Lake District, UK – September 2007

Day 7 – the final push

Friday 7th September

Daddy was handling the morning routine today. Mummy was enjoying another relaxing start to the day with a few more blissful minutes in bed. I’ve had fun trying to keep the kids entertained and occupied whilst making and eating breakfast, tidying up and getting ready for another fun-packed day on the road.

The morning was punctuated by several changes of fortune as a specific job offer that I’d been waiting for was offered, then fell through, was reprieved and fell through again. I got tired of the ups and downs and decided the best thing was to put the whole thing aside and concentrate on the fact that we were on holiday. We might not have much of it left but we were going to enjoy it whilst it lasted nonetheless.

First up for the day’s entertainment was a trip to Stott Bobbin Mill, where we would enjoy a guided tour of a working bobbin mill that was completely frozen in time. At it’s peak, Stott Bobbin Mill churned out a quarter of a million little wooden bobbins in a single week. The entire mill looked like the workers had stopped working and left for the day just minutes before, when in actual fact the mill shut down it’s steam engine driven machinery some thirty or so years earlier. It wasn’t particularly captivating for the children, however. I’m not quite sure what sort of sixth sense the kids have but putting them in a setting where half a dozen or more people are listening intently to what the guide has to say just seems to trigger their ‘I must now make noise and become a general nuisance’ centre of their brains. We both pulled out all our best tricks to try to keep them quite but they were having none of it – until the guided tour finished and we went outside, that is. Oh well, at least we came out with a small handful of freshly turned wooden bobbins as a nice little souvenir of our visit there.

Kid-logistics aside, we quite enjoyed the Stott Bobbin Mill but had next planned on visiting Muncaster Castle. After learning that it would be roughly an hour’s drive, however, Sandy decided that an abrupt change of plan was needed and we settled on visiting the much closer tourist town of Bowness-on-Windermere instead. Windermere is the epicentre of the tourist trail throughout the Lake District. Even though it was late season, there were still quite a few people swarming around. I shudder to think what the place would look like at the height of the summer season. The town itself is extremely picturesque. The centre of life there is the sleepy harbour where boat trips across the gentle waters of Lake Windermere depart every few minutes laden with tourists. We’re not particularly keen on following the tourist herd generally but since we were here in the Lake District anyway, we felt it might be worth coming home having been able to say that we actually strayed out onto one of the lakes. Our forty-five minute jaunt around the South end of the lake set up back about £15 altogether and was, I thought, a reasonable price to pay. The kids seemed to love the trip on the water, although trying to keep them within arms reach was starting to become more of a challenge towards the tail end of the trip.

By around four in the afternoon, we decided to head back towards Glenridding. The hotel across the street was having yet another wedding function so we strayed up the hill to one of the pubs in town that has a fantastic view out over lake Ullswater. The pub food was, well, pub food but the atmosphere was lovely. Actually, who am I kidding, the view of the long shadows slowly cast by the surrounding mountains was nice but the atmosphere was punctuated by two toddlers intent on paying attention only to their ‘I must now make noise and become a general nuisance’ centres of their brains. How embarrassing for their parents. Some parents just can’t keep their kids under control!

Back at the cottage, we did our best to pack what we could ahead of our departure in the morning for the South. A form requesting feedback about the cottage gave me amble opportunity to put into words exactly what I felt was both good and bad about the place. It was actually quite therapeutic putting it all down in writing. With an entire week now behind us, I felt a sense of some achievement that the only thing we managed to destroy was a paper lampshade. Joey had pulled the lamp over within hours of entering the property, after which we quickly stashed away anything else that looked remotely breakable or that wasn’t nailed down or chained to an immovable object.

All in all, we had a wonderful holiday in the Lake District. We added another dozen or so more to our quite substantial list of visited historic sites and managed to spend some truly quality time together as a family. At this age, the kids have very little idea of where they are and would probably have had just as much fun playing in the back garden if truth were told but we enjoyed ourselves knowing that they had fun nevertheless. I’ll probably spend much of my time over the course of the year pondering where to take the family next. In the meantime, we can sit back and relish in the memories that the Cumbria Lake District have added to our growing mountain.

PS: We never did hear back about that broken lampshade.