Thursday, 3 September 2015

Lake District Road Trip

We bought a car, woohoo! Though I realize the photo above is of a sailboat not a car... getting to that. It's a pretty big deal since we've not had a car for almost 6 years, and with two children, I'm amazed we made it that long without one. Granted our neighborhood has just about everything we need on our doorstep: butcher, baker, candlestick maker (not really that last one but I couldn't resist adding it because I'm a goof), fishmonger, wine shop, school, doctor, playgrounds, parks, all of these things within a 15 minute walk and a few of them a one minute walk, just around the corner really. We order our bulky groceries online (laundry soap, paper towels--you know, the boring stuff) and the rest we get locally, so that part of life without a car is pretty easy for us. Sometimes, though, it's been a royal pain! I have been reduced to tears on more than one occasion, standing at a bus stop in the freezing rain with two equally wet, freezing children and thought, this is nuts! We'll still take the bus to many places, but I'm really happy we finally decided to buy a car. It will make some short trips in the neighborhood easier, like picking up a very tired Lois from playdates after school rather than having to practically drag her home walking. And it means more road trips! We usually rent a car when we want to take a road trip, but that gets really expensive and is a bit of a hassle. Gotta go get the car, do the paperwork, pay the deposit, hear the sales pitch about insurance and whatnot, install the carseats each time, etc. I'm still not completely comfortable driving on the other side of the car and road, but I'm getting there. So, for our first road trip, we decided to go to the Lake District.

The drive would normally take about 6 hours from our house, but because we went on a bank holiday weekend, it took about 8 to get there with traffic. It didn't really feel that long and our girls were pretty good most of the way. We stayed at Bank Ground Farm, which was great. When we arrived it was dusk but just light enough to see how beautiful it is there. Bank Ground Farm is on Lake Coniston with a stunning view of the lake, mountains and countryside. We stayed in the B&B there but they also have self catered cottages. Our preference is self catering since that's more fun and less stressful with the girls, but because we booked this trip a bit late in the season, that was what was left. The B&B was very relaxed and comfortable and the food was amazing. If you decide to stay there, definitely plan a meal there. Same for the afternoon tea--their cakes are some of the best I've had.
We had a bit of rain but some beautiful blue skies part of the time as well. We went on a little hike, walked some footpaths through the countryside, hired a row boat and went to Brantwood, the former home of John Ruskin. The little piles of black in the photo below are cows. I was thinking I should mention that because I'm not sure that is obvious! 
Lois and Ellie think fairies live in moss, so they are often carefully inspecting moss on rocks. It's really cute. 
Lois and Ellie had a blast on the farm, running around like wild half the time. Lois says we need a much bigger garden! I wouldn't mind that either. 
We often leave our Canon at home during holidays because it's just so big and heavy and I always wish I had all our lenses with us when we do take it. But we decided to bring it with us on this trip since we weren't trying to pack light as we often do when we go by train. I was happy to get a few good photos of the girls this time around. 
I decided not to bring the Canon in the row boat though for fear it might get wet, but I snapped a few with my phone. I have a lifeproof case, so I don't worry about it getting wet. Kind of pricey but worth it if you plan to take it near water, sand, or if you simply have kids! 
Of course we were in full parent mode, trying to do things like keep the girls from running up and down the B&B stairs like wild screeching monkeys and telling them for the umpteenth time they couldn't jump on the beds there, but we enjoyed some plenty wine and sunset time as well. 
We never made it into the actual house at Brantwood because we spent so much time in the gardens, 3 hours actually. I didn't expect the girls to be interested for quite that long, but the gardens were incredible. The girls loved exploring the paths, the streams and they always enjoy an activity trail for kids, which was part of the fun for them there. 
I got a little carried away taking photos of flowers. There were so many amazing plants and flowers in the gardens at Brantwood, and, well, it's just fun to take pictures of flowers!
Even though we were there for four days, we didn't get to see or do nearly as much as we would have liked. It would have been great to see the other lakes and do more hiking, but that will have to wait until Lois and Ellie are a bit older. We had fun in any case as you can probably tell from the photo below. What kid doesn't like a countryside walk trying to dodge huge piles of cow poo? I've never heard so much giggling and squealing. 
But now it's back to school! Back to school means more time to do things like scrub the freezer clean, which I did today (lots more house orgainzing stuff like that on my list) and sewing, yay. I've got a pile of patterns on the sewing table that I'm excited to start!

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