 1854 Sarah perfected a recipe for a new spice-sweet sensation that she named simply Grasmere Gingerbread.
Neither a biscuit nor a cake, but somewhere in between, no-one had ever tasted anything quite like it before! Sarah began selling slices of Grasmere Gingerbread wrapped in parchment to villagers and tourists outside her neat home."
I'd been told not to miss out so we did queue and buy some gingerbread to taste for ourselves and I can confirm that it's quite delicious. We brought some home with us.
We'd spent quite a bit of time in Grasmere so we called into a cafe for refreshments. Archie caught up with forty winks underneath the table, he's such a good boy. We do have to be careful how far we walk Archie and how long we keep him out for these days as he tires easily, he'll be thirteen in a couple of months, though he still does very well for his age.
Snow had been forecast for Thursday in various parts of the country but we woke again to a bright day. We'd hoped to spend some more time exploring before we set off home but the Met Office had put Leeds on an amber warning and the forecast showed heavy snow from 9am on Thursday through to 9am today so we thought we'd better head off straight after breakfast. Well, just look at the roads as we headed into Leeds, hardly anything there, and they call this heavy snow. In hindsight, we could have stayed all day as the little snow that was falling actually stopped and the roads were still clear when I went to bed last night. More snow has fallen overnight though and we now have a decent coverage. I'm not sure how long it will last as it's stopped snowing now and the forecast is for a sunny afternoon with temperatures rising to twelve degrees on Sunday.
Apart from a night spent in a hotel when Eleanor got married last October, this is our first time away from home since 2018 for one reason or another. It was a lovely getaway, even if it was just for a couple of days.