Thursday, 31 May 2012

With hindsight, it was probably not the wisest thing I ever did when I decided to buy Oliver a tent. Or, for that matter, the backpack and sleeping bag which went with it. When he saw the tent and realised it was a little house just for him he was thrilled, and insisted on sitting in it in the middle of the lounge, where we kept tripping over it.
A few days later, I told Oliver that we - my husband, daughter and myself - were taking a short break in the Lake District, explaining that we planned to travel light and so there wouldn't be room for bears. He quite agreed, saying that they did take up a lot of room, and that he didn't like being squashed by bears either. That's when I realised that Oliver doesn't count himself as a bear.

So it was, that Oliver, staggering under the weight of a backpack, case in each paw, and trailing his tent behind him, clambered into the car, and, once he had settled, we set off, to Coniston in Cumbria. As usual, I'll let him tell the story in his own words but will correct his spelling and punctuation because sentences such as 'wee sore beetrex poter's hows hylltopp? &Ware petIr rabbbet!" livd' are not conducive to an easy read.



I packed my tent and my sleeping bag because we are going to the Lake District. It sounds very wet, and I hope I dont have to do much swimming as I sink easily. I am taking my wellies and my deep-sea diving outfit which has a mask and a snorkel. I have never used it and dont want to, but if everyone else jumps into the lake I dont want to be left behind. Because I cant cook.

The journey took ages, but the scenery was pretty with lots of flowers and trees. Then it began to get hilly, in fact I think they were mountains. They looked very high. We stopped at a place called Ribblehead, where there was an enormous bridge with lots of arches, called a viaduct, stretching right across a valley. Then an engine pulling lots of trucks went over the viaduct - I expect the driver had a smashing view. I think I would like to be an engine driver, because I would like to blow the big whistle and frighten all the sheep and cows.

We saw lots of lakes, and then we went past a really big one called Coniston, and Sue said the chalet was nearby. The chalet was made of wood and it was very cosy, and had lots of comfortable furniture and a balcony which looked over some grass and lots of trees. I started to chill out on the settee, waiting for my dinner, when Sue pointed to the grass outside and said, You can put your tent up there. Byee!
 I gave Sue a hard glare, opened the door and trudged down to the grass. It was wet. And dark, And cold. Something, probably a dragon, was snuffling in the bushes. I managed to get my tent up, once Id got my paw unstuck from the velcro fastenings, but I couldnt undo the buckles on my backpack. I heard something swooping overhead and I knew it was a bat. Bats get caught up in teddy fur. Then an owl called, he went hoooo-wooooh - I bet he ate bears for dinner. My tummy rumbled. I could see the lights in the chalet. Suddenly, I ran through the grass before the dragon, the owl and the bat could catch me and I climbed up the steps and pushed open the door. Everyone was having dinner. Sue had laid a place for me! So I sat on a chair, and she said, I guessed youd be back. Ill try camping again tomorrow. In the daytime.


We had a lovely day. We went to a place called Sawrey, and visited Beatrix Potters house, Hill Top, where I thought Peter Rabbit lived. Sue told me that Peter Rabbit didnt really live there, but she showed me the dresser from the Tale of Samuel Whiskers, the doll's food which the Two Bad Mice stole and the Tailor Of Gloucester's clock. We saw some of Beatrix Potters dolls, too, but she didnt have a teddy bear, which was a bit sad. I remembered seeing the pretty garden in my Tale of Tom Kitten book. Later we went to Hawkshead where we saw some of Beatrix Potters beautiful paintings. I was hungry, so we went for a cream tea with scones in a hotel, and then drove to Tarn Howe where we walked beside the lake. It was very quite and peaceful. We went back to Coniston, stopping to look at the views. I slept in the chalet, because I could hear snuffling outside.


Today we went to Rydal Mount. It was where a poet called Wordsworth used to live. He was very famous and wrote a poem all about daffodils, which Sue told to me as we walked round his house. The garden was really pretty, though I couldnt see any daffodils, but there were loads of bluebells which had a lovely smell. We found the summerhouse where Wordsworth used to think up his poems, and we sat in it to see if it made us think of poems too. I thought of one. Sue said it was unusual, which I think means excellent.
Olivers Poem by Oliver
Two little teddy bears
Going for a swim
One was friendly
And the other one was Jim.

We then visited Dove Cottage, Grasmere, where Wordsworth also once lived. It was small, yet nine people had lived there, and they used candles and rush-lights. I liked it there, it was really interesting. Best of all was the cafe in the village, because I had hot chocolate fudge cake with ice-cream. It was very yummy. Then I had to have a wash. Sue wanted to know how I had managed to get chocolate on my ears and my sit-upon. I dont know, chocolate just does that.

Later, we went to Derwent Water, Thirlmere and the Honister Pass. We saw lots of sheep, and it was sunny and very beautiful. I like the Lake District, because you dont have to swim in the lakes. I frightened a man by mistake - we drove by Coniston Water, and he was sitting in a little boat drinking from a mug. He looked up as we passed, and I kind of slipped along the window. He did a double-take, looked at his drink, then back at me. Perhaps he was surprised to see a teddy bear waving at him from a car!
When we reached the chalet, Sue asked me when I was going to start using my tent. I pretended my ear was full of fluff and couldnt hear her, and curled up on the sofa.


We had a really exciting day today - we went on a boat! The boat was called 'Miss Cumbria' and we caught it at Lakeside. It took us to Bowness. It was chilly on the boat, though the sun was out, but it didnt matter because the scenery was lovely, and there were other boats, ducks and swans. I wish I lived in a house next to the lake, I could go on a boat every day.

When we reached Bowness, we went to a little shop and Sue bought me some Kendal Mint Cake which she said was a special treat in the Lake District. It was soon time to catch the boat back to Lakeside, and this time we went on the 'Tern'. We had lunch at Lakeside, then went to see a waterfall at a place called Aira Force, and I had a snack.


When we got back to the chalet, I took my tent and backpack and stomped down to the grass. I put my tent up and it was nice. The birds were singing, and I climbed into my sleeping bag. Then I felt hungry, so I took my tent down, rolled up my sleeping bag and went back to the chalet. Sue sighed and laid another place at the table. Home tomorrow!


Going home seemed much quicker than coming. When we arrived, I went to see my friends in the hug and told them all about the fun Id had, sleeping in my tent with the owls whoo-hooing and dragons snuffling outside.


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