I’m staying tonight in a rambling edifice of a ‘hotel’ called Broughton Craggs and situated near a town dubiously titled Cockermouth. That must be why I picked it. Is this the origin of the Cocker spaniel breed? Is this where roosters first crowed – “Cocker Doodle doooooo!” I’ll never know. Suffice it to say I feel I’m barely over the border from Scotland perched on the northwestern edge of the Lake District. Here was where – if they weren’t actually involved in endless skirmishes with the Scots, an arrow or two must have landed now and then on these soft green pastures.
I know I am well and truly in England because 1) I am cast on bed after a particularly heavy roast dinner, cooked in exactly the same way my Grandmother cooked it: peas, slightly dry meat, gravy, chunky carrots, completed boiled to death broccoli and cauli and 2) the traffic on the road here was thick with holidaymakers heading elsewhere – Blackpool? – for Banks Holiday weekend.
It was with dragging feet I lugged my carryon bag out to the car this morning, messily packed with an assortment of crushed and slightly worn garments. I must refresh the contents with some relatively clean ones from the big bag in the boot/trunk of the car.
I farewelled Glasgow as I drove through without having stopped to shake her hand this time. Soon I was plunging south toward Carlisle and on impulse pulled off beforehand to go west and view my last Scottish castle: Caerlaverock near Dingwell. I enjoyed a circuit of tiny roads twisting over one lane bridges on the way, at one point coming perilously close to hitting the tractor/trailer approaching on bend from other direction. Eventually I negotiated the castle car park and got out to stare at the quaint square frontage of this moated fortification. It was under siege once to King Edward 1 who eventually captured it. As with all border castles, it has led a far from peaceful existence.
I had my last taste of Scottish fare IN Scotland: a tasty Cullen Skink soup, and set off for the south, never noticing when I passed in to England.
Rather than sightsee after that drive, I’ve read my book in the parlour with a pink gin, and had dinner. I’ve climbed the stairs and down two passages to my room in a remote wing. I appear to have been nestled in the wing that houses a noisy grown family and their dog – 6 adults in all – and the walls are very thin. It makes for a good story but I’m baffled when the rest of the edifice is empty.
There’s an extra long trip tomorrow – 4 hours – to get to Stratford-upon-Avon. I’m looking forward to immersing myself in the Bard’s musings.