It was a shame to make a new friend just as we were leaving the cottage and there followed a brief argument as to whether to spend a beautiful day in one of Britain's most beautiful places, or whether we should drive immediately back to Newcastle in case someone broke into the car in Coniston village, that infamous den of thieves, and stole the Andrex and shampoo we were taking home. Luckily sense and my threat to sulk ALL DAY prevailed and we did a five mile walk to 'popular local beauty spot' Tarn Hows, the prettiest walk we've done all week.
As well as some stunning scenery, we saw a brown striped sheep, a teeny tiny frog (I went all city, "ew it's on my iPhone case"), a tempting prospect at Tom Gill waterfall and, blessed relief on a hot sunny day, an ice cream van.
I don't often go for strawberry ice cream, but as this was made with real fruit, I threw caution to the wind. There's just no stopping me sometimes. I might not be the only one of my schoolfriends for whom strawberry ice cream has the bitter tang of regret after Chloe, an excellent cook, once made us some fantastic strawberry ice cream at her house, then instead of giving us a second portion, made us go for a walk by the river. Twenty years on, this is still hotly lamented whenever we get together.
For lunch I had another cream tea ("hey, I'm still on holiday") and another ice cream (in your face, Chloe). This time it was Lakeland's Thunder and Lightning, vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and little melty bits of cinder toffee.
And that was that. All my attempts at prolonging the fun on the way home - can we stop at Grasmere for gingerbread? can we stop at Castlerigg to look at some stones? - were overridden and my mumbled protest 'Han would let me' held no sway.
Still, I love coming home. Round about Carlisle I start singing Paul Simon's Mother and Child Reunion as I anticipate seeing these furry little faces again. They might even have brought me a tasty treat...