Monday, August 16, 2010

In Which We Go to England: Part 5

Can you believe we're still here? We are! We're still here, doing things and seeing the sights, although maybe not at such an impressive pace as when we first arrived. Also, I have three blog posts in my head right now so if I pop up in your reader a lot over the next 24 hours, well, you're welcome.

I did want to mention one more thing about last week, specifically about Westminster Abbey because I don't think I gave it its due. It was very old and quite beautiful and lovely in its oldness. I made a point to touch lots of things, just to touch something old. Also, I had no idea that Elizabeth I (and Mary, and the other Mary) were buried there. As I was walking around with Jeremy Irons, I was thinking about how England, and the world in general, has been made what it is by so very, very, very many people. Lots of them we still remember, but there are so many more that we don't. But that doesn't mean they had no effect on the world. I mean, Stone Carver #10 at Westminster may not be remembered specifically, but the effects of his life are still standing. Anyway, what I'm saying in such a plodding fashion is that maybe Achilles made the wrong choice.*

So! (As Lawrence Olivier would say) Here we are. And here is what we have done! It was a lazy week and big weekend.
  • Tuesday night we made our first attempt to see Into the Woods at the open air theater in Regent's Park. It wound up never starting and being canceled because of some heavy rain, but it was a fun walk in the rain anyway. I do like the English rain.
  • Thursday night we went to H&M where I got my own posh hat. We may have also bought another posh hat for someone else...
Yeah, so...not much during the week. But then on Friday we took off to the Lake District! We were off on the train at 5:30 and arrived a little before 9 at Windermere. It was so nice to go speeding through the countryside and see the England that I have been seeing in my head and on my TV for all these years. There were sheep, trees, stone walls, fields and little houses. Charming!

We headed up to our sweet hotel, and settled right in. The next day we got up in time to get our included full English breakfast, which turned out to have many options. We settled on just the regular breakfast which included grilled tomatoes (mm) and mushrooms (mmm), as well as sausages and eggs. AND. Black pudding. We weren't sure what it was. So we ate it. Afterwards we did a little research to find out just what black pudding is. It's blood! Blood pudding! The most notorious of English foods! Look at the thing.
They look like super crispy, burnt breakfast sausages, but they're actually all soft and weird. I didn't really like it because it tasted like beans, and I didn't finish mine. Naturally Mr. Graham ate the whole thing. I'm glad I tried it, just for the trying, but I mean...really? Who thought of these things?

The rest of the day we spent walking. We walked up to the visitors center, then we walked back down and past the hotel to the actual Lake Windermere so we could catch the ferry to the other side. A little ways before the ferry there were a bunch touristy lake cruises and boat rides to the other side and they charged about 6 pounds. We rode the ferry for 50p each. Hah! Take that! It was my first ferry ride, and I thought about The Ring the whole time. Luckily there were no horses.
Anyway, so we found ourselves in the woods on the other side and set off for Hill Top, better known as one of Beatrix Potter's homes. Our trek went up hills and down hills, through the woods and across fields of sheep, and, just over two miles later, we arrived. The house was little and a bit musty, but it was fun to see some of her illustrations and how they were taken straight from the house.With that we headed back the way we came and said hello to the sheep again. We stopped at the lake again on our way back into town and let our feet get acquainted with the water.
Once in town we got ordered some Indian take away for dinner and got some locally-made ice cream while we waited. Maybe it was partly due to circumstances that made chocolate things taste better, but seriously, this ice cream ("Death by Chocolate") was the best thing I have had here. Maybe even the best ice cream I have ever had. It was so good that I got some more the next day. Hot diggity.The rest of the night was spent trudging back up the hills to the hotel with our Indian food before collapsing in front of the TV with our food and a couple of movies. Delicious!

The next day was pretty much like the first, except without the black pudding and Hill Top. Mr. Graham got porridge and a sugar waffle and I had the Cumberland ham (Ham for breakfast! What a country!). We walked down to the lake and sat with the water for a while, playing a game that Mr. Graham's dream created, then sitting on the grass, still playing that game, then finally walking back to town and finishing the game. We had fish and chips and some mushy peas that have me reconsidering my stance on split pea soup, and finished it up with more ice cream. A little while later we were back on the train and heading home.

Oh, I guess I forgot to mention why we went to the Lake District. Sunday was our first anniversary and we were celebrating! Huzzah for us and for our being married! We did have plans to be in Disneyland Paris this weekend, but due to circumstances that are best told not in a public venue, we were bound to England. It wasn't super French or Disney-ish, but there were many delights to be had, and we were just happy to be together (aww). One day, Disneyland Paris!

*Egads, that movie is awful.


  1. 1) Happy anniversary!

    2) Blood pudding. Just... no.

  2. Congrats again on your first anniversary! I'm jealous that you got to be somewhere cool for yours!

    I always imagined that blood pudding was probably just like a giant scab... but I'd totally try it just to say I did.

    Also, I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought that was a boring, lame movie. I am glad there are people who choose like Achilles, though; sure, the rest are essential, and that choice is nothing to be ashamed of, but this would be a boring world without at least some people choosing that sort of glory.

  3. Egads, that movie is awful!

    But I'm glad you got to go to the Lake District, even if it's nothing like Disneyland Paris would be. They're both cute and charming in a completely touristy way, (and in non-touristy ways, I'm sure), but I do have to concur that the Lake District's ice cream really is delicious. And ice cream always helps sway my vote.

  4. JEALIOUSSSSS! Those look like awesome times. The kind of awesome times your loser pregnant friends don't want to let you have in 5 days. Argh. FUN!

  5. Me and the Lake District are good friends. Last time I was over we did a couple of fun hikes there. Isn't it such a beautiful place?

  6. Julie, Granny loves Beatrice Potter! I have printed out this post so that she can read about your trip to her home. She will be thrilled! We hope you are enjoying your England experience (I think you are!) With love, Mike & Sidney

  7. Thank you for this nice post. In between tending triplets today I enjoyed learning a lot and seeing a bit of your lovely anniversary spot. We didn't make it to the Lake District when we were there.

  8. Is it weird that I'm kind of wanting some blood pudding right about now? Yes it is. It's not like I NEED some, but I wouldn't mind it on the side of some sausage, eggs and baked beans.