Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Lake District

From the stillness of Ullswater to the craggy peaks of ScaFell Pike, the Lakes are a wonder to behold. You can keep your Swiss Alps, your New Zealand ranges, and your K2 expeditions. The Lakes has it all... or at least enough of it.

Admittedly, it was a knackering break (as in a week away, I didn't actually break anything), but well worth it for the photos. Even if climbing to the highest peak in England pitched us into chill winds you only get at 978 metres above sea level.

My calves were like the twisted remains of a fan belt, the rubber all knotted and hot, but at least there were great big Fell Walker dinners to be eaten.

And it was at our local pub where we felt the most welcome. Of our three visits to the Lakes, this trip included the best meal at the Horse and Farrier - the second year, it having been closed - and whilst we'd read bad press from previous visitors to the holiday cottage, we decided to ignore suggestions of "rudeness" and check it out for ourselves.

The new owners are a down to earth couple that you might suggest are eccentric, rather than rude - no airs and graces, only blunt reality.

Unfortunately there wasn't any soup - what are the chances of 26 bowls of soup being slurped and gulped down in one day in a village whose local inhabitants probably extend to 10?

We got a real sense that this pair were running everything from front of bar to kitchen, since, there was the occasional moment when I caught a flapping motion in the corner of my eye, and there at the far end of the restaurant area (it being closed for refurbishment), the barman/chef was waving a towel.

"He's, er, waving again," I advised his wife.

"Won't he ever stop,' she replied, sidling past to find out what he was after.

"What you need is a pair of CB radios."

"Ooh, we did for a while, but the ghost likes to use them too!"

Later, after my sister-in-law had failed to complete a yard of cumberland sausage the barlady recounted a tale of side-splitting gluttony.

"Fit to burst," replied Lucy.

"Funny you should say that," said the barlady, collecting the plates like stepping-stones along her arm. "When we first opened up and set the sausage challenge we had a lady come in with a friend. They'd been Fell walking most of the day and wanted something hearty to finish them off."

"Did they manage the whole yard?" I asked.

"Yes, they managed a yard each. And the friend wanted desert. But while I was clearing away their plates, the lady asked me for an ambulance. She said it wasn't really anything to worry about but that she'd had her stomach removed a couple of weeks ago and she could feel that she'd burst her replacement bag."

"How do you forget something like that!" I said. "That's something to advertise: Can you beat the Stomach-rip challenge!"

"I've decided to wait until we burst another," replied the barman.


esruel said...

Erm, which animal did that in the plate?

R1X said...

A Cooooooooow. Or do you mean to mashed potato?