From Buttermere we needed to get to Cambridge, which is pretty much at the opposite end of the country.
This would mean a bus, a bus, three trains and possibly a bus, so we decided to split the journey over two days.
This option became even more enticing when we found a relatively reasonable room rate for Cragwood, a hotel that is part of the same group as Merewood, where Mum and I first stayed on our last big trip. It was one of the loveliest hotels I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting, so finding out we could stay in the affiliated hotel, which is just over the road, was a no-brainer.
But first we had to catch the bus to Keswick.
A visit to the laundromat was in order. After four days without a washing machine we were in no state to swan about a fancy house pretending we belonged there.
Seven pounds just for a single load! Ouch. Still, it did mean visiting my favourite clematis, which grows right outside.
The washing and drying took about an hour so we had time afterwards for a quick visit to Mrs F’s cafe for a last bowl of soup.
Luke was treated to the full Mrs F’s experience, with the lady who owns the place talking non stop to us and an American couple from the moment we entered until the moment we left.
She even remembered me from my visits a month ago, which was lovely.
The cafe is decorated in the style of her nan’s house.
Now that we were relatively clean and presentable it was back to the bus interchange. We found a park bench as we’d missed the last bus by only a couple of minutes. Fortunately we made a new friend to keep us entertained. A boxador!
Then we made another friend on the bus.
The bank holiday traffic flowing the other way was a slow and steady stream – we were making our escape at the right time!
The bus stop was right outside Cragwood, which was handy. Not too far to carry my bag, which has grown heavier and heavier with new clothes, gifts, and even a chopping board that was given to me by the lady at the Booths cheese counter.
First stop was our room, which had a window seat that was bigger than my bed in our previous accommodation.
I think our bed was bigger than the room we slept in at the cottage. After a bath and getting into our newly-washed clothes, we headed out to look around.
The grounds were lovely, with a perfect striped lawn looking out over Windermere.
The gardens were full of rhododendrons in flower.
We got a drink from the bar and went to sit in the shade.
We had booked dinner at 7pm but when we walked in there were two women with two small children, both of whom were playing with phones that had the volume up. I don’t judge or care if people give children devices in restaurants to keep them settled, but having one, let alone two, with the volume up is so irritating that I asked if we could come back at 8pm. Fortunately they weren’t busy and didn’t mind.
We were glad we asked to change because we ended up enjoying a peaceful and delicious meal and talking to one of the waiters. He was from Valencia and had moved to the Lake District many years ago.
I had mackerel then chicken, Luke had pigeon then pork. We both had desserts and the only problem I had was the same one we’d had throughout the Lake District – not enough icecream with the sticky toffee pudding.
After dinner our waiter gave us a little sample of Kendal mint liquor, which tasted just like after dinner mints but in liquid form. Very nice but a lurid colour.
We took our last glass of wine out to the terrace.
Tomorrow is a long day of travel but I’m looking forward to seeing Andrew, his new house and his corgi, Winston!