Last week there was an unaccounted for silence on the usually clockwork blog post front. This was due to the fact that finally, after a solid month of work and quitting the real job entirely, we got ourselves a little holiday. We managed to squeeze it in between Stratford River Festival and a busy weekend of unspeakably hot weather, during which we discovered that it can be too hot to eat.

The Jabberwocky, buried beneath the crowds at Stratford River FestivalThe River Festival was one of our favourite events last year, conveniently within grumbling distance for the Beast and close enough to home that we could pack up and leave whenever it became prudent to do so. This year, thanks to the weather figuring itself out, it was our best day of trading yet so far. Record-smashing, eye-watering and one to tell the bored and dispassionate grand-kids about. The Sunday suffered a little from the Andy Murray Effect, whereby his presence and subsequent victory in the Wimbledon final meant that most of the country was hunkered down in front of the telly, not eating toasties.

Still, excellent sporting results aside it was an amazing weekend, and we had earned ourselves a break directly after. Originally we had planned to head to the Lake District on Sunday night after getting back from Stratford. This, we realised on Sunday night as we lay on the sofa in a knackered silence instead of driving north, was not going to happen.

So we set off bright and early on Monday morning, right after rush hour, because now we are masters of our own schedules we have far better things to do than sit in traffic. The drive was quick, as those outside rush hour tend to be, right up until just after the Liverpool junction, when Maggie, our more-reliable-than-the-hated-Stilo-car, made a slightly odd noise, had a bit of a temperature, and then died at the roadside.

Our Rover, broken down beside the M6

The M6 and a broken down Rover. Not during rush hour.

The head gasket had blown.

Luckily, due to the Jabberwocky Policy of no fewer than 3 breakdowns per year, we have lots of AA coverage, so they picked us up, relayed us home, and 8 hours after our departure we were back in Leamington.

The van, the Rover and the AA
Luggage was thrown into Stevo the Stilo, and we tried again. He got us there with no further issues, proving that cars are actually out to win your approval, and that the more you dislike them, the harder they try. Maggie, poor loved Rover with actual air-conditioning and a comfortable ride, simply had no reason not to break down.

Safely delivered to the Lakes we had two whole days of holiday, all of it gloriously not-raining, which is the best possible weather one can have that far north. Indeed it was so not raining we even swam in lakes and enjoyed outdoor dining. The climax was Barny’s Birthday pressie from his parents: dinner at the Samling – a dinky-but-expensive hotel with views over Windermere and a lovely waitress who actually had a personality, which is depressingly rare for fine dining. The food was beautifully executed if slightly over-seasoned, with some courses you really had to be there for. Although I wouldn’t take it over nearby food masterpiece L’Enclume, it was still a pretty amazing meal.

Barny eyeing the percolated turbot soup.
There is something about the Lake District that I have always loved, ever since Barny and I spent a week there right after we first met. Bathe all that in sunshine and the broken car didn’t even matter, because a week later, even after it being too hot to eat, I’m still happy.

Beacon Tarn in the sunshine

Beacon Tarn, Coordinates 54.3048, -3.11432 (a walk long enough to justify a large picnic and a lazy afternoon).