Not getting away

This has to be the dullest set of photos I have posted in my entire five years of blogging. In another world, this would be a post about a few pleasant days in the Lake District...but the fates were against us. Two hours after booking a pod at a
nice camp site in Boot, Eskdale, a gunman went on a shooting rampage in that area of Cumbria (as many people reading this will know; it seems to have been covered globally). He eventually shot himself in the very village we were headed for. Devastating for the poor families and communities and our little problems pale into insignificance by comparison.

Ignoring this very bad omen, we packed our rucksacks anyway. Our landlord finally sorted out a new washing machine (after several years of our old one flooding the kitchen) and wanted to fit it while we were away - he rang to let us know just as we were getting ready to leave and everything came to a halt while we cleared our tiny kitchen so that the plumber could get in. We set off. The weather forecast was set to rain and storm all week. It rained on us, off and on, for nearly four hours of biking against a cold wind.

Past Birmingham the bike began grinding. We stopped a couple of times while Andy WD40'd the back wheel. It got worse. We drove slowly and - I think - illegally along the hard shoulder of the motorway, turning off into a souless hotel on the edge of Warrington. We weren't going anywhere except home. The AA insisted on sending out a repair van - just in case. It took him an hour to arrive and then as we expected, he had to ring a recovery van. Which would take two hours to arrive.

We waited in that grim car park - no shops or pub in sight - until 5.15. I took a nap on the tarmac, being blessed with the ability to sleep pretty much anywhere. When the AA recovery did arrive, he cheerfully announced that he'd only be able to take us some way home, as he was coming to the end of his shift. But he was a nice man and as soon as we arrived at his stop point, another AA truck pulled in and we switched over. By now it was about 8.00pm and we had had enough.

We finally got home at ten. At least there was a keg of home brew ready; we needed it. I am trying to look on the bright side of it all and have been playing
Polyanna's 'Glad Game'.
1) I'm glad we weren't victims of a mad gunman.
2) I'm glad we didn't actually crash the bike on the motorway.
3) I'm glad we managed to get through it with a fair amount of humour and Dunkirk spirit.
4) I'm glad we at least returned to our dear little scruffy, falling down cottage in the Cotswolds, not some ghastly graffiti strewn tower block on the edge of a city.
5) I'm actually sincerely glad that the holiday DID fall through, as there have been a few problems with my present job which needed sorting out and would have been worse to deal with next week.
6) So despite being dragged reluctantly back to my studio, I'm glad to have had the extra days to work, even though I am still desperately tired.
7) I'm very glad have a spiffy new washing machine which could probably fly us to the Moon if we asked it nicely.
I am not glad that I didn't have the chance to send postcards of the scenic Lake District to many of my friends who haven't heard from me for sometime. I had a long list...

However we have our first courgette and first cherry tomato growing in the poly tunnel and the bike is not only mended but didn't cost too much to fix. The sun has returned and things are looking up. Next time we will take more notice of bad omens.


tut-tut said...

safety and new washing machine trump everything, I'd say. Not to mention the reward of vegetables. I had thought our cukes were far from ready, when D went up today to the patch to discover 'quite a lot.'

Anonymous said...

blogger just ate my comment!!

Lyn said...

Oh dear at least like you say some things good are coming out of the chaos.

Soozcat said...

For what it's worth, we're also *very* glad you weren't victims of a mad gunman. But still hoping you get another go at some much-deserved away time in the near future.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Well, I'm glad you both were alright. Such a horrible happening with the shooting. Hard to imagine in such a bucolic area. Hopefully, you can plan another getaway soon.

Congratulations on the new washing machine. Don't tell anyone, but I love doing laundry!

Rachel said...

Of course - Pollyanna invented Positive Reframing! Do you remember the crutches in the missionary barrel? I was devastated for her when I first read that book.....

I hope you are going to get another chance at a holiday some time soon? Sounds like you need it!

Frances Tyrrell said...

No place like home, and I'm glad you made it safely back. It seems to have been an "I'd stay home if I was you" (Wizard of Oz) weekend - perhaps guardian angels at work. I am sorry you did not get your very well-deserved holiday.
I have yet to visit the Lake District, the scene of so many Mary Webb books. I hope you do get your holiday in eventually.

Jill said...

Well, you didn't have much of a holiday and I think your positive outlook has to be admired, but you did have a lot to 'write home about'!

Southern Lady said...

I'm sorry about your trip being interrupted. I hope you will have much better luck the next time. Good for you to put a positive spin on things. Carla

The Pea Pod said...

Oh my word what a time you've had!Good to know your OK. It sounds as though you need to recharge yourself.

Mari Brown and Colourblob said...

What a time, so packed full with everything all at once (that was so sad what happen there with the gunman, my heart goes out to all the people there)... I really happy that you made it back home okay and I hope you get to go away on a new trip in the very near future.

rossichka said...

What an experience!... Don't you have the feeling that this has happened to someone else? Or the memory of the ill-fated journey is still fresh? "All is well that ends well..." And although the bad luck, you've been actually lucky to get back home safe. Yes, more tired, but safe! I wish you to have a real, happy and sunny holiday very soon!x

Frances said...

PG, the wise Rossichka has pretty much written what I was about to write.

The official summer is yet to begin. Enjoy that zucchini (that's what we call them over here) and plan your next getaway.

Pretty great to have the bike back in operation! And, of course that you and Andy did get back home.

Your washing machine tale sounds much like my recent fridge replacement.


moonandhare said...

How horrible! Some days really do make you feel like you're a character in a bad movie. Good that you made it home safely, and hopefully you'll get to the Lake District (or similar energy renewing place) soon.

Yarrow said...

I AM GLAD that you're home safely and hope that you can still have a break of sorts. It's very exciting when the first fruits start to appear and soon you'll be making ratatouille :)

Jee said...

I'm so sorry you didn't get your holiday. Glad you're home and safe and at least the new washing machine came and works!
The happenngs in the Lake District were truly horrific, I feel so sad for people in the area, it must be distressing and confusing.
Let's hope you can get away properly soon.

justherdingcats said...

Poor you Gretel - You sound like you need a holiday!! And what a shame you could'nt fill your whizzy new washing machine with all your post holiday washing!

Oh well, better luck next time, hope the bike is fixed ok


Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

Good gracious what an adventure ! Not as much fun as you would like I know. Wishing you a happier adventure next time.

jfidz said...

It sounds like it just wasn't meant to be. Here's to the Gods smiling on you a little more favourably next time.

Acornmoon said...

Oh, poor you that is so disappointing but al least you are safe, it could have been so much worse.

Claire said...

Hey Gretel, what a time you had!! Glad you are safe and sound back in your 'scruffy, falling down cottage' which sounds comfortable and cosy AND with a new whizz bang washing machine that doesn't leak.
Here's to a perfect weekend away where everything goes as planned with no hiccups along the way and may it be sooner rather than later

Anonymous said...

WHAT and ordeal!!! That sounds like some of my vacations gone wrong. But thankfully you two, and the bike, are all safe and sound. You ACTUALLY napped on the tarmac??? I love your positive outlook on the whole thing, what an adventure!

Janet Metzger, Artist said...

Sorry to be commenting late...I was in NY for the weekend. So sorry to here of your cancelled vacation. I do love your positive attitude about the whole mess and your garden is coming along nicely. I'm glad you are both safe and tucked into your little cottage...even if it is just to immerse yourself in work again. Keep us posted on your progress!
your friend,

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

You're remarkably chipper , despite it all . I'm impressed !!
And , considering all the "didn't happens" , rightly so .
Hope you can have a nice break shortly on your totally re-vamped bike .

menopausalmusing said...

Looks like you just weren't meant to have that break! You have taken it extremely well methinks!

Re the comment about Ginko trees on my blog: Yup! It IS a Ginko, it was grown from seed about ten years ago. I just love the colour and shape of the leaves..... beautiful!

Rosie said...

My parents lived in that area for thirty years so I know it well. A real shock.
Don't forget to take the Bowness ferry across Lake Windermere when you return. A fantastic road on the other side and a giant forest.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you missed out on your holiday but so glad you didn't meet the mad gunman. Your bike, it seems is psychic!

Thank goodness for new washing machines and home grown veg!