Day 4: 14.09.20 – It all happened in a flash…..!
Updated: Oct 2
Aiming to set off at 5am in order to get to the other side of Birmingham by 8am and miss the rush hour traffic, Maice, Marvin and SatNav Steve appeared outside my place at 4.50am. The car was loaded up, we took the obligatory ‘selfie’ and off we went, driving into the very misty dawn morning at precisely 5.01am, the car pointing northward bound for the Lake District. What adventures await us we thought as we listened to Vanessa Feltz on the radio, singing, or should I say ’warbling‘ along with gusto to all the popular tunes. Well, here’s a potted history of todays events, which goes like this………
Flash bang wallop we’ve got a ticket.........a speeding ticket 50 mins in to our road trip, at Henlade. Can you believe it? Maice was driving, it was still dark, it was still very misty and we were chatting and singing away when all of a sudden there was a succession of flashes. Well I thought it was an ambulance coming up behind us and was waiting for Maice to pull over but she soon declared we’d been zapped by a speed camera. How could that be? Where was the sign to say we were now in a 30mph zone? Neither of us had noticed one? Was there one? We could only summise that the sign was shrouded by the early morning fog and mist and of course it was still dark. Yes, we’d put in an appeal when we get home, advising them of the circumstances surrounding our supposed speeding!
As we were deliberating being ‘flashed at’ into this, the first hour of our road trip, a white cat appeared from the hedgerow with an aim to make a kamikaze sprint across the dual carriageway. Thankfully it decided against this decision and shot back into the undergrowth, but left us with our hearts still pounding. Who knows how many lives it’s going to use up today if its aim is to get to the other side of the road!!
We continued on, still discussing the flashing incident when suddenly, there before us was a very large roundabout with lots of lanes. We’d obviously missed the signs telling us which lane we should be in for the M5 North? With cars behind us, Maice had to edge the car from the inside lane over at least three lanes so we would end up on the M5 going northwards rather than southwards, which could so easily have happened. Okay, come on M&A, if we’re aiming to get to the Lake District today we need to pay more attention!!!!!
The car was well packed up. The boot was chockablock with bags, jackets, hats and food. The back seat was also chockablock with bags, jackets, hats and food. We’d decided to pack for all weather eventualities, particularly when we’re in Scotland and we’ve even, as advised by the Scottish contingent, packed our hot water bottles. Our ‘Covid secure bag’ was sitting in the back seat under the watchful eye of Marvin, who, I must say was looking very fetching in his new facemask. Maices mum had previously enquired as to what was stored in our ‘Covid secure bag’, wondering if they could be purchased online. Maybe they could, but this was our special ‘road trip’ Covid secure bag containing, in no particular order…..tissues, anti-bacterial wipes, plastic gloves, spare facemasks, hand sanitizer, first aid kit, Swiss Army knife, mosquito bands, antiseptic and antibacterial cream, moist toilet tissue wipes (just in case) and two obligatory cans of Gin & Tonics, courtesy of Jane! Yes, we were well prepared to fight off any virus were it to dare come our way!
We were hoping to witness a beautiful sunrise as we drove along the M5 but it was still very misty so we stopped off at Gloucester services for a coffee and wee stop. Sitting in, we caught up with all our correspondence and paperwork and updated the ‘spreadsheet’ with the unforeseen cost of the speeding fine. We googled it to see what it would cost but we were none the wiser as there were so many costs to consider that we’ve taken the worst case scenario and increased the budget by £200! So, now we’re going to have to try and claw back £200 from the rest of our trip and make some savings in other areas. Honestly, it’s a right malaver!
Back on the motorway, where we religiously stuck to the 50, 60 and 70 mile speed limits we came across a giraffe stood on top of a lorry and two dead ducks on the hard shoulder, most unusual we thought. We wondered if they, like the one that had been caputured on film last week travelling 60 miles down the motorway had started a trend, unfortunately, in this case with dire consequences. Cat’s they are not, so seems they only have one lifeline. They were a couple, so at least they went together, poor things.
Driving out of Birmingham we were hit by the most awful stench that filled the air which was ten times worse than any muckspreading smell we’ve even smelt. This smell was wafting its way into the car and up into our delicate nostrils, omg it was so disgusting. We had to close all windows and don our facemasks to keep the smell out. If only we had a smell-a-blog facility…..you would have smelt the same.
We stopped off at the next service station to top up with petrol, have another wee and enjoy a sandwich from our very large picnic hamper containing all the snacks for our journey. We sat with Marvin on a picnic bench where he ‘struck a pose’, modelling his new facemask. It must be noted......he seems to have the same colour hair as me!
Our next ‘brief’ stop was Carnforth station where the classic weepy, Brief Encounter was filmed. It took Maice about four attempts to select a suitable parking space in the empty car park and by the time we’d parked up and checked the tariff, she’d driven to the twenty minute waiting zone for the fifth and final time! £4 they wanted for four hours parking, with no alternative for fewer hours. Well, we were only intending to be there for less than an hour and of course be had to claw back the speeding fine so money was tight, hence why we decided to limit ourselves to the ‘free’ twenty minute waiting zone and conduct a ‘brief’ tour of the station. It was a lovely little station staffed by volunteers of the silver haired variety and very nice and helpful they were too. We zoomed around there in extra quick time, our eye kept firmly on the time, careful not to overrun the twenty minutes…… we didn’t want to get a parking ticket to add to our already expanding budget. We arrived back at the car with a minute to spare. Phew, that was close! We offered up a £2 donation, not much we know, but it’s all the money we had, because like the queen, we don’t carry cash anymore.
Leaving Carnforth we sat in a traffic jam and watched an articulated lorry trying to manoeuvre itself around a hairpin bend and up a hill. It was very entertaining watching the driver’s every move while he negotiated the bend, a very tricky manoeuvre, so we’ll definitely give a massive 👏👏👏👏 for his efforts.
The time according to the clock in the car is 12:42 precisely……beep beep beep and we have now entered Cumbria. Cause for celebration we think 🎊🎉! And guess where we’re headed? To the gorgeous, quaint, beautiful little village of, wait for it……..Cartmel! Of course my family have the added ‘l’ on the name (don’t know when, how or where that came from) but my dad’s side of the family are from these parts, Grange over Sands, to be precise, which is just down the road from Cartmel. Also renowned for its famous ‘sticky toffee pudding’. I have to say, rather than driving along the A6 as the road atlas directed us to, we relied on the very reserved Australian chappie manning the iPhone Maps App who directed us cross country, where we had to negotiate some very narrow roads and lanes. I was trying to sync the atlas and his instructions to establish where we were but he was taking all us over the place. We eventually arrived at Cartmel, parked at the racecourse and immediately went in search of a café for a well earned cappuccino, crumpets and toasted tea cakes before walking around Cartmel Priory and a quick tour of the village. Before we left we decided to open up the picnic hamper and enjoyed some soggy cheese sandwiches, crisps, sundried tomatoes and dried apricots. Yes, we certainly know how to picnic!
Back in the car it was time to introduce our mate, SatNav Steve who was extremely eager to be back on the dashboard. He’d been furloughed for far too long and we did miss him, his Australian dulcet tone and his wit. So, g’day mate, great to have you back! Of course it didn’t take long for him to get back on form, being cheeky and telling us where to go. Oh, how we love him xx
We soon found ourselves driving along Lake Windermere, finding a lay-by to take some panoramic photos. How we’d love to see a couple of fighter jets fly up through the lake, ah, if only. Well, imagine our surprise when a small plane, pretending to be a fighter plane flew up the middle of the lake. Ok, it wasn’t quite the same, but still impressive. We drove through the town of Windermere and were surprised at just how busy it was. It was packed, with people milling everywhere. Note to selves……keep clear if we want to remain sane!
We weren’t far from our final destination, Crookabeck Farm. We found ourselves along a very narrow unmade road where SatNav Steve told us we had arrived at our destination which was on our left. Well, on our left was a field of sheep! As we weren’t camping, I set off on foot to the nearest house to ask directions. The woman I spoke to could tell we didn’t have a clue where we were and pointed us in the right direction…….’continue on down the lane and the farm is at the end‘.
And here we are, after a long and eventful day of travelling and sightseeing we have arrived. This is our home for the next two nights. We asked Adam, the owner, if we could chill our bottle of wine in the freezer for half an hour and when it was nicely chilled we sat outside, poured ourselves a crisp glass of white Pinot Grigio and watched the sun starting to set. To top it all, and as if on cue, two fighter jets flew down the valley......it doesn‘t come better than that! Ah, don’t you just love being on holiday………..!
M&A, Marvin and SatNav Steve xxxx