Two weeks ago, working on our allotment, I ricked my back pretty badly. We had collected nine bags of FYM, and while my husband barrowed them down to the plot, I upended each one to spread on the onion patch. Somewhere during this process I wrenched a muscle in my lower back. After I had sat for any length of time, I simply could not straighten up. It was the kind of thing where you find out what being eighty-five will be like, and also realise how close that day now is.
All the more tiresome as we had booked a week in a cottage near Ambleside, for some extended walking before the weather closes in.
However.... After a week I realised that a dose of ibuprofen first thing settled the pain, and then it was sitting, not walking, which caused problems.
We began by lunching at Blackwell, on Lake Windermere. A party of older people were visiting. One lady sat in that glorious white drawing-room, with its unrivalled views, and commented on how unjust it was that some had money to spend on holiday homes like this in 1900, while others did not know where their next meal was coming from. This is certainly true, but not what most visitors think while there. Most of us would just like to live there ourselves.
The next day took us to Brantwood, home of John Ruskin, overlooking Lake Coniston. On the lake, the steam gondola plies its trade, very Edwardian - but, in fact, Coniston is most known for its use by the Campbells for the speed records in "Bluebird" - and that terrible crash.
Brantwood is another house with fabulous mountain views, this time of the Old Man of Coniston.
And, up behind the house, acres of garden.
Later, the weather having cleared, we walked around Tarn Hows,
On the way, we noticed this odd fallen tree-trunk. These are not bark-scales but coins, wedged into the cracks in the wood. We saw several like this on this trip, something we have never come across before.