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Musings: to meditate, think, contemplate, deliberate, ponder, reflect, ruminate, reverie, daydream, introspection, dream, preoccupation, brood, cogitate.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Time to Head Home

Wednesday, May 16:  Our last morning in the Lake District.  We will catch the 11:45 bus to Windermere for the train back to Manchester.  Tomorrow we fly home.  The air this morning in Grasmere is cool and damp.  I hear birds cooing and calling and an occasional 'baaa'. . . .

I had Heidi's Lodge crumpets for breakfast.  Much better than our English Muffins back home. . . .

The sun finally made an appearance so we go for one last walk.  I wanted to see Allan Bank where William Wordsworth lived after Dove Cottage.   Interestingly, Canon Rawnsley bought Allan Bank in 1915 after he retired and lived there five years before his death in 1920. . . .
William and Mary would have two more children during the two years they lived here.  They moved again because the chimneys smoked so badly.  Unfortunately, their next house was even more problematic.  The Old Rectory across from St. Oswald's Church, which has since been torn down (but you can see it HERE), was cold and damp. Their two youngest children died while living there.  In 1813 they moved to Rydal Mount where he lived until his death in 1850.

The walk from Grasmere to Allan Bank was not long. . . .

Sheep were lolling about. . . .

Allan Bank is not kept as a museum solely about Wordsworth.  It had a fire a few years ago and is in transition concerning its use.   We did not plan to go inside so just enjoyed the surrounding area where Wordsworth would have walked. . . .

Looking down at the village of Grasmere. . . .

When we got back to Grasmere we had time to visit a few more shops.  I found this Bunting by Cath Kidston.  Here it is in my bedroom. . . .

Soon we were on the bus.  I sat in the back facing backwards so I could have one last view out the back window as we left Grasmere. . . .

I could imagine Wordsworth and his sister walking around the lake. . . .

When we got to Windermere we were told the trains were running a bit late and we should take the train that was arriving in a few minutes for Oxenholme to make sure we made our connection to Manchester so did not have time to see anything but the station. . . .

This is the part of the trip we made on the bus when we first arrived because of the train strike so I enjoyed the new scenery. . . .

I had time to get something to eat at the snack bar and sat on a bench on the platform.  This is a north-bound train that did not stop here.  I wanted you to hear how quiet the electric trains are. . . .

Here is ours arriving to take us to Manchester Airport.  The train we'd originally booked  to take us here was just arriving on the far track!  We would have had to make a mad dash through the tunnel to get to this side to make our train to Manchester. . . .

We came a day early because we had an early flight in the morning to Philadelphia.  We called the hotel from a special phone in the station to come pick us up at the curb. . . .

Etrop Grange Hotel is literally a hop jump, and a skip from the airport (½ mile) which made it very convenient for getting to the airport quickly in the morning but not convenient for sightseeing . . .

It had a lovely garden area, but because it's situated next door to the airport is not as serene as the photo depicts. . . .

The lobby area gave the Hotel an elegant feel. . . .

The original house was built in 1780 by a school teacher for his wife.  Over the centuries additions were added to turn it into what it is today. . . .

There were only a few rooms up these stairs in the oldest part of the house. . . .
I did not bother to take a photo of our room because it had no charm and smelled of bleach coming from the bathroom!  We'd arrived mid-afternoon and after our short walk around the outside of the Hotel we settled on watching our first TV in Britain but found mostly American programs on the stations we could get.

I had no complaints about the food, however.  It was delightful. . . .
Pan-fried Seabass Fillet with Bombay potatoes, Asian greens, warm chili, coconut and coriander dressing; Slow cooked Belly Pork with Grain mustard mash, braised red cabbage, thyme jus; Assiette of Ice-Creams and Sorbets; Pistachio & Cardamom Rice Pudding
Since there was nothing to do we went back to our room and watched Sleepless in Seattle because that was the only thing on TV that interested us--we enjoyed seeing the scenes in Baltimore where we'd be landing the next night!  Our son would pick us up and then we'd drive to another son's to get Gabriel, our Westie, and drive the hour home arriving before 9:00 p.m.

We'd walked 8,534 steps, 4.2 miles, 17 flights of stairs today.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Thursday, May 17:  The Hotel limousine drove us over to the airport after breakfast.   On our trip over American Airlines had to book us a British Airways flight to London, as you may recall, because the flight from Baltimore to Philadelphia had been delayed and we'd not make the connection to Manchester.  We'd had to rebook our train tickets because the available flight from London to Manchester was later in the day.  You can read about THAT misadventure HERE if you want the details.  We found the American Airlines plane to be a little roomier and the flight attendants to be more accommodating, however, not as quiet as the British Airways plane.  The meal of Curry Chicken was quite good.

We arrived in Philadelphia at 1:35 p.m., got through Customs, and found some rocking chairs in the terminal to rest our weary bones while we waited for the last leg of our journey home.  We were going to wait till 4:30 to get something to eat before our 5:45 flight when my cell phone dinged at 3:37 with a text message, then dinged again.  I told Ken--OH NO.  That's how the texts arrived telling us our flight from Baltimore to Philadelphia had been cancelled and booking us on another flight--only this time the rebooking would be for TOMORROW at 5:45!  We could WALK to Baltimore in that time!  To make a long story short the steps that Ken's fitbit logged at the end of the day tells it all:  9,449 steps, 4.5 miles, 2 flights of stairs.

After finding Customer Service, having to take the airport bus to a different terminal to collect our luggage which first had to be found, booking train tickets for Baltimore, taking a cab across Philadelphia to the train station where Ken is collecting the tickets. . . .

....we managed to make it home by 10:00 p.m. and be asleep in our own bed soon after 10:30.

We woke up the next morning feeling like we were still in England because everything looked so lush here.  We'd had the rain that England didn't have while we were there and my garden was bursting with new growth. . . .


The only thing missing were the SHEEP!  Gabriel, however, was a good stand-in.

Thank you for following along and commenting on my many posts about my time in England.  I hope it has helped to encourage you to make the effort to go see it for yourself--despite the travel headaches we had.  As it turned out that connecting flight on American Eagle the next day was cancelled, too.  Next time we are going to avoid connecting flights on regional airlines.

And lastly, be sure to check out this blog post by Sandra Hutchinson:   A Week in Beatrix Potter's Lake District in England  --  She was a part of Mandy Marshall's and Betsy Bray's tour of the Lake District that included Susan Branch's picnic.  The tour visited every place Ken and I went and more!


  1. The perfect end to your trip was the video of your OWN garden - with your own little white beast out there where he belongs. Everything so pretty and fresh. No wonder people still talk about the English lake country the way they do. I had expected to see more modern scenes of England but apparently there still isn't a lot of that in the Lake District. I'm glad. Let the future create new times in other places. The Lake District achieved perfection a hundred years ago and some very smart people preserved it at that point. Have thoroughly enjoyed your very educational and artistic retelling of your trip. You could give Rick Steves a run for his money any day, Cathy! 🌿

    1. Hi Janet! Much of England is in the 21st century, but there are pockets of quaintness still alive and well. This is why we did not care to visit London or even go into Manchester.

  2. I'm so sorry the story is at an end! I've enjoyed vicariously visiting the Lake District with you! A nice plus and cushioning of the sadness of leaving was coming home to your gorgeous home! Your Westie does make a good stand in for a sheep! Of course there is beauty everywhere, and if Beatrix taught me anything it is to open your eyes and see it, which a great many of her countrymen did not at that time.

    1. Well, Erin, you'll just have to start planning your own trip! It took us almost 50 years to get there, but we finally did it. But you are right--there is beauty everywhere and with the Internet now you can find it more easily. When we vacation here I pick an area that has the feature I'm looking for (water? mountains? hiking?) and look on-line for a quaint, cozy B&B or cabin to rent. If you ever go to Stowe, VT I know of the perfect cottage! And if the places I love most are too expensive for my budget I only go for 3 days instead of a week--that's better than staying in some mediocre place.

  3. I'm sorry to hear that you had so much trouble with the returning trip. Glad you made it home & sure bet that Gabriel was overjoyed to see you guys!

    1. Yes, Gabriel was very glad that we were home!

  4. All good things, as they say, must come to an end, but oh! what a good thing this has been, and I am sorry to see it come to an end. It's not only been magical seeing the Lake District, but I've soaked up all the great information, and shared every menu too! So sorry how you were thwarted at the end by 21st century travel gone wrong.

    1. Thanks for following along with my story, Deborah. I found I wasn't as upset about the travel problems coming back as I was coming home--I didn't have an itinerary to keep and we were close enough to home I knew we'd find a way to get home that night.

  5. Oh what an ending to a perfect trip! But you got home and I assume got Gabriel and saw your sons--and still in bed in decent time There's no place like home, but I'm sure you missed England for a time at least. Thanks for taking us along!

    1. Thanks for following along, Dotsie. We picked up Gabriel, but the grandkids had gone to bed so we didn't get to see them, which was a disappointment because we'd brought them gifts.

  6. Thank you for sharing your experience in the Lake District, Cathy. Years ago a flight attendant told us (after a harrowing experience) if you travel much you surely will run into glitches now and again. I try to keep this in mind when we travel. We usually feel the hiccups along the way are long forgotten and worth the trouble for what we are able to see and do once at our destination. ♥

    1. I agree, Martha Ellen, but my one and maybe only trip to Europe had trouble coming and going! We had car trouble going to one of Susan's book signings, too. Maybe that is the common denominator. 😊

  7. That looks a beautiful walk before you left the Lake District! I'm sorry your journey home was also not straight forward. Gabriel must have been delighted to see you! William Wordsworth also lived in Dorset with his sister before moving up to the Lake District. Sarah x

    1. Yes, I saw that in my research. I guess I'll have to visit Dorset one day, too!

  8. I understand the disappointment in missing your grandkids when you had gifts fresh from the trip. I tried to email you in response to your comment on my blog but whenever I do I get a message saying it can't be delivered, or something like that. In case you didn't get it, in answer to question about that tree painting that I love (unframed and sort of "in the rough"), I got it for $3 at a thrift shop.

  9. I've enjoyed your traveling from my kitchen table. (Your's and Marthas, too) I hope to walk these roads one day in the future on my own two feet. My hubby doesn't like traveling overseas, so my son and daughter in law and taking me to Britain next year. I will certainly be contacting you for your best advice!

  10. This is wonderful, exciting news, Jeri! I will be glad to give you any advice you seek.


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