Thursday, 30 June 2011

Cake over Coniston

It's still warm and sunny in the Lakes so I have felt compelled to do some country walks and spent £2.25 on "Five Easy Walks Around Coniston". My rules on country walking are simple:

1) Invite a man along so he can carry the rucksack (Fitz spotted this ruse immediately)
2) Always kiss at a kissing gate. If you don't know the other person very well, a formal handshake is acceptable
3) There MUST be a tea room during or at the end of the walk. Or both.

Yesterday's five mile walk on the western shores of Lake Coniston ended happily enough with a maple and walnut Lakeland ice cream, a lovely ice cream only available in the North West. Every time my dad visits Morecambe, he buys me a two litre tub and drives home as directly as possible. 

Today's walk was a whopping seven miles on the eastern shores of the Lake, so a proper tea room was in order. We stopped at Brantwood for tea and cake; I had coffee cake and Fitz, who only two days ago was pooh-poohing cake yet is now in love with chocolate tiffin, had chocolate tiffin.

Brantwood was the home of John Ruskin and is now a museum, but Fitz refused to look around on the grounds that it would be boring. So all I know about John Ruskin is what I learned this week from Caitlin Moran's chapter on tidying the lady garden in her book "How to be a Woman", which I am thoroughly enjoying: "In the 21st century, modern boys watching hardcore pornography are now as panicked by pubic hair as Victorian art critic John Ruskin apparently was, in 1848, when he was so alarmed at the sight of his new wife's pubic hair that he refused to ever consummate the marriage". I bet they don't mention that in his Lakeside museum.

The Lakes are always beautiful but the sunshine has made them even more so. It's also allowed me to rock the sundress & walking boots look, which all the cool kids will soon be copying. 
There were a couple of mysteries on the walk, like this sleeping cat ornament in the middle of a wood. I think it was a Roman-style tombstone for a pet who'd gone to the big catbasket in the sky, but it had been too painful to inscribe hic situs est Mr Fluffy.

And why had someone neatly carved this message onto an abandoned piece of wood?
More pressingly, work where? And what kind of cake is it? I will never know.

In the evening we had another treat available only in the North West - a trip to Booth's supermarket. I love nebbing around supermarkets, especially abroad, to look at all the lovely food. I came back to Tethera cottage with a box of violet creams for the old lady hiding inside me, and a bar of Galaxy Bubbles, which is like Aero but much nicer.

My Aunt Kate (Kate being one of the few permitted names in our family) emailed me today to ask if I knew what Tethera meant. I didn't, even though the other two cottages here are called Yan and Tyan which together with a rudimentary knowledge of philology, should have given me a clue. Yan, tyan and tethera are of course 'one, two and three' in the dialect used by shepherds across the UK for counting. I looked this up on Wikipedia and was DELIGHTED to find the word for 15 in this Brythonic Celtic language is bumfit. Bumfit. I am going to use it more often in conversation.

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