Saturday, 1 August 2009

Thirty two years and two days

Thanks for all the comments on the previous post. People say my husband is very patient.
I say he gets a lot of practice.
Thirty two years and two days have passed since we tied the knot.
We went away for a few days to my favourite place on earth so far...the Lake District.
How could you not love it? Even in the rain. Look at the colours in this wall. Click any of these pictures to enlarge them.


They even have a better class of Grafitti...this is the only grafitti we saw mind you.


We stayed in the best B&B I have ever stayed in but I'm not going to tell you where it is because its almost always full and I don't want to increase the competition. (It number 2 in the trip advisor list of B&Bs in Keswick if you really want to know.)

I was in heaven at breakfast time eating their home made granola on Greek yoghurt with honey and raspberry coulis.

They even left a bottle of wine and a card in the room for our anniversary.
Absolutely lovely.

The weather was not great but we only had one actual soaking on our way to the pub for a meal, we survived.
According the TV news, the campsite flooded and had to be evacuated. Its right on the side of the lake.

Obligatory gratuitous Herdwick shot.


We planned a trip on an Ullswater steamer.




We were going to get off halfway up the lake and walk to the top, but there was too much water in the lake and the jetty was mostly submerged, so we just had a round trip.
Watching the different ways people enjoy the lake was fun.
These sailing boats were pure Swallows and Amazons with beaming children in charge.



We walked up to Aira Force, more spectacular than ever with all the heavy rainfall .


Thursday was the annual Ambleside sports, not to be missed. A traditional event with a few modern touches..


set in the valley below high mountains.
What more scenic competition arena could there be?
Natural 'props' for the competitiors!
Fell runners disappeared over this mountain at intervals during the day, all ages, all classes, some much older than me and some considerably younger.

They all came back too.
The main race is 9 miles.

The most Traditional local event is Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling.
Men in tights...loose ones...and heavily embroidered velvet 'centrepieces' compete in unfathomable bouts of wrestling...best of three falls.

They begin with the traditional costume competition. The pants are embroidered by wives and girlfriends. I wanted to grab one and take a photograph of his 'embroidery' but they stayed in their own area. Besides , it might have been misconstrued.
Here are two of the best ones.(I'm talking pants here)


The one below won the embroidery competition and here he is weighing in for the bouts, which went on all afternoon. As far as I could tell weight was a big advantage, but technique played a very big part.

Once again all ages competed. This is how they start..the 'tek owd' ....apparently.(For southerners that means' Take hold')

There were two TV personalities there...Rory McGrath and Paddy McGuinness who were filming for their show about unusual British sports.

The wrestling went on all day, but at the same time there were fell runners starting off, cycle races, running races around the track and each event had a different commentator all talking over one another.
Just as the cycle race was about to begin, the next event was suddenly due
'The hounds must leave at a quarter to two', so the cyclists had to be held up.

This was the very best bit.
The hound trailing.
Earlier, someone ran over the mountain or fell with a rag soaked in aniseed and paraffin and left a trail for the dogs to follow.
Suddenly the dogs are brought into the arena...you hear them first howling and barking and yelping with excitement dying to be off.

Its serious stuff and there's big money to be made so the hounds are all marked with a colour to show they started the race in the arena.

This is a VERY short video of the start..I cut it off too quickly but you get the idea.I had no way of knowing the start of the race was imminent.



They disappear over the fell and there's nothing for a while.

About 45 minutes later the noise begins as the first hounds are spotted on the fell, through binoculars. The owners scream and whistle and shout for their dogs to encourage them to run faster and beat the rest, the dogs hurtle down the mountainside through bracken scattering sheep , and arrive in a flurry of excitement wagging everything they can and dive into their reward.



What a fun day out . Add to that the exciting prospect of getting your car bogged down in the field and its a day to remember.

(I have just found a video clip of the day which shows a bit of everything and gives you a taste of the hectic atmosphere if you want to have a better look here)

Followed by a posh meal out and then a walk around Tarn Hows just before dark. What bliss.
On Friday it was time to come home and we went via Grasmere. There was a wedding at the Church. A lovely setting.
(I didn't take this picture.My husband did)



Further on in Ambleside I was sent out with the F&B swatches to match this woodwork colour.


I can report it was exactly as I had guessed...'Blue Green'.

I hope you have managed to stay awake up to here. I am well aware that not everyone wants to read about Cumbrian holidays but this blog is also my diary so I hope you'll forgive me.

I came home to a pile of lovely comments and e-mails(JP I can't find a way to answer your comments) and an acceptance for 'Sparkle' Contemporary Craft and gourmet food fair in November in Teddington.
Exciting.
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