Tuesday 25 August 2020

Grace and elegance

Balmy scenes from the Lakes a week or so ago, when it was hot and glorious. Right now, as storm Francis rages, I imagine it's all looking a bit different. Very glad to have had such a good week there. 

Did I mention I went paddleboarding? In fact I didn't have a swimsuit with me, what with there not being any sea and me not imagining for a minute that it would be hot enough to swim in a lake. So I borrowed some swimming trunks and a t-shirt and strapped myself (tightly) into a life jacket and I was good to go. Actually, I only went because they (wisely) wouldn't let children out unaccompanied. Balancing on a board on top of freezing cold water isn't where you would generally expect to find me.

I concentrated really hard and did pretty well for a while. By 'pretty well' I mean I didn't fall off. But then there was a bit of swell and I lost focus and that was it, off I crashed in spectacular fashion. It took me a while to get back on. They'd shown us how to pull ourselves back on, but they'd neglected to explain what to do when the board flipped over on top of you when you tried to get on.

A gigantic pike (predator fish with ALL THE TEETH) was circling nearby as well, just to add to the tension. I sadly don't have any footage of me plummeting below the surface, but I do have a shot of me calmly drifting about the place.

I discovered that it was really relaxing to sit down and float about. In fact, you can lie on the board on your back and just bob gently up and down, which was far more my sort of thing. I was of course forced into racing and stuff and I may have fallen off again, I don't remember. At least it wasn't cold though. In fact, we were messing about in the lake because it was too hot to climb a mountain. 

We stayed in a lovely stone house, which was surprisingly hot inside. I always thought thick stone walls would stay cool. The stones had some gaps in them, which I think may have housed a bit of wildlife. One day I happened to be upstairs walking through my bedroom when I spotted a small snake slithering in the window and across the windowsill. UPSTAIRS! When I'd finished shrieking and managed to find a volunteer to capture it in a large Tupperware I calmed down slightly. It was a young grass snake, probably enjoying the warmth of the stone walls. Until it went inside and it all got noisy.

We released it into the grass and I went for a sit down with a cold flannel over my face. I made sure I shook my pyjamas out that night I can tell you. And looked under the bed, and in the cupboard and under the duvet. As a general rule, I'm not too shrieky and I'm all for lots of wild things roaming about the place, just not over me in the dark. 

Hoping all is well at your end. CJ xx


  1. I do love a bit of wildlife, but not a snake in such close proximity to the sleeping quarters. i have my limits.

    Paddleboarding looks like one of those things that I imagine is lovely, but that I'm not ever likely to do. In my old age, I've realized I greatly enjoy being BESIDE bodies of water, just not in or on them. Lots of people paddleboard on the river here but again, not my cup of tea....I have a terror of the Falls, you see...which are literally just downstream. *shudder*

    It really does look lovely there....idyllic, even. xo

  2. I love your glorious photos - such beautiful old architecture! Your little sojourn away looks and sounds really idyllic!
    I feel you are indeed brave to have gone paddle boarding amongst teethy pike because thats where I would not have joined in at all! The snake however made me giggle - I feel that you dont have any toxic snakes in the UK, is that right? Imagine here in Australia where most snakes are deadly venomous??? Thats when shrieking loudly is definitely called for!!!!! I hope you slept well that night regardless xx

  3. It sounds like a wonderful holiday. I thought sure I left a lengthy comment on you last post. I just went to see and it was not there. I hope you didn't have to delete it for some reason. Did you include a photo of the stone house you stayed in in this post? Sure was an amazing place. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

    1. Teresa, no, no deleting done by me, sorry your comment didn't show up. We stayed just along from the house in picture number 4, with the grey stone walls. Very pretty, and a lovely quiet spot. CJ xx

  4. You have me chortling with your paddle board antics; I’m not sure I could even stay upright for a minute. Your photos are lovely and I feel the heat seeping from them. Urg grass snakes indoors, not good. Not sure I would have slept at all .
    Bet you wish you could waft back to such a lovely place. Pretty windy here too :) B x

  5. I love the Lakes - it's so beautiful up there. Not so sure about the paddleboarding but any excuse to get into cool water! The pike element made me grimace: they are too shark-like for my liking!

  6. Well done on the paddleboarding, which looks and sounds like fun except for a circling pike. Snakes give me the heebie-jeebies so I would certainly have had a sleepless night.
    All's well here thanks. Take care. xx

  7. You have made me laugh with your paddle board and snake tales. I’ve always fancied paddle boarding and wrongly assumed it would be quite easy to stand up, which given my recent exploits of not being able to stand up on land is laughable. In my younger days I have tried windsurfing and water skiing and both are ridiculously hard to keep standing. I think I might have been a bit shrieky at a snake indoors. I recognised the bridge house in Ambleside

  8. At least it wasn't the Lock Ness Monster come for a visit. I think at the point you saw a snake I would have moved to a hotel. You look very graceful on the paddle board!

  9. I think being on the paddle board would freak me out mi than the snake! Glad that weather was kind, you chose the week well.

  10. I would love to paddle board, it is on my list of things to do when I have any time on my hands which might be ages from now. Sorry about the snake but the rest sounds wonderful.

  11. The Lake District is so beautiful, especially when the weather is good! I have fond memories of family holidays there. Though not so sure about paddle boarding or snakes in the house!

  12. Super mum Kudos to you! I have never done it before but imagine it requires a lot of concentration. Jo x