February 2009 / 131 images

The Alternative Adventures by the River Bank or The Boot is on the other foot

where Laurie actually took the correct pair of boots, Annie put the wrong pair in the van, Val mislaid hers and Lucy left her boots behind!!!!


Whilst most early arrivers managed to find the same pub, Lucy arrived at the house first and was the sole recipient of the kitchen lecture before we all turned up to find Daisy had already passed appropriate comment on the ‘keep it all clean’ rules by throwing up in a substantial manner, not only over the dining room carpet, but also over the lounge carpet and one of the settees. The squire was promptly told off for wearing ‘outdoor footwear’ (no matter how spotless) inside the house. There followed a detailed conducted H & S  tour of the house with such essential information as ‘this pull switch MUST be pulled to allow the shower to work’ and, after a guessing game of ‘can you tell anything different about this bath???’ ‘this antique bath has no overflow so......’.

Much carrying of ‘stuff’ in, then unpacking ensued followed by frantic activity in the kitchen which allows dinner to be served at a very reasonable time – albeit with the pasta a bit cold in the middle!!

The passageway between the kitchen & kitchen is narrow so we decided to serve onto the plates in the kitchen to avoid everybody milling around in confined areas (H & S considerations). This worked fine until some bright spark requested a ‘bit of everything’ which many others immediately copied throwing an otherwise organised service into somewhat of temporary disarray.

Stimulating and intellectual conversation accompanied the modest (?) liquid refreshments until the wee small hours.


Some took the train, others a walk. The lesson from the train trip is the passengers in the un-covered carriages found this very chilly, those inside did not. Ravenglass was found to be not even a ½ horse town. The walk tested Laurie’s waterproofs which proved unequal to the challenge of total immersion in to river.

A quieter later afternoon led to another excellent meal then a quieter evening during which the larger scrabble version divided opinion between more chances or prolonging the game too much.


Those who took the train ride just had to try to prove the others wrong but again only succeeded in reinforcing the scientific fact that in Winter, outside tends to be colder than inside. Those who walked to the Roman fort enjoyed a good walk (except for a deviation from described route after only 100m to end up on the ‘wrong’ side of the river away from the good path). Last bit steep and when we arrived, the fort must have been closed because there were no Romans there at all.

Another super evening meal was followed by Hillary’s pantomime which seemed to have far more actors than spectators but was appreciated as a resounding success although may not be nominated for any awards this year.


Another walk by some to Eel Tarn. After much discussion, the leader was eventually persuaded to take the correct path and remained on the right path for some time. This may be due to the double walls, one on each side. As soon as one of these finished, the opportunity to choose the wrong path was seized with glee and the front part of the group set off up a rather inhospitable route – the others took the correct path resulting in some fragmentation of the group. Those from the last group arrived first at the tarn then had to send out search persons to find the others. The others arrived in dribs & drabs then had to search for the original search persons. After a considerable time, all finally congregated. After much discussion again, the correct path was eventually identified – helped by the big white crosses painted on stones along the route. As soon as the path round the corner was reached, another wrong path was chosen leading to a difficult boulder-strewn section but all arrived back safely to find the first pub shut but the second one open. In retrospect, it was fortuitous that the original plan to go to pub 3 did not materialise because it was shut. Instruments were brought for an hour or two of tune playing.

Hillary & Keith called on their way home to say a sad farewell for another year & left with good wishes ringing in their ears.

The evening meal was below the standard set by previous chefs, mainly due to the squire’s involvement.

The evening went with a bang as we played giant Jenga.


Again many walks in different directions. Val volunteered to drive in search of provisions and a wireless LAN connection. The first premises seen were not chosen so the next hour or two was spent visiting several other pubs on the return to establish that the original pub was the only connection  that worked.

One walk was up to Blea Tarn where Annie found towards the end of the descent that she had lost her mobile phone. Everybody retraced their steps for quite a long way until George had a good idea to search Annie & found the phone in her back pocket. Whether this search was Annie’s original intent is still not clear but George then had the misfortune to fall in a rather muddy patch not once, but twice in the space of only a few seconds. Luckily no bodily harm resulted.

Dinner was a mixture of left-overs from previous meals followed by pancakes, wine, whisky, reminiscences the ghost stories.


Most people went walking yet again – you would think that’s what everybody came to the Lake District for!!! One walk was delayed slightly by the arrival of cross-legged Barbara. A very sunny afternoon, we ended in Wasdale Head chatting to sheep. Chris & Laure went to Whitehaven & gave a very positive account.

Everybody did their own thing for dinner then at approximately practice time, the small hot air balloon was launched after not a little difficulty, to commemorate Hilary & Keith’s departure into the big blue yonder.

Another intense intellectual debate continued throughout the rest of the evening.


Chris & Laurie continued with their fitness drive by walking to the roman fort – but again nobody was home so they walked home. Kevin, Brenda, Val & Barbara decided to follow in Chris & Laurie’s footsteps to Whitehaven and found it indeed a nice place, then on to St Bees, then Egremont which established that there were no ‘good’ pubs to be found anywhere so a snack on the street was the only option.

Early evening was a tidy-up, packing then out for the final meal.

Meal was really nice – but everybody forgot cameras so the squire selflessly volunteered to endure the rain, gales, sleet, snow, icebergs, hurricanes etc to return to the house to retrieve a camera. Quite some time later (one person actually accused the squire a dallying for a quick G&T before the return!!) the camera was produced. During this evening, one member inadvertently revealed more than a touch of OCD by insisting the flower vase and mat on an adjacent table be adjusted to a specific position. Later that evening during a discussion about this, it became apparent the almost everybody had a similar obsession with some form of trivial occurrence. Mmmmmmmmmm, could this be an issue with morris dancers?


All ready early, departure uneventful to close yet another super Flagcrackers event