20081021_A wander around Grasmere in the Rain
When : 21st October 2008
Who : Me and Sister Janet
Where : Lake District, Cumbria, England
Maps : 1:25000 Outdoor Leisure Map no.7, The English Lakes – South East
Parking : Car Parks in the village.
Public Transport : Yes, Grasmere is on a main Bus route through the Lake District.
Summary : What to do, waiting for the rain to clear.
Yes, I know; it was near the end of October in the great English Lake District, what else could we have expected! Well, it would have been nice to wake up to some blue sky, it has been known on occasion.
The forecast had said an improvement was on its way, so we got ready for our planned Elterwater walk and ate another excellent and hearty breakfast in the hostel restaurant. However, the weather was still absolutely horrid when we checked out leading us to half-think about calling it a day and a drive straight home.
Instead, we elected to give it a bit of extra time for it to cheer up and decided to have a wander down to Grasmere village; primarily to honour a promise to take some “Grasmere Gingerbread” home to my good lady wife … she’d put in a special request as we left home a couple of days earlier.
The Gingerbread from the world famous “Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread Shop” is absolutely delicious and like nothing else I’ve seen or tasted anywhere else. I thoroughly recommend it. The tiny shop is positioned in a corner, on a bend in the road, next to St. Oswald’s Churchyard, where William Wordsworth is buried. In the summer when hundreds of tourists throng the village the queues can stretch some distance. Although in the rain, shortly after their 9:15 opening time we were the only ones there.
Apparently, there’s been a dispute in the village (about the use of Grasmere Gingerbread as a trade mark) between different outlets and recipes. It’s resulted in a restaurateur ending his own life. It was reported in the Daily Mail last month [17th Jan’ 2009] … which even if you try to cut through newspaper reporting style, makes for a very sad story and a poor commentary on 21st century business life.
It’s virtually impossible to walk past every gear shop without invisible forces pulling you in.
I very nearly bought a new winter hat, but in the end managed to resist spending any money (tight-wad you might say) which is so easy in these places.
Next stop was a wander around the Heaton Cooper Studio (Art Gallery), positioned just opposite the green in the village centre. The Heaton Coopers are very well known and respected for their Lake-land paintings. The gallery doesn’t really seem to have changed for decades now … still it always draws me in, and they must have found a winning formula. Its position in the village centre must help, but the paintings [and prints] are superb.
I was reluctant to enter one of the other shops we passed, as it just looked like a touristy trinket shop, of little interest to me, so I headed into the CO-OP just down the street as I needed some batteries for my camera. On returning to find my sister, she’d disappeared inside the shop. She’d seen a few jig-saw puzzles in the window, and as she enjoys making them, she headed in the see what they had in-store.
Well, there weren’t just a few, there were loads and the stairs to the upper floor promised more. Once up the steps we were amazed … Hundreds of boxes certainly, thousands maybe, of all shapes, sizes and styles covering a plethora of subjects. They were literally piled high, one on top of the other, from floor to almost ceiling. So many, they formed their own narrow passageways between them, a real treasure trove. Janet decided she’d like a mid-sized jig-saw with a horsey subject, and after a good old peruse and a struggle to get a box or two from the middle of the piles, she settled on a puzzle and we descended the stairs to make the purchase. Amazing what you come across when you least expect it. Turns out from their web-site, they claim to have the largest selection in the country, and I have no reason to doubt it after being in their emporium.
During our wander around, the rain did seem to ease a little and we thought we’d glimpsed a touch of brightness in the distance … or was it just wishful thinking? …
Anyway, despite there being much more to see (More shops; art gallery’s; quaint corners; tea shops; the garden centre, St. Oswald’s Church; The Wordsworth family graves; and farther out, Dove Cottage, plus several Pubs and Restaurants, etc.,), we decided to head back to the car and set off for our walk, even though it was still raining ! After-all, that’s what we were there for … and we aren’t made of sugar, so we weren’t going to melt!
Because of the horrible condition, I didn’t take any pic’s (except for one of the Youth Hostel), which kind of made it a tad difficult to illustrate my blog … so using the power of the world wide inter-web, and in particular the Flickr site http://www.flickr.com/explore/ , I found some pic’s in Coodge’s photo-stream http://www.flickr.com/photos/coodge/sets/72157607156747101/, and he’s kindly allowed me to “borrow” some images (12 in all). Coodge’s pics were taken Aug/Sept. a couple of months earlier than my visit and as such the vegetation seen is a little greener and less autumnal than my visit, but give an accurate representation of the predominantly slate built village and I think they fit fairly well with my words …. Thank-you Coodge, much appreciated.
I hope you enjoyed my scribblings ….