Books, Buses and Big Hills

Despite making an effort to stay up later and fight my jet lag with all my heart, I woke up at 4am. With nothing better to do I turned the television on quietly and there was a cooking show where a woman demonstrated how to make risotto in a Bundt tin and I don’t think I’ve ever experienced this level of cognitive dissonance sober.


Breakfast wasn’t until 8 but I went down early anyway and the lovely lady in the kitchen was happy to accomodate me with a perfect plate of traditional English breakfast fare, which I think every will agree, is one of the best ways to start the day.

Much better than risotto Bundt. No grilled tomato or black pudding and I’m not apologising.

There were two men at another table having their breakfast just after I finished mine. We got chatting and it turned out they were on their way to Scotland to pick up medical supplies for people in Ukraine. They were retired and had started an organisation in the New Forest to provide aid. A doctor in Scotland had things to donate so they were driving north to collect the stuff then drive to Ukraine to deliver everything. This was the tenth time they had made the trip!

They were both very good humoured about it and clearly loved what they were doing. I suggested golf would be an easier way to get out of the house and they laughed, saying their wives were happy to see them go;-). People are so interesting, no matter who I talk to I learn something surprising!

Although the weather had improved slightly I wasn’t keen on walking too far so I inquired about the possibility of a bus to Penrith, assuming there would be at least a few each day. No, actually there was one… a week! But it went today! No one at the pub knew precisely when it went so I walked up to the shop and asked there. No one at the shop had ever caught the bus but they pointed me to the sign next to the bus shelter and it turned out I had a bit over an hour before the bus left and it would give me two hours in Penrith before doing the return trip. This was all very exciting and I promised to report back upon my return. Time for a few photos of daffodils before it arrived.

I arrived at the bus stop early and was joined by a man and then a woman and we had a good chat about how high property prices are, the scourge of Airbnb rentals and how terrible the weather was. Then a woman (Kay) pulled up in her car as she knew the lady (June) and asked if all of us would like a lift into a Penrith. I was a bit torn because I’d been looking forward to catching this mysterious once-a-week bus, but I also didn’t 100% trust it to turn up so I said yes to the lift.

The bus stop contains some cushions and a box of books. If you leave a donation it goes towards the pool.

It turned out to be quite an interesting ride – June runs the local OUTDOOR pool, however it’s not open for a couple more weeks. When it’s open it’s heated to 29 degrees! I am so sad that I can’t go, I’m definitely putting it on my list of things to do on my next visit.

We were dropped off in Penrith, with many thanks to Kay, and I arranged to meet June at Morrisons at 1:15pm. I had a short list of things I needed, which I managed to buy in the first 15 minutes so then I was free to wander around town.

Penrith has some charming laneways but this photo makes it look kind of derelict.. but it isn’t, I promise!

I had a walk around, bought two op shop books then realised I’d already read one of them so I left it in the bus stop box in Askham before I left. I took a few photos of some buildings around town too.

I had a cup of coffee in a cafe that seemed entirely filled with very noisy elderly people who either all knew each other or just like talking loudly to strangers (right up my alley, obviously) and the vibe was great.

Highly recommended!

The only other thing I did in town was look at the museum, which was small but had many interesting things. I particularly liked the Roman coins and this quiver and arrows.

I wandered up to Morrisons in time to meet June and then catch the bus back. June was probably in her late fifties but everyone else on the bus was definitely on their second set of teeth. They were talking about a young couple in the village who were very nice and then after a bit someone remarked that the couple in question were in their sixties 😂.

Then one of the ladies said a friend of her had written a book and everyone wanted to know what it was about and she said very loudly ‘Sex!’ and everyone laughed and wanted to know more but she claimed she hadn’t actually read it. By this time June and I, up the back of the bus, were almost crying we were laughing so hard.

When we got off she asked what I thought and I said it was the most entertaining bus ride I’d had in a long time!

When I got back to the Punchbowl it was a bit early to be propping up the bar so I took a walk to the other end of the village. I saw a church yard with some very old tombstones and lots more daffodils.

Beautiful but also kind of creepy.

Further on I walked over the river and then saw Lowther castle in the distance. Jet lag has really been an issue in the afternoons so I turned back after a short walk.

I had mentally prepared myself for a quiet evening as the previous night had been so enjoyable, chatting to so many people had really filled my tank in terms of social interactions, and the chances of having two great evenings in a row seemed unlikely, however it turned out that the second night at the Punchbowl was even better than the first.

Lakeland beers

I ended up chatting to the bar staff but also meeting a local, David, who is an author. He has one book published but is working on his next book, which is part of a three book deal, which I thought was very impressive!

I wish I’d got a photo together as we got on so well. We talked about poetry, art, music, film, travel – everything! It was so lovely to meet someone so interesting. I gave him the blog address so if you’re reading this, David, leave a message!

Being a bit more of a homebody than myself, he was very concerned at my laissez faire approach to my travels (I had no idea where I was staying the following night) but if you’re reading this I’d like to reassure you things worked out ok although I did nearly kill myself climbing over a very precarious stile!

Whew! Congratulations to anyone who slogged through this enormous post. It was all very fascinating to me but maybe not everyone is interested in the joys of regional bus services and swathes of daffodils😂. Good news, in the next post I actually do some hiking!

Some grape hyacinths for variety;-)

2 thoughts on “Books, Buses and Big Hills

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s