It goes by so fast.  ‘The only way you can slow it down is to travel’ a friend of mine used to say.

The Northern Belle pulled into the station.  Heads and hands of the steward and his crew poked out of the windows cheerily waving and wishing us ‘Good Morning!’  Like a scene from a movie, or something that sits in the recesses of your mind – so familiar but you’ve never actually seen it in the flesh.

A red carpet paved the way to our sumptuously upholstered carriage.  Plush seats took the weight off our legs as we settled in for the duration admiring the decor of this lovely old 1930’s Pullman train.

A pear bellini at 9am reminded us that we were on a ‘special’ train journey – one that would take us to Lake Windermere with some fine dining on the side.

The morning wore on as we all got to know each other in advance of E’s imminent wedding. The champagne flowed with the chat becoming more hilarious so that by the time we boarded the coach to The Lakes we were in flying form.

We journeyed further into the pine woods surrounding Windemere as our ‘compere’ gave us a running commentary: “If you want to spend a penny in Bowness, it’ll cost you 40p. If you can wait until Lakeside it’s 20p.  Better still if you can ‘ang on ’til you get back to train – it’s free!”

P1030448Silence reigned on the coach.  I tried to nod off but it was impossible.  “‘On left ‘ere you ‘ave one of the largest garden centres in Cumbria”.  E glanced at me quizzically. “What about The Lakes, E? Do you think we’re going to hear how they were formed?”  “I’m not sure, S” he replied, closing his eyes.

We heard how someone in the Beatrix Potter Museum had been a ‘treasurer’ but we weren’t sure what of, or if indeed those skills had been transferred to his new role: ’Showing people Beatrix Potter’s little animals.’

The boat cruise was a highlight – wind and sun on our faces as we stood at the bow taking in grand skies, green islands and small yachts winging their way across the water gaily.

P1030461Dinner back on the train cemented a harmonious jolly day with confidences exchanged and personalities shared in a way only real time spent together allows.P1030472


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