5 October 2009--Leave Coniston feeling I'm just starting to warm up to the place. I actually had a reasonably
lively conversation with my hostess and the semi-permanent boarder at the B&B this morning. They are Wallace & Gromit refugees
...but really very nice.
Take the Windermere ferry, just to do it, and start driving south, eschewing the motorway, trying to thread my way between the conurbations of Manchester and Leeds/Bradford without being ensnared by either. It's not easy. There is no straight-line road along the spine of the Pennines, and I have to zig and zag my way. The road sign logic in this country escapes me sometimes. It's no big deal in the Scottish Highlands, or even in the northern reaches of England, where one may anticipate a junction for many miles, and can hardly miss it when it comes. But in this much denser area, it's far too easy to miss a turn, or make a wrong one. I make a lot of wrong turns today. At one point, I miss a right turn, make the next to try to recover, and another to try to circle back, and end up in a black hole of a parking lot from which there appears to be no escape. Somehow I do. Along the road, I see a lot of lovely landscape, some interesting towns, and some not-so-interesting ones. I do not stop to photograph any of it.
Eventually I arrive in Castleton and find my lodgings. No wi-fi here. The Castle, where I have dinner, has a pay service, at exorbitant price. I move over to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, which at first glance looks a bit..um...cheesy, but turns out to be very nice, if a bit the stereotypical ancient English inn. A sign on the low beam over the bar reads "Duck or Grouse". There's a pay wi-fi network here, too, if not so pricey as at the Castle. Not tonight. What is it with England? Everywhere I went in Scotland, with the exception of Isle of Whithorn (too close to England!), had free wi-fi. And what is it with me? When I first started coming over here, I had just got online, and was content to check my email twice in a month. Now I get antsy if I miss a day...although just now it's probably as well to be away from it for a bit.