Lilac Wine

I’m definitely getting old. Just been listening to YouTube as I wrote and, on hearing Lilac Wine I couldn’t help myself – I stopped writing and looked up the recipe for lilac wine. You can find it here.

I’ve been listening to Elkie Brooks for years (seeing her in concert  on 5th April 1981 at Preston Guildhall according to her official website – I don’t get out much) but it’s the first time her singing has ever moved me to look up a recipe.


Parsonage House

We stayed here for our trip to the Lakes.

We booked it through and it scores 9.7 on their website. I scored it as 10 when we got back.


It isn’t perfect, as they expect you to have satnav rather than giving proper directions; I spotted two cobwebs during the stay; the times for booking in and out and having breakfast could be more leisurely and er…that’s about it.

As I found it without satnav, can see more cobwebs in my office than I did on holiday and never missed breakfast  I don’t think I have much to complain about.

Somebody complained they don’t have internet access in the rooms. That was one of the best bits of the holiday as far as I was concerned.

It is an elegant and well-appointed house which has been furnished an equipped with an eye for detail. Breakfasts were excellent, linen was crisp and it was all very tranquil. It’s hard to put it into words but if you want to relax I suggest a few days here (avoiding busy times! See my last post for details of why).


Seems a good place to quote Ruskin as he generally seems to say things better than I can and he was almost a neighbour.

Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort.



A few days in the Lakes

With hindsight we could have picked a better week but it was rather picked for us, being 25 years after our wedding day. If only we’d thought about things like whether and half-term when we set the wedding date…

As it turned out we had good weather. We had for a few grey spells and an episode of freezing rain but that’s positively balmy for the Lakes in November. In fact it’s pretty good for summer in the Lakes, so no complaints about the weather.

However, when we tried eating out at nights it was a different story. Half-term and decent weather meant it was so crowded it was almost impossible to find somewhere to eat in Windermere. We eventually managed somewhere on the first night but gave up on the second and drove to Kendal. On the final night we had pies from the farm shop at Tebay Services..

Earlier in the trip we’d had the beef and ale pies (full of meaty chunks but a touch dry due to lack of gravy and length of time in the warmer). We would have had them again but there were none left so we had the cheese pies (big chunk of cheese, could have done with some onion and soft bits). Maybe they just like their pies solid in Cumbria. Despite this there are no photos, both times we had pies we managed to get halfway through before I remembered.blogs need pictures. That’s about 9 out of 10 for the pies then.

Marks for the Lake District? Difficult to say. Some of it was definitely 10/10 but circling Windermere wasn’t quite so thrilling.


A Kendal classic

I was going to start the blog with a food review. How hard, I asked myself, can it be to review fish and chips? Well, harder than I thought, as it turns out. As the piece began to approach the length of a short story I decided to try something shorter. It’s still a food blog but it’s a shorter one.


As part of our visit to the Lake District last week we went round Kendal Farmers’ Market and the market hall. There was a good variety of stuff on offer, including collectables and second-hand books – two of my favourite things. There was also a good display of mint cake. That’s another of my favourite things – with an ingredients list featuring just four things – two sorts of sugar, water and mint how could it be anything else?

No artificial additives, loads of sugar and a feeling of virtue as you follow in the footsteps of Hillary and Shackleton, can it get any better?

Actually, it could, because we also went round the K Shoe Heritage Centre in the K Village. As a retail outlet the “village” is a bit of a disappointment, with a lot of empty shops, but that’s just a sign of the times. The Heritage Centre, on the other hand, is one of the best museum displays I’ve ever been round and really brought the company and staff to life. Highly recommended: it needn’t take a lot of time if you’re in a rush and it’s free.