Dec. 23rd, 2012

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Well, I'm back from my annual spiritual retreat/rejuvenation session in the Lake District.

Do I feel refreshed?  Er, no.  Do I feel rejuvenated?  Absolutely not. 

This is nothing to do with the Lakes. Or with the Lancrigg Vegetarian Country House Hotel, which was its usual self. The food was awesome, the hospitality wonderful, the scenery (when it could actually be seen!) spectacular.

But alas, the nasty, pernicious horrid little bug I went down with last week has lingered, and my style has been well and truly cramped.  I managed to stagger around my usual 10 mile circuit which runs Grasmere-Ambleside-Rydal-Grasmere - you will note, however, that if it hadn't been for the massive brick of Victoria sponge which adorned my plate at the Rattle Gill cafe in Ambleside, I'd have opted for the bus.  Every time the gradient went up, I wheezed and puffed and wound up collapsing into paroxyms of coughing.  So much so, that the Coffin Route shall henceforth be known as the 'Coughin' Route' - though there were times when I wondered if I'd end up in a coffin myself before the end.

And then there was the carol concert at Allan Bank...

The weather was pretty dire, but the rain stopped for one day out of the four, and this morning, we actually saw the sun! 

All things considered, we had a lovely break, and I'd much rather have felt ill in the Lake District than felt ill at home. The only source of major disappointment came in the form of the Grasmere Chocolate Studio.  We visited them on Thursday evening, bought some yummy chocolates, and pledged to return over the weekend to buy new stocks once the next batch of handmade goodies came in. We were assured that they'd be open on Saturday, but to my dismay, the place was locked shut (with the mail waiting there to be picked up) all the way through Saturday and right through into Sunday.  My 'raspberry ripple' and 'very berry' chocolates which I'd requested were there on the shelf, waiting to be purchased (and eaten!) and there they must remain, because I'm home now.

Ah, the perils of frequenting the small business.  What's more perturbing is the possibility that they're closed because of family illness or disaster - fingers crossed that they'll be back to normal in February when we next return, because they're a damned good chocolatiers and they're usually really hard workers staying open all hours. All was not lost - we popped into Rheged on the way home and discovered another chocolatier which provided sufficient decent chocolates to fill the void.  And some fudge for J's Christmas present, too.  So at least that's the last of my Christmas shopping sorted.

Though we still need to get some sprouts from somewhere. And chestnuts. And veggie bacon...

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