Sunday – Well fed and watered we got the bus to Dove Cottage. It’s an open topped bus – but we fared better than I remember last time, as the rain kept off at least as we drove past Rydal Water and Grasmere. I don’t remember a lot about the environs of Dove Cottage from last time. I remembered the kitchen, and the cold pantry from inside. There is quite a built up shop and exhibition space, which may have been there but I don’t really remember at all. Funny really. The guide was interesting / interested – always a bonus I think, and ready to answer questions. We wandered in the back garden, taking photos and admiring the view out to Grasmere and beyond. Trying to airbrush out the other buildings to see what it would have been like in Wordsworth’s day.
Voices over loudhalers, and bagpipes in the distance drew us towards Grasmere village. There was a Lakeland Sports and Life show on, but the entrance fee was too steep to warrant going in without knowing what awaited us. I always think those kind of fees are short sighted. I’m the type of person who will spend a fortune on food and drink and random stuff in an event – but I don’t like to pay up front without knowing if it will be worth my while. But I suppose enough do, for them to be able to do without my custom. If it’s going to charity, or particular causes – then it needs to be in big letters. Then I’ll probably be prepared to pay, but not if I don’t know it.
We carried on to the village, in search of a pub for food, refreshment, and most importantly – relief of the most basic kind. Pubs weren’t too easy to locate, they seemed all disguised as hotels or bistros etc. But we ended up in Tweedie’s Bar, on the side of the Dale Lodge Hotel, which served a good range of ales, and did a fantastic Roast Rib of Beef. Yorkshire puds were good, if not quite up to Yorkshire standards – but at least they didn’t seem to be Aunt Bessie’s. I tell you, Aunt Bessie would be in the bloody freezer if she tried servinge me those little concrete turds. Which is odd, as the only Bessie there ever was in my family was my grandma’s dog, a mini dachsund type of thing – and even cooking artifical yorkshire puddings would have been a talent worth showcasing from her, I suppose. No. Tweedie’s Yorkshires I think had simply been sat a little too long. But the Beef was revelatory. Utterly delicious, well cooked and well marbled.
The bus timetable revealled that there was meant to be another good pub, just outside of town – so we went a-hunting. Not being quite sure where the edge of town was being taken from, we followed the road through Grasmere back up to the main road, (Where the Swan Hotel sits on the T junction), and then turned left and carried on a while. It was fair windy and wild by this time, but even walking by a road in the Lake District is pretty, so we persevered and found the Traveller’s rest. Which was indeed, a nice pub. I go in search of these nice, real ale pubs. I don’t know why – as I don’t drink ale, and invariably end up with the same Stella or vodka wherever I go. But the boys seem to like it. We played a bit of pool, before heading back out and down to the bus shelter outside the Swan. (There was a bus stop nearer, but we weren’t quite sure on the times, and we got hit by a squally rain shower, so a bit of shelter was welcome) Back on the bus with our £6.50 day riders, we were carried back to Ambleside, with only a moderate bit of traffic to delay us.
Mark and Jamie went to watch the last half of the football (yes, the 8-2 debacle) while Helen and I went for a drink in the Salutation, and then we went to an Indian restaurant – which was ok, but very 70s. I was a little perturbed by the people on the next table – Middle aged man, young blonde woman. I hope my imaginings of a flashy car outside, and wife and kids somewhere at home were wrong, but there was a definite mid-life crisis vibe coming from them.