Hubby and I were thrilled to meet up with my cousin, his wife and daughter again. We hadn’t seen each other for eight years as they live in Singapore and we live in the UK. However, it felt like we had never been apart when we met up. It was wonderful to catch up with each other, and we felt blessed to have the three days we had together.
Our relatives arrived on Sunday evening and we decided to take them out for dinner. We had three restaurants in mind, but found one closed and two full. Then we recalled that a restaurant purporting to serve food from around the world had opened recently in Bowness-on-Windermere so we thought we would head there for a meal. It was the worst choice we could have made. The plates of food that arrived did not match their descriptions in the menu, and all of us were sorely disappointed with both the quality of the food and service. Hubby and I felt particularly frustrated because we had wanted to treat these relatives whom we had not seen in so long to a great meal. Instead, they and we had to put up with dull and unappetising food that bore no similarity to the hype in the menu.
I was more than determined thereafter to ensure that my cousin and his family would enjoy better fare the next time. We were unable to go out with our them on Monday as we had guests arriving. However, we closed off all our rooms to arrival on Tuesday so that we would be able to take them out touring after we had completed our housekeeping duties in the morning. Zack, of course, came along.
September has been a lovely month so far weather-wise and visibility has been great. Hubby and I took them to Cartmel, a cute little village that we had discovered sometime back which earlier this year, Chris Evans, a well-known radio personality, called ‘a thimble full of diamonds’. Our relatives loved the olde worlde character of the village and also the drive through country lanes to it from Bowness-on-Windermere.
Having almost ‘crossed’ over Lake Windermere, so to speak, we headed to Lakeside, where a 5-star hotel sits proudly on the banks of the lake. My cousin was feeling hunger pangs and wanted some sustenance. We sat at a table in the garden of the hotel with the lakeshore just yards from us and enjoyed a pleasant hour tucking into a traditional Lakeland afternoon tea.
From the hotel, we headed inland towards Esthwaite Water. This is where Hubby goes fishing sometimes, and it is one of the prettiest and most serene lakes I have seen. Our relatives loved the wilder nature of this lake – it was not as ‘manicured’ as the lakefront at Lakeside.
We had booked a dinner table in a restaurant at Skelwith Bridge for 7:45 pm. It was a restaurant we had patronised before and we thought that the family would enjoy it. However, another reason for booking this restaurant was its proximity to Tarn Hows – perhaps my favourite lake – which I really wanted to show the family. There is only one route to Tarn Hows – the scenic route; and it was during this run that the vehicle we were driving began to squeal alarmingly. Several prayers petitioning safe travel winged their way to God as I sat next to Hubby, wondering whether we were going to break down in the middle of nowhere!
Tarn Hows was as breathtakingly beautiful as ever. We walked the 1.8-mile footpath around the tarn and, for the first time, I was introduced to a selfie-stick when my cousin’s daughter took one out of her backpack in order to take a photo of us all with Tarn Hows in the background. What fun we had trying to position ourselves and Zack within the camera frame!
As the sun set upon Tarn Hows, we made our way to Skelwith Bridge for dinner. Three sumptuous courses and impeccable service partly banished the spectre of the worse than mediocre food and inept service we had experienced in the Bowness restaurant named after the 80-day journey undertaken by the fictional Phileas Fogg. All of us left the restaurant replete and well pleased with our day out together.
We said goodbye to our relatives yesterday when Hubby drove them to Windermere train station to catch an early train to Edinburgh. How I wish we had more time together! Eight years unseen – three days together – and it all added up to no more than a wink! This is a close cousin and the years seemed to melt away when we were together again. I only wish that we could see each other more frequently. Ah! If only . . .
Blenheim Lodge . . . panoramic Lake views, peace and tranquillity, nestled against acres of beautiful fields and woodlands, in the heart of the English Lake District National Park.’