Thursday, 31 December 2009

2009 ends with a flourish

Hoteliers may have complained that Christmas was quieter for them than usual but every single B&B has "No Vacancies" signs up tonight and we've been really busy in the shop today. I think, in general, money off sales tend to go on for too long and are now so often that they devalue what stores do for the rest of the year. Therefore, my bold move is to have only one sale a year which starts on Boxing Day and ends tomorrow at 4 pm. After that, our Spring stock will come out and we can look forward to lighter nights and clement weather. There you go, ever the optimist, always looking forward. Happy New Year to everyone.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Floods, snow and now power failure!

It's busy again in Bowness - lots of people up for New Year's Eve - but fate is once again showing its fickle hand as the power has just gone off in half the village. Our store is actually two shops joined together and, whilst the power is still on in the largest shop (where, thankfully, the till is located), the small shop is in darkness. It's ok, if anyone wants to buy food, a card, a throw or some mugs, we'll hand them a torch! The floods and the snow didn't stop us and we won't be beaten now.....

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

The Best of Both Worlds

Back to reality after Christmas: people are braving the cold weather and seem to be coming to the Lakes in droves for the New Year. There's a lovely atmosphere in Bowness today as everyone is full of festive cheer and yesterday we were in Manchester, which was also full of people spending lots at the sales. We were there for the Miley Cyrus concert on the 27th (one of Connie's Christmas presents). If you're not familiar with her music, she's a worldwide superstar, having starred in Disney's Hannah Montana series for the past three years. Miley is only seventeen and is worshipped by millions of 5 to 14 year olds, many of whom who in Manchester in Sunday night. She put on a really good show and we were all hoarse yesterday from singing along (yes, sadly, even Sean and I know the words to all her songs).

Thursday, 24 December 2009

More Dougally Doings

Father Christmas delivered some of our presents early last night and, obviously, we're all on special Dougal watch as none of said presents will bear chewing. However, to our surprise, our barmy pup is not intent on destroying the parcels: his more benign mission in life is to sit on them. Already this morning he has been hauled off his present nest three times. He has been banished outside and the tree is now surrounded by barbed wire: well, not quite, but it doesn't look very festive as anti-Dougal devices include Connie's guitar (in its case), the chewed Next catalogues (see previous blog) and, in fact, anything that came to hand that will do the trick. Will the presents make it through to Christmas Day? Have a Merry Christmas everyone: I'm escaping to the shop for a bit of peace.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Why, oh why, oh why?

Jules "Disgruntled of Kendal" wants to know why, even though the snow stopped over 24 hours ago, there is no sign of any ploughs or gritters in Kendal, making a journey anywhere on foot or by car extremely difficult. Here is Bowness the roads are clear but the pavements and main car park are still covered with snow and, now the sun is starting to set, we're wondering if we're going to be skating home rather than driving. Anyway, musn't grumble as it sounds like the rest of the country is in the same boat. The owners of the restaurant next door have gone away for Christmas so, when the alarm went off about an hour ago, Jules nipped round with our key to turn it off.  As she reached for the keypad a green vision floated down the stairs......Jules screamed and I thought that she'd been attacked. It turns out that one of the owners' friends was staying there for a few days and was in the middle of applying a face pack (!) when she inadvertently triggered the alarm.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Winter Wonderland?

There was plenty of snow around yesterday and we had the most magical afternoon in Hawkshead where it was a lovely Christmas scene which really got our family into the Christmas spirit. Given that the snow was well predicted and there was snow yesterday, how did we manage to end up with such chaos on out roads again today?

The A592 at fell Foot

When I reached Greenodd on the way to Bowness this morning, I decided that discretion was the better part of valour and turned back as the main road was so bad I had to go and get help (Sean in his Jeep!). The traffic was at a crawl all the way to Newby Bridge in heavy snow and it didn't look as if a gritter or a snow plough had been anywhere near the place. It was the same along the A592, snow and slithering cars all the way. One day the powers that be will get their act together and work out a way to manage days like this, after all it only happens every winter!


ps the stunning scenes at Bowness made up for all the drama, it looks lovely in the sun and snow - see the photos at

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Lovely customers

A popular seller this year has been our Love the Lakes gift boxes which you can fill with gifts of your own selection from the shop which we then finish off with a big bow and a flourish. Today we had a lady in who browsed for a good half hour before bringing an empty box over to the counter. After enquiring whether she would like to put some items in it, she replied 'Oh, I thought you did that'! Certainly madam, that will be £250 please...

The best moment so far today though is the internet order which we had to query. When I rang the telephone number supplied, a lady replied so I asked for Arthur, the gentleman's name who had placed the order (name changed to protect the innocent!). 'Certainly you can speak to him', she replied, 'but he's our dog'!

Friday, 18 December 2009

Dougally Doings

Sean and Casper sneaked off before the crack of dawn this morning and, as soon as they'd departed, there came a "Woof" from the utility room, aka Dougal's cell. As I didn't want the rest of the household to wake up before the crack of dawn, I trudged downstairs to release dog no. 2 into the relative freedom of the living room. Obligatory greetings of the usual nature (ie. I haven't seen you in weeks, where have you been, how could you leave me) over with, I nipped back upstairs to get my computer and some paperwork that needed filing. A mere 2 minutes later I came back to find the Next catalogue chewed on all 4 corners and cast asunder on the rug, the wastepaper bin upended and the contents scattered around the room, including on the couch and dog no. 2 busily gnawing on the wooden frame of the patio door. Good Morning Dougal.
On the plus side, when I took him for a walk through our local wood I saw deer and rabbits galore as, for all his numerous faults, Dougal doesn't bark when he's outside (unlike Casper). I've left him on the patio in the dubious charge of James, our son. I'm glad I'm not going to be home first!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Fame at last!

BBC Radio Cumbria have been in touch with me. They've seen our blog and want me to write a diary over 5 days which I then record at our local studio and it will be played early in the New Year. The feature goes out at 5.45 pm. each evening. I was hoping to cover the next 5 days as the run up to Christmas should be pretty interesting but they've said, as it's going out in January, it's best not to mention Christmas....mmmm, could be tricky!


Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Oh no, we're doomed: Dougal's chewing habit is in the blood!

The owners of Dougal's Dad have just been in the shop, having tracked us down through Bertie, proud father of two litters so far, sounds delightful: a lovely, bouncy Beardie. However, he chewed everything in sight as a puppy and has never stopped, so much so that he is NEVER left in the house alone and the utility room in which he sleeps resembles the cell of a condemned prisoner. He has even chewed the skirting board in his beardie cell, so much so that very little remains. Great......does anyone want a nearly new beardie pup for Christmas? Only joking, I think.


Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Grand Day Out in Bowness

My apologies for not blogging for the past few days - we have been very, very busy not only in the shop but also with internet orders. Excellent. Today, there's a buzz in the air in Bowness as no less than Kevin McCloud and the Grand Designs team are mooching about. There's a house on the Crook Road which has been under screens for some time and, rumour has it, is featuring in the next series. Jules is going to leap out of the shop if she spies Kevin to ask him how far the project is overbudget, which of the inevitable hapless couple is assuming the role (usually inadequately) of project manager and will they manage to pull out all the stops to get the project done in time....
We don't get many famous people popping up in Bowness: our only regular celebrity visitor is Victoria Wood, who is a patron of the Old Laundry Theatre. She has been in the shop a few times but always looks like she doesn't want to be recognised so we always pretend we don't...hope she's not offended!

Friday, 11 December 2009

Night of the dogs in Bowness

Thanks to everyone who visited us last night at the shop. I think we had as many dog visitors as we did humans and when the young Dougal got together with some of his Bearded Collie chums it all got a bit excitable for a tranquil Thursday evening in Bowness. The highest drama of the evening was just after 5 pm. when Dougal, in Connie's charge at that point, managed to get his paw stuck in a bench at the end of the street. At the noise of Dougal squealing and Connie sobbing we rushed to her aid along with two bystanders: Dougal was released unhurt (daft pup) and Connie was consoled with a bag of chips from Vinegar Jones. Peace reigned until doggie arrivals were energetically and enthusiastically greeted by Dougal whilst Casper looked on with dogged patience. Christmas cake and Damson gin was consumed and a good time was had by all!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

It's beautiful in Bowness

Drop whatever you're doing and get to Bowness right now! The weather is absolutely lovely today: the early mist has now cleared and we have a brilliant blue sky and, most importantly, no wind, so Windermere is like a mirror. It's late night shopping here tonight and we're already much busier than the same day last year. I've been talking with some of our neighbours about forming an Ash Street traders' committee to see what we can do to up our profile in the village....suggestions on a postcard please!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Dry weather is on the way

On the way to work this morning the Radio 5 weatherman reported that after 50 days of rain, dry weather is on the way. As the weather can make a massive difference to our sales each day, I keep a daily weather record and, after checking our statistics, I can confirm that in the past 50 days we have had only 9 when it hasn't rained versus over 30 in the same period last year. No wonder Jules and I are going a bit stir crazy, prone to fits of giggles for no apparent reason - it must be our soggy brains. In the shop we frequently hear the same statements over and over and yesterday the giggles came when a lady announced that the jewellery was "too pretty" for her friend. Did that mean that her friend was too ugly for our jewellery? We sincerely hope not but this oft used phrase inevitably sends us into the office to regain control before we face the customers again.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Does anyone know where Pillar is?

Well, yes, of course everyone knows where Pillar is - except Jules and I. Jules has an excuse as she's an offcomer from Derbyshire, but the lady who was buying one of Sean's cards today looked at me in disbelief and some amusement until I eventually dragged from the recesses of my mind "Somewhere near Great Gable....I think". OK, here's the (not very well kept) secret, it's Sean who is the expert on all things to do with the Lake District, not me. In my far distant past my Dad was a Lake District Warden and I was dragged up every flipping mountain in the Lakes before I was 7! It put me off walking for a fair few years and now my ignorance is bliss....happy to bask in Sean's reflected glory until I get caught out by a customer. Excuse me while I do my daily study of an ordnance survey map.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Late Night Shopping

Last night was the first of 2 late night shopping events in Bowness. Although it was quiet for an hour or so around teatime, overall it was a success for us. I think it helped that Costa Coffee is now staying open until 9 pm every evening as not everyone is keen to go to pubs for refeshment, particularly when they have children with them. The next late night event is next Thursday, the 10th, and our family is planning on being here for the evening. So, if you'd like to come along and chat with Sean, Connie and me, plus Casper and Dougal of course, you're very welcome. We'll also be doing damson gin and christmas cake tasting - an added bonus!
The guy who owns Wilf's cafe at Staveley has just been in and reported that there was no flooding at Staveley yard. He, like I guess every business in the Lakes which relies on visitors, is very frustrated by the negative image many people from outside Cumbria seem to have of the situation here. It was reported in our local paper last night that Windermere Tourist Info Centre has been receiving calls from people asking if food supplies are getting through ok - for goodness sake!!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Oh, what a beautiful morning

Wow, its lovely today. A combination of mists and sunshine as I came past the lake and very, very still. A bit warmer than yesterday and, already, there are people out enjoying the weather. On my way to work I took a detour to the bridge by the Whitewater Hotel at Backbarrow to see if there is any reconstruction work going on but, unfortunately not, although the walls on either side of the bridge have been taken down as if ready for rebuilding. The lake is now back down to near normal (for this time of year) level.
Dougal has just learned how to jump in and out of the car and I had to laugh this morning as, when he jumped out, he leapt like a spring lamb OVER MY HEAD and landed perfectly on the drive behind me......

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

All's quiet on the western front

It's extremely cold here today, probably not helped by the snow leaden clouds: we're due a heavy snowfall tonight. It's also very quiet here today, possibly because the forecasted snow may have put off some daytrippers. Apparently, someone with a TV camera has just taken some footage of the front of our shop but, as he didn't call in, I have no idea what for. That's about as exciting as its going to get today I think. The Christmas lights down our pedestrianised street are a tad boring (white and a quarter of them blown already) so a few of us have been discussing how we can do something ourselves next year to make the street more christmassy: the consensus so far is for small lit trees angled out from the walls at 1st floor level. Someone suggested a snow machine but I think the Health and Safety Executive might have something to say about that!

Monday, 30 November 2009

Comfort food

We had a really busy weekend and top category on both days was food. We don't sell many food lines that are particularly Christmassy so I wonder if it's an inbuilt subliminal need that we have, once it turns colder, to start squirrelling away provisions! There are still lots of visitors around today and the weather is fabulous. The Lakes Hospitality Association, which works really hard to help its members, has encouraged guest houses and hotels to reduce their rates up to Christmas in light of the recent bad weather and it seems to be having the desired effect. We're forecasted to have heavy snow tomorrow afternoon: it would be nice to have a real wintry feel on the run up to Christmas as long as it doesn't cause any travel problems. We have late night shopping in Bowness this Thursday and next and most shops are putting on mulled wine and mince pies - hopefully we'll have some very merry folk around!

Saturday, 28 November 2009

There's snow in them there hills

What a contrast to last Saturday. It's 3 degrees ('When will I see you again' as Sean would say!) here in Bowness and snow has sprinkled the fells. On the way here I could see a white Langdales and pockets of mist hanging lazily over the valleys: stunning! The sun is shining, so far, and there are lots of people around. In the shop at the moment is a coach party from St. Helens  - with all the pick ups they've made en route it's taken them 4 hours to get here and they're ladies on a mission to do all their Christmas shopping in Bowness and Ambleside. Great.

Last night the Christmas lights switch on in Keswick was a treat. The town centre was packed and the Prince Charles and Julia Bradbury double act was brilliant. Of course, the Prince's bodyguards were working hard to keep the space around him clear so it was a surprise to see Julia moving alone amongst the crowd. I asked her where her bodyguards were and she replied that she didn't need them and it was a delight to talk to people she regarded as her friends. She stopped for photos with anyone who wanted one (see for evidence of our family shots) and was, in fact, a charming, natural lady, just like she is on TV.


Friday, 27 November 2009

Royal visit for switching on of Christmas Lights

Bowness and Windermere Christmas lights get switched on tomorrow by Father Christmas but we've been upstaged by Keswick where tonight, at 5.30 pm., the lights are being switched on by Julia Bradbury, ably assisted by Prince Charles who is up here showing his support for the county over the next couple of days. Needless to say, we're going to watch. The weather forecast for the next four days is for sunshine with a few showers: the temperature has dropped a lot over the past 24 hours and Sean has reported sightings of snow on his walk this morning. See you there!


Thursday, 26 November 2009

How do solve a problem like Dou-ou-gal?

You may remember Dougal's top trick of digging up the plant troughs on our patio. Yesterday he surpassed himself. After I took both dogs for a long walk in a local wood, I left them outside to dry off. Half an hour later I looked out of the back door and found pieces of grey plastic scattered around and saw a bushy tail disappearing around the corner of the house...mmmm. The plastic turned out to be the remains of the grille at the end of the tumble dryer venting hose. How he managed to get it off the wall and destroy it in so little time is beyond me: maybe he had been digging at it for weeks, Great Escape style, carrying off the evidence and burying it in the far reaches of the patio. Anyway, he got a good telling off and then I left him outside again, figuring that there was nothing else he could harm. How wrong I was! Another half an hour later I looked outside again and the ground was covered in slivers of curled up aluminium, like small beached fish. The little beggar had dug his head into the hole once covered by the grille, pulled out the venting pipe and shredded it! Aaggghhhh! This is the puppy I hope to bring to the shop with me sometime soon...I think not.
Meanwhile in Bowness, it's good to see that the water has receded to below the main pier and that the ferries are running again.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Open for business!

Today's hot topic in Bowness is the lack of visitors around. We've been quite busy for the past few days but today we've only had a handful of customers so far! I've just checked out the website of one of the loveliest small hotels in Bowness, The Cranleigh, and they have rooms available for this weekend which is unusual for them. I guess people have been put off by the weather warnings and travel problems but my mission today is to tell you that all roads in and around Bowness are open. The weather is windy, but dry and the BBC weather for the weekend is cold and sunny. Businesses in the Lakes need people to visit now more than ever and some unusual and spectacular views are guaranteed!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

The effects of the flood start to hit home

I heard from Adam at Mr Vikki's last night. He's based at Eamont Bridge near Penrith and couldn't get insurance after the last floods in 2005. Unfortunately, he's been flooded again and now has to start up his business all over again. His range of hot pickles, relishes and jams is fantastic and he was going from strength to strength after winning a plethora of national Gold Taste awards. He and his partner, Mary, are dynamic entrepreneurs and I sincerely hope they're up and running very quickly. Here in the south of the Lakes the rainfall predicted for today is light so far and it's quite warm, around 13 degrees. Other than the Windermere Marina, where I noticed today on my journey in that they've erected portacabins whilst the offices are cleared out, the biggest casualties in our area seem to be 3 large hotels at the foot of the lake (Whitewater, The Swan and Lakeside), all of whom are predicting that it will be weeks until they're fully operational again, and the Lakeside Aquarium which only escaped last year's flood by a couple of inches. It's supposed to get colder by the end of the week and Metcheck is showing snow showers over the weekend. Whatever next? A plague of locusts? We still have plenty of visitors around and yesterday our sales were 25% up over last year. Lots of customers are reporting that low level walks are quite interesting in these conditions!

Monday, 23 November 2009

Bring me sunshine

According to the forecast we're in for another battering tomorrow but today the sun is shining and all is calm. The news from the marina is that 28 boats were sunk on Thursday and today they're clearing out the houses and offices as well as towing away the cars that were caught in the water. The local Chamber of Trade has been in touch informing us of rates rebates for businesses affected by the flood and also £5k interest free loans for emergency repairs. A notice on the Newby Bridge roundabout says that the road to Bowness is open for residents' access only!


Sunday, 22 November 2009

Floodwaters are receding

I detoured to the bridge at Whitewater Hotel this morning and the engineers were there checking the structure as the river was flowing just beneath the arch. There were some mighty rain showers last night and this morning but, inspite of that, the flood level appears to have dropped another metre. I could make out the bank of the lake at Fell Foot as I drove past but I still avoided the marina which remains a no go zone for normal traffic. Bowness is busy again today and I've spent this morning trying to contact some of our suppliers in the north of the county. Mr Vikkis at Eamont Bridge near Penrith is worrying me a bit as I've emailed them and tried calling but have not got an answer.

Karen from Firefrost Jewellery in Keswick has just moved to a house near the river but, thankfully, the river didn't reach her and she sent me a couple of photos (below) of the river in full flood:

Sean has posted some graphic photos of the floods at Backbarrow, Newby Bridge, Bowness Bay, Bowness marina and Waterhead at Ambleside from this weekend on our journey to and from work at

In Bowness town centre it appears that normality has returned despite the numerous heavy showers (including hail!) we've had so far today.


Saturday, 21 November 2009

Bustling Bowness

The journey to work today was a lot less traumatic than the past few days. The Newby Bridge to Bowness road was passable with care, allowing for a diversion around the Marina which is still under water. In Bowness itself the lake has retreated by about a metre and access to the town from the south is proving not to be a problem as many of the guest houses and small hotels are full for the weekend. The couple of premises on our street that had problems with water on Thursday are open for business and, despite persistent rain in the afternoon, trade was brisk. I heard many tales from people who were supposed to be travelling further north in the county but had been forced to stay in our area for the weekend: a couple of ladies who spent over £100 between them laughed as they confessed that, as they hadn't been able to walk on the fells since Wednesday, they'd more than blown their week's budget on shopping in Bowness and Windermere. One couple visited the shop four times today in between sessions in the nearest pub, spending more money on each occasion!

Here we go again

It's 8.30 am. and the rain has started again. Sean's photos yesterday showed the physical effects of the flood but what was so upsetting was seeing the emotional effect it is having on those directly affected. At Spark Bridge, where a rescue of a trapped resident was underway, people stood anxiously by, in silent small groups, powerless to do anything to help. At Bowness, owners of boats, houses and cars stranded at the marina stood at the periphery of the flood: misery etched on their faces. At Backbarrow by the Whitewater Hotel local people talked with wonder of the river last bursting over the bridge at the start of the last century; not within living memory. This truly phenomenal event is incredible to behold and, in fact, a jaw dropping, once in a lifetime experience for those not directly affected by the damage caused by the flood. For many of the residents and business owners of the Lakes it means nothing but loss and disruption for many months to come.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Flood update

We have finally made it through to Bowness - the roads are flooded but thankfully we are nowhere near as bad as Cockermouth and Keswick, I hope everyone is alright up there.

We took a circuitous route due to blocked roads and saw that the River Crake has burst its banks at Spark Bridge flooding houses there. At Newby Bridge there are major tailbacks on the main road and the road to Bowness is officially shut. The Swan at Newby Bridge is under water and Fell Foot is flooded. At Bowness the lake is right over the road at the jetties - even deeper than last year which seems unbelievable. There are quite a few folk about though, I guess everyone is trapped! Our shop has remained dry but up the street a couple have flooded at the bottom of the hill. Thanks for all the messages we have recieved from our StridingEdge family, we appreciate everyone's concern.

Update and photos later hopefully.

Sean and Louise 

Thursday, 19 November 2009

The Lakes under even more water

 The latest is that Louise has indeed decided to bail out leaving the shop open in Julie's capable hands - no problems when you live in walking distance. She has been turned back by the Mountain Rescue on the A5074 Lyth Valley Road - usually the one that stays open in these conditions! Now I am playing Mr Sat Nav via the mobile directing her home on the minor roads. Fingers crossed!

Update: Made it! Two and a half hours of fun on waterlogged roads and it is still raining. Windermere (the lake) has made it up to road level now.


The Lakes under water!

The road from Newby Bridge to Bowness this morning is a river. Is it just me or does anyone else pat the car's dashboard and tell it "well done" when it gets through a particularly hairy patch of water? (Julie has just told me that she always thanks her car at the end of a hairy moment journey). I also love it when us motorists keenly eye up the vehicles coming in the opposite direction to gauge whether or not they're going to make it through (Corsas and Fiat 500s had no chance). I guess they'll have shut the road by now which begs the question how I'll get home as the Crook Road is already shut and the Kendal bypass is notorious for its inability to cope with torrential rain. Ah well, its 10.30 and I've just heard the till ring so maybe it will be worth it.
I feel as though I am going to be marooned on an island now, the schools around here are closed the A591 is closed between Windermere and Keswick and I was the last car through on the A592 from Newby Bridge this morning. All the jetties in Bowness Bay except the main one for the steamers are under water and, as I drove past in my amphibious vehicle, I saw a swan tapping its beak gently on the ticket booth - maybe it's too wet for him and he's looking for a boat to take him out of here - I think I will join him!


Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Wetter than wet

It has been wetter than wet in Cumbria today with more to come according to the weather man. Apparently we will have up to 8" of rain in the next 36 hours and that is more than a normal November's worth. As the ground is already saturated it could be interesting times on the roads around here as the water flows from the fells. The Bowness to Newby Bridge road is always an interesting experience when it is wet and sometimes an amphibious vehicle would be the only sane choice to travel along it.

We were shop hunting again today and a decision has almost been reached. We had to mull it over with nice coffee and a big piece of cakey at Chesters where Sean took these photos of the swollen River Brathay.


Monday, 16 November 2009

the trials and tribulations of finding a new shop part 1

We spent the majority of today looking at prospective premises around the Lakes and, quite liking one in particular, set about getting some opinions of the location from other retailers in the area. Most offered friendly and informative gems of knowledge but, oh my word, did we encounter an interesting chap right at the end of our mission. We dared to ask him a couple of innocent questions and got bombarded by a lecture about the importance of market research, whether or not the people who would be passing the store would be the right sort of customers, an opinion that the store in question was too large for our needs and finishing with the grand gesture that, as he was a "Management Consultant" (I might have guessed), we should be grateful that he was giving us these pearls of wisdom for free. All without one question from him to probe our experience or local knowledge. I shan't name his shop but we did think it was all a bit unnecessary!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Casper is six but will Dougal make it to one?!

Casper has reached the ripe old age of 6 today and is taking it easy lying in his favourite corner at home with an extra large bonio. We never actually knew when his birthday was until recently as he was a rescue Beardie and came without papers, so we only knew his approximate age and his breeders name. We were, of course, reaquainted with all of those when we got Dougal (his kennel club registered name is Sylvabrae Striding Edge BTW) who has now become the tormentor-in-chief of Casper. I think it is safe to say that Casper's tolerance has been thinly stretched recently and I guessed he had been pushed too far the other day when there was an almighty lions roar from our patio and I found Dougal lying on his back with Casper standing over him...complete with his jaws firmly locked around Dougal's throat. Now, now boys - play nicely!


Friday, 13 November 2009

new shop on the horizon

We've been given the green light from the bank to open a new Love the Lakes and yesterday the search began for the ideal site. As we viewed a number of shops in one town all the memories of going through the same process in Bowness came flooding back. It took us over six months and several false dawns before we were given the tip off about the store we now have and then it took a further four months before we finally opened in May 2008. Hard to believe now but our shop was an absolute mess when we took it over and, when I looked around a couple of stores yesterday, my heart hit my stomach as I could see the same amount of work required all over again. I know it will be worth it in the end but I wonder how many would be shop owners are deterred by the investment required to get their dreams off the ground.

Thursday, 12 November 2009


I get many enquiries about what to wear and which gear to buy. Obviously I cannot give a definitive answer on everything as I have not worn or tested everything that is available. I can, however, give my opinion on gear that I have used or use.

I have just bought some new gloves - I say new ones, but really they are the replacemenets of the ones I already had and managed to rip last year. I did a running repair on them (alright, Louise did it for me!) and made them do for the remainder of last winter but they were so good I had to buy another pair for this winter's campaign; they are the Rab Phantom Grip. What a fantastic pair of gloves they are too, made from WindPro Polartec they are stretchy and light and more to the point for me, they don't have a lot of bulk which means I can operate my camera quite comfortably whilst wearing them. They also fit right in with my 'any new gear has to be light and have low bulk' philosophy.

The wind resistance they possess makes them ideal for almost all conditions and alongside that they are even water repellant and highly breathable. They also have that silicon print thingy on the palm which seems to be in vogue on a lot of gloves these days which makes them less prone to slipping when you are doing a spot of scrambling. In fact they sound too good to be true and they almost are - they were good enough to make me buy another pair anyway!


Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Dougal today

We were out in glorious conditions today up on the fells - the sun was shining, the frost was sparkling and the skies were blue. Dougal almost goes through himself these days when he thinks there is a walk in the offing, so I guessed he quite likes it up there. The affirmation today was when we were wandering around, soaking up the beautiful views and Casper and Dougal were doing that daft dog thing, running up and down to nowhere in particular at 100mph. Dougal had a big grin on his face - yes , really - he looked as though he was smiling as he was frolicking and that made me smile too. That's what the freedom of the fells is all about isn't it? Life's simple pleasures. What a day, what a place...what a dog!


Monday, 9 November 2009

Don't miss John Sergeant in the Lakes

Tomorrow evening John Sergeant is on ITV with his new series about tourists in the UK. The first programme features the Japanese in Bowness and you may catch a glimpse of our shop as John strolls down Ash Street on his way from the Peter Rabbit and Friends shop to the Beatrix Potter Experience, so please watch if you get a chance. The Japanese can  be great customers of ours: if they see something they like all of their group will buy it but many of them don't like fragrance so they turn tail as soon as they step in the shop. We also get quite a few of them (and they are the only nationality who do this) who come in wearing face masks......nice!

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Wedding photos

Oh, go on then - due to public demand (!), here are a couple  I took. Sorry Jules/Tim - hope you don't mind! Sean

Friday, 6 November 2009

Congratulations to Jules and Tim!

Jules who works with us in the shop got married to Tim yesterday and it was a fantastic day despite the weather. The location was superb - Belmount Hall at Hawkshead - which is a National Trust property run by the same people that run Jumping Jenny at Brantwood.

I did my David Bailey bit being the 'official' photographer and the photos seem to have turned out okay on first viewing (phew!). Managed to get a bit of embarrasing 'dad dancing' in last night after a glass of wine or six; the band oddly enough was called Striding Edge!

This morning we awoke to a great view from our room along the Vale of Hawkshead with the fell tops peeping above the mist which managed to sooth away some of our headache...Sean

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

rain, rain, go away!

So much for the cold, bright start to November: it's bucketing it down today! Not to worry, I've already had two giggles, the first being a lady who stood outside the shop and announced in a broad Yorkshire accent "Love the Lakes? Love the Lakes (louder)? What's to love about the Lakes?" Charming!
The second was an expectant mother who was interested in the children's clocks and mirrors. "Would you be able to exchange a mirror if the baby turned out to be the opposite sex?" "Certainly" I replied. "Are you keeping it a surprise?" "No" was the answer "I just don't trust the 3 scans I've had!" Apparently the scans showed this lady was having a girl but, in the end, she chose a Dinosaur mirror.................

Monday, 2 November 2009

floods again!

Well it wasn't as bad as last October's floods, but it came pretty close yesterday. Predictably, after a deluge of biblical proportions, the road from Newby Bridge to Bowness was closed for a time this morning. However, at just after 8.45, the road was passable with caution and I made my way through 8 flooded sections of road passing a few stranded cars along the way. One of the jetties from the pier in Bowness is underwater and I had to giggle at the number of boatmen stood scratching their heads, Stan Laurel-like, gazing at the water. Anyway, the rain has stopped and it's a cool, bright, fresh start to November. There are still quite a few families around so I'm hoping for a good day. No Jules this week as she gets married on Thursday - needless to say there are a few last minute glitches like Tim's suit turning up and the trousers being 3 inches too short, but nothing too serious.....yet.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Multi million pound revamp on the way?

The LDNP is planning a multi million pound revamp of Bowness Bay and The Glebe (the name of the park at the edge of the bay) called 'The Masterplan'. There are a range of possibilities aimed at putting Bowness on a par with Waterside destinations around the world. Radical ideas include demolishing unsightly buildings and constructing an underground car park at Braithwaite Fold. It's a great idea that definitley gets our vote - imagine what this view from The Glebe could be like if those buildings went and the vista that these holidaymakers would get...simply fantastic.


Friday, 30 October 2009

season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

Was Keats on his way to Bowness when he wrote this iconic ode? Probably not, but when I came to the viewpoint of Windermere next to the Beech Hill hotel this morning it was the quote that immediately sprang to mind. The lake was partly shrouded in mist and there were already yachts gliding silently along. One big gust of wind would be all it would take to make the trees shed their leaves but, for now, they are splendidly decked in orange, red and brown. The weather has been unseasonably warm this week (17 degrees yesterday afternoon) and very calm, culminating in a perfect day today. Yesterday was our busiest day in the shop since we opened 18 months ago and Bowness is bustling with visitors making the most of this beautiful weather.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Dougal the Digger update

Apparently a deterrent for puppies who transgress the boundaries of acceptable behaviour is to throw a mixture of water with a tiny amount of vinegar over them when caught in the act. In the McMahon household we've taken this one step further with the help of Connie's supersoaker gun. Now we all enjoy (a little too much, if I'm honest) administering the punishment for digging in the plant troughs although the neighbours must be slightly worried when one of us shouts "Get the gun!!!!"

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Grizzly Grisedale

At the risk of hijacking the Love the Lakes blog (the girls are obviously too busy during half term week to post), we went to Grizedale Forest this afternoon. It was predictably mobbed with people - but with good reason as the colours of the trees was quite spectacular. We even managed to get recognised (twice!)...oooh, the fame...


Hot off the press

Well, actually hot off the PC as they haven't reached the press yet but they will be done this week. For those who have followed the 'winter card' thread, here's one of them that I decided upon...

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Christmas Cards

Just been working on some Christmas/Winter cards and trying to sort out some suitable scenes. Here are three possibilities, what do you think?



Saturday, 24 October 2009

Photos from yesterday...

I took a few photos yesterday, firtsly in the shop - your gorgeous host Louise...

These little Herdy money banks always make me laugh - 'Please set us free!' they seem to be saying:

Why should the pigs have all the money indeed!
I had the dogs with me so on the way home I couldn't resist a visit to an Autumnal Fell Foot, well worth a visit whilst the leaves are still on the trees and if the sun shines those colours will be magnificent:


Thursday, 22 October 2009

Julie the hamper queen

Jules and I often remark how our particular penchant for certain lines make them sell when we're on the till. Jules makes some of our jewellery and when she's in command 9 times out of 10 jewellery is our top category that day. My background is home fragrance and when I'm on the till 9 times out of 10 reed diffusers are the top category (when customers aren't sticking them up their noses - see a previous blog). I've discovered our new Julie really likes our DIY hampers and, sure enough, the telepathy magic is working again: she's on the till today and we've sold 6 hampers!
I hear the PO workers are intending to strike again for 3 days next week. It looks like I'll be signing up with Hermes parcels (previously Parcelnet) tonight.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Dougal the Digger

I thought it was too good to be true: at last I've found Dougal's achilles heel. The perfect puppy is no longer perfect and I've escaped to work to avoid strangling him. Last night, under the cover of darkness Dougal jumped into one of our plant troughs (approx 90cm high) and dug down as far as he could go. We've found him before chewing at plants on the patio and he's been suitably chastised but this is beyond the pale. When I got up this morning plants, bulbs and soil were scattered all over the place and the silly puppy still pranced around me as if he hadn't put a foot wrong...........aaaggghhh. He was probably bored as the rotten weather in the past two days has meant short walks for both dogs, so I'll be going home at lunchtime to take them out as soon as I can get thoughts of murder out of my mind.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Up close and personal with Reed Diffusers

Reed Diffusers are a brilliant invention: they're glass jars filled with fragranced oil and bamboo reeds that - once inserted in the oil - draw up the oil which then evaporates leaving the fragrance to infuse your room day after day. They look great and smell wonderful and we sell lots of them. However, one customer yesterday got more than he bargained for when he indulged in the popular pastime of our customers: smelling all the testers that are dotted around the store. His wife passed him the "Warm Embrace" tester and he enthusiastically brought it up to his nose to get a good whiff, only to get one of the reeds stuck in his nostril! Jules and I stifled laughter by disappearing into the office, holding hands over mouths and letting the tears roll down our cheeks: however, be assured that the unfortunate gentleman's wife and rest of his family were bent over double with mirth.
P.S. They bought the diffuser

Monday, 19 October 2009

kestrel spotted on Ash Street

We've just seen the most amazing thing - we were just chewing the cud with the guys from the chip shop opposite when a kestrel swooped down on the pigeon that was minding its own business in the middle of the pedestrianised(!) street. It was all talons and beak attempting to lift the pigeon but was foiled in it's attempts when a lady rushed over to the pigeon's rescue. One lucky pigeon is now sat on a window ledge keeping an eye out for all predators!

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Stripped down gear

What are the things manufacturers sell you walking gear on? In my opinion after using all sorts of clothing, there are many things that are irrelevant or not really required. I am fed up with carrying clothing that weighs a ton, jackets that have useless flappy hoods, map pockets that you don’t need and vents that are neither use nor ornament - anyone who has a Gore Tex jacket will know what I am talking about!

My expensive 3 layer Gore Tex has lay unused in the back of a cupboard for 5 years. I have been a big Paramo fan since then but the usual problem with their stuff is that it often ends up being too warm for the conditions but it is better than Gore Tex as it never makes you cold when you are wet on the inside of the jacket as well as outside.

Even that gets a bit weighty when you carry it around so over the last 12 months or so, any new gear I have bought has had to be light and compact when carrying it around. First was the bag, downsized to a stripped down 25 litre OMM. As I got a smaller bag, I have to get gear small enough to fit in it. That is okay for the summer, but what about winter? My latest investment, tested on the Greenburn Round for the first time was a Hafglofs LIM Barrier jacket (LIM = Less Is More!). It is a primaloft synthetic down filled jacket which is wind and water resistant, weighs about the same as two feathers and a piece of cotton and packs down to the size of a fag packet. It is a simple design with one chest pocket and no hood – I never use a hood anyway, preferring to use my trusty LA Mountain cap.

First impressions were that it was really good, doing the same job as a bulky fleece jacket. It did get too warm at one point, the answer to that was to simply take it off – no need for zip, vents, hoods or other such paraphernalia. Coupled with a Rab Generator Vest (also primaloft and highly packable), a Paclite shell for heavy rain, a Paramo fleece, gloves and hat I reckon I am pretty well sorted for most conditions without the bulk that I previously carried around. Anyone else fancy getting stripped down?


Friday, 16 October 2009

A591 update

Apparently the A591 is now open, although one of our suppliers' drivers said that it took him an hour and 20 minutes to get from Kendal to our shop! The word on our street is that the police have charged 6 people with dangerous driving: that stretch of road is notorious for boy racers and this time it looks like their antics had fatal consequences as there is a fatality reported. Bowness is very busy and I wonder if people are stopping off to wait for queues towards Ambleside to subside.

A591 blocked

Traffic is chaotic here today. There was an accident last night at Troutbeck and the A591 between the Sun Inn and White Cross Bay is now closed until at least lunchtime. It means for many drivers a diversion up towards Kirkstone Pass and down the Struggle to Ambleside so, understandbly, there's a few irritated drivers around. It think the Lakes is going to be busy again this weekend: the weather is glorious - not yet frosty in the morning but heading that way. What a contrast to last October when we had more wet days than dry.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

we love hampers

We have another new starter in the store today. Julie (another one so v. confusing) also works in the local art gallery and lives in the village. As part of her induction, I explained that we offer a self selection gift box and hamper service and they can be quite fiddly to put together so maybe it was a good thing that they sold mostly at weekends when there's always 2 staff in the store. So what's the first sale of the day? A pre-made hamper of course, so I then had to make putting together another one look easy - don't want to put Julie off on her first day. Customers really like browsing the shop to put their own gift box together: it's so much more personal than buying a ready made gift in an acetate box!
I really like this time of year when customers' choice of purchases change as the days grow shorter. Yesterday, the last sale of the day was to a family of 3 who brought a selection of candles to the counter which totalled nearly £100: during the summer we'd be lucky to sell £100 worth of candles all day, never mind in one transaction.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Pea Souper today

We can't see the lake from 20 metres away today but it's quite warm so maybe it will burn off in the next couple of hours. Last night, I took the car ferry across Windermere to meet up with Jules, Tim, Sean and Connie at Jules' wedding venue near Hawkshead. I wonder how many people travel in such a brilliant way to and from work each day. The ferry runs like clockwork every 10 minutes and the views you get along the lake as you cross are stunning. Its the only way to travel when the alternative journey around the lake takes approx. 40 minutes. The wedding venue is superb - a house (but not Hill Top) originally owned by Beatrix Potter, now hired out for special events, and partly occupied by the people who own Jumping Jenny's cafe at Brantwood. The visit was followed by a delicious supper at the Outgate Inn - highly recommended by the McMahon family!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Bad weather...or was it?

It may have been misty down there, but that's because you were under this...

not quite such a perfect day

Sean and Casper ventured out early this morning in search of some interesting weather - inversions I think, but I'm not sure how successful they'll be as, although it's a lovely still day, there's lots of low cloud around. I'm stuck with today's task of trying to get a company interested in removing our rubbish. We have a weekly cardboard mountain that is a pain to store and then remove but no one seems willing to shift it for us. One big problem is that the shop is built into a hill and so has no rear access or storage for cages or bins. Despite paying over £1,200 a month in business rates, this doesn't cover any rubbish removal or recycling and I'm not getting anywhere with any local firms. Anybody got any bright ideas?

Monday, 12 October 2009

Oh, what a beautiful morning

I've broken off from doing spreadsheets for the bank - tedious at the best of times - to tell you what an absolutely gorgeous day it is. The sun is bright, the temperature is cool (5 degrees) and the mist still hangs over the lake which, in the places you can see it, looks like a mirror. Every single mountain in the south Lakes is as clear as a bell: fantastic. Judging from the number of "No Vacanices" signs around town, quite a few people are taking a long weekend in Paradise. This could be October's Perfect Day (there's always one)

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Help is here

Great news in our shop: we have a new starter today who's going to be doing weekends for us alongside Mel. Seema is a teacher too so the pair of them will be able to swap worst pupil stories. Is working in a shop the perfect antidote to a hard week's teaching? Search me.
Anyway, I'm off home now to a bottle of Chianti and X Factor (high brow entertainment for Connie, Casper, Dougal and I on a Saturday night - Sean's at work). Mel wants to know if anyone will join her for a night out in Bowness tonight as her other half is out gallivanting with his mates. Be warned, these teachers are dangerous when they let their hair down!

Friday, 9 October 2009

Oh dear, someone's not happy!

Beautiful day here again in Paradise but I think we've shattered someone's perfect day. A lady has just popped her head into the shop to remonstrate with us about having Christmas decorations on display so early. She's going to "report" us to the Chamber of Commerce......ummm. Had she not strode off so quickly leaving us and customers in the shop equally stunned I would have told her that we're selling Christmas not celebrating it......never mind, you can't please all the people all of the time!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

exploding beer bottle

Gorgeous weather yesterday and today: lots of fans around taking advantage of the sunshine and fantastic colours. We're very busy but I'm a tad concerned about the potential Post Office strike in the offing. In general, the postal service around here is pretty good - we get our letters and parcels between 9.30 and 10 every morning and, touch wood, every parcel we've ever sent in the 18 months we've been in business has arrived on time. The last thing I need on the run up to Christmas is a strike affecting the delivery of our internet orders: I guess I'm going to start looking for a private delivery service and that's a shame.
Oh yes, the beer bottle. I started unpacking a beer delivery this morning, pulled a bottle out of the box and it literally exploded in my hand and I was left holding the neck. Fortunately for Jules and I, it only got our hearts racing and there was no damage to us or any other stock. The brewery have assured me that it must have been a freak accident but should I be issuing goggles to all staff??!!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Wedding stress!

Now that Sean has mentioned the Wedding- I'd better introduce myself. I am indeed Jules, Tim and I are getting married on November 5th. We didn't twist Seans arm to take the photo's-we just made it uncomfortable for him to say 'no'.
Mel and Louise are really looking froward to the Wedding- they are really fed-up of me going on about it and can't wait for it to be over. They have been with me through the venue double booking, the inlaw distress and the lost shoes (now found by the Post Office but they don't fit!).
The venue is the beautiful Belmount Hall near Hawkshead and hopefully Sean will manage to get at least our heads on the landscape shots.
Its only 4 weeks now until the Wedding and I'm not stressed at all.......much. There are just the finishing touches to do now, seating plans, place settings and favours...oh and bedding in my purple suede shoes.

The weather again

Sorry Angela, I can't resist.......despite Metcheck claiming we'd miss the majority of the rain today, it has been raining solidly since 6 am. this morning which, inevitably reminds me of last October. The floods of October 25th were amazing to behold and in my weather diary for that day (yes, sadly, I record each day's weather) I simply logged "floods". I only just made it home along the road to Newby Bridge and the next day that road was completely closed - blocked by water and rocks carried down from the hills. There was only one route into Bowness and, whilst cautiously urging the car through indeterminately deep puddles, I called home to say that I probably shouldn't bother opening as no one would be around. I reached the pier to find two of the 3 jetties completely under water, the Tourist Information Centre under siege from the lakes and, incredibly, a vast crowd of onlookers, lots of whom subsequently found their way to our shop. Yes, the worst floods in the Lakes in living memory didn't put off the punters....oooh, how we love to shop.
Anyway, its just stopped raining and the next 2 days are predicted to be lovely. Bring it on.
P.S. Please ignore Sean's complaints - he loves it really......


Just because I've got a camera and have taken a couple of landscape shots in my time, it seems I am now the product photographer for the shop website and wedding photographer too, as Julie has twisted my arm into that one. Now if we could get Julie and Tim to get married on top of Coniston Old Man holding a couple of products from the shop, I could roll it all up into one!

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Does anyone know anyone who wants a job?

Christmas is happening with a bang: resistance to buying decorations, tree decs, cards and presents is futile - people just can't help themselves. Personally, if I bought stuff now I would forget where I'd put it by Christmas (and, in fact, have done just that in past years) but I can't complain about folk operating on the see it and buy it policy.
When we first opened the shop we comfortably managed to have only one person running it each day. I'm glad to say that those days are gone and we usually need one and a half and two at a time at weekends. I'm normally here 6 out of 7 days, Jules does 4 days and Mel does the weekend when she's not teaching. Sean's appearances at the shop are now fairly rare as he has lots of other things to occupy his time. Our daughter, Connie, is the oldest 8 year old in the world and would love to be behind the till but she is obviously too young. Our son, James, who's 18 would rather drive rusty nails in his eyes than work in the shop: it obviously does not suit his tough, rugby playing image and anyway he has the perfect excuse of being away with the Merchant Navy for the majority of the time.
Anyway, as I'd really like to spend more time with my family, does anyone know anyone who would like to work for 16 hours a week in our shop? Incentives include lots of free tea and coffee, free sampling of all new cakes, beers, spirits and body products and some great conversations with customers from around the world!

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Phew, thank goodness that's over

It was a tad optimistic to say that erecting 2 Christmas trees, dressing them and getting out back up stock of all the decs would only take 2 hours. Yesterday was also our busiest day of the week so that added to the fun. 10 hours into the job we still hadn't finished as we decided to change round some of the main displays too. Anyway, the finished result is superb: today's job is to clear the bombsite in the stockroom...
Mel, my trusty aide at weekends (she's a supply teacher searching for a permanent job during the week -not easy in the Lakes) is a slight shade of green today. She's been for a St Tropez tan treatment in preparation for a wedding she's going to tomorrow and, apparently, looking like the Incredible Hulk (her words, not mine) is part of the effect until it settles down. Nice!
(see, no mention of the weather just for you Angela - its not worth talking about today anyway)

Friday, 2 October 2009

Only 84 days to go

'tis the season to be jolly (nearly). I'm still hanging on in there wearing my shorts as it is
warm(ish) but the Chritmas trees are being arranged as I type. It must be to do with global warming I think.


Thursday, 1 October 2009

I know I shouldn't mention the weather, but....

Ok, this is the last time I'll mention the weather this week...tomorrow it will all be about Christmas decorations and our attempts to get 2 trees up and decorated in the shop in less than 2 hours. It is absolutely glorious today - appropriate that the temperature has dropped by a few degrees, as it's October 1st, but to compensate, brilliant sunshine and stillness.
On a completely different subject, I'm going to have a rant: we've just heard that one of the most prominent shops in Bowness (quite large, 2 storey and near the roundabout where 2 main roads meet), which is currently a gift shop, is going to become a British Heart Foundation shop. I have absolutely nothing against charity shops per se and we already have 3 notable ones in Bowness, but to have another one with such a large frontage in such a prominent position is making me mad. The locals complained when Costa and Tesco Express came to Bowness but, to my mind, this is far worse......if anyone can assure me that this store is going to look great and be a real attraction for locals and tourists please get in touch. I need coffee and chocolate.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Me and the Dougster...

...have arrived in the shop, apparently we all have to contribute to the blog. I can but I am not sure about muddy Dougal, though we are trying to train him up on the till. Just been out on a walk, photos on SE later.


Hurrah Jules is back

Once again its lovely in Bowness today. I'm sat outside Costa and there is a little patch of blue sky right over Bowness. One of the best treats about our working day is our skinny lattes in Costa before we open the shop and its even better for me today because my pal Jules is here - she's been off the past 2 days because one of her lovely daughters, Eloise, is not well. We had loads of deliveries yesterday which are piled in the stockroom ready for me to get stuck into today. Better have another coffee then!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Lovely in the Lakes

No rain for us today. Along the road to Bowness from Newby Bridge there's no view of Windermere until just before the Beech Hill Hotel: then there is a vista that never fails to take my breath away. You can see the lake sprawling before you, usually complete with a smattering of yachts, and then the Langdales in the distance, dark and brooding (poetic eh?). Today it was drizzling with rain until just before the Beech Hill and then, lo and behold, the clouds parted and the sun lit the up the Langdales and beamed down the lake - fantastic!
It's still about 17 degrees, quite balmy and there are lots of folk around looking for Christmas presents - only 87 days to go........

Monday, 28 September 2009

Monday morning

Light drizzle here this morning and mist over the lake. The weather forecast is for colder weather later this week - good: I won't feel so bad when the Christmas decorations come out then! Yesterday was our busiest day of the year so far and there are still plenty of people around this morning.
Everything is so weather dependent up here - no wonder us Brits are fixated by our weather as I'm sure our nation of shopkeepers blames everything on the weather. Too hot, too cold, too windy, too wet -all of these can affect our sales. so much so that we keep a daily weather diary. Ooh, the drizzle has stopped - bring on the customers

Sunday, 27 September 2009

today in the Lakes

Forget New England in the Fall, Autumn in the Lake District is beyond comparison. The trees are amazing shades of red, yellow and orange and the weather for the past few days has been so still that the reflections on the Lakes are mirror perfect. Bowness is absolutely heaving with visitors this weekend and you can tell that Winter is fast approaching as we're selling loads of fragranced candles. Next Friday we get out our new Christmas decorations and Christmas cards ready for the half term holiday.... where has the year gone?


Welcome to Love the Lakes blog, an account of life in our shop in Bowness.