Thank you for all your kind wishes on my retirement. The truth is that we would have been on holiday at this point in any year, so the reality of being without a job now has not yet sunk in.
We decided to spend a week in the little valley of Troutbeck, which leads out of Windermere towards Kirkstone Pass. This is classic Lakeland, allowing us to walk from the door on to serious hills. Our rented cottage was called Granary Cottage, and that is what it was: the end of a building with outside steps leading to the first floor living area and kitchen. All Lakeland farms would have had similar structures. Below was the bedroom and shower room, a less happy arrangement, as this may have been a root cellar or open cart store before conversion. Next door was this rather wonderful spinning gallery. Troutbeck is full of such survivals.
A view of Troutbeck strung out along its valley, and one of the fourteen wells serving different settlements.
From this base we walked up to Ill Bell, along a long high ridge. Although it was a cloudy day, the views stretched out to Blackpool Tower to the south and Great Gable and Scafell to the north-west.
Just below us lay the valley of Kentmere, where the reunion of my Great-grandfather's family took place some years ago. We strode down the valley, coming across a shepherd and his lad who had been gathering sheep from the fells for six hours that day, with another long day in prospect on the opposite valley side. The huge straggling flock had been brought down for the clipping.
Another day took us out across Windermere to Wray Castle, now awaiting development, but as what?
We walked down the lake shore, picking up a steamer at Bowness to come back up the lake.
After our week away, we returned to our own cottage on the Solway coast which was enjoying good weather for once. My husband wore his pedometer on our walks and, encouraged or misled by the "Calories used" section, we went out for tea at the Lodore Falls Hotel.
This is tea for one person - but we managed to clear the plate!