Wednesday, 20 July 2016

“A Brief Encounter”? – No Way!!

Not that we were wishing for it, but we thought that when we ventured across to the east of the Pennines this year, it might be fairly “quiet” as far as meeting up with people was concerned. Well, very wonderfully, that was not to be the case. Our sojourn in pretty little Skipton has been a ‘hot bed’ of marvellous encounters.
Last Friday cruise friends Pam and Geoff drove over to see us from their home in the Lake District and we had a grand catch-up with them when they took us for a lovely lunch at “The Tempest” out in the country close to Skipton – and the pleasure of their company was to be continued in a few day’s time!
On Saturday evening our Yorkshire-based boat friends Anne and Chris (owners of “Chance’s” opposite twin “Snail’s Pace”), took us for dinner at “Le Bistro” in Skipton. Although we’d briefly caught up with Chris a few days earlier it was a great pleasure to meet up with Anne again after quite some time (and, of course, Chris again!).
We finished the evening off with Chris and Anne coming back to “Chance” for coffee. We have Anne and Chris to thank for suggesting their local boatyard for our recent propeller change. It was wonderful to see them both again.
On Sunday morning, just as we were about to get on the train and visit Saltaire (which we’d not been able to stop at on our canal journey to Skipton), a phone message came through “Which pub are you in?!”. It was friends Chris and Lyn, who’d travelled from their home in Bolton hoping to surprise us – which they most certainly did! It was perfect timing as, a few minutes later, and we’d have been on the train.
It was an absolute “no brainer” decision to meet up with them. They were in the town and only five minutes walk away and Saltaire could wait for another day. We had a couple of drinks in the old “Cock and Bottle” ……..
……….. before moving round the corner to the lovely ginnel pub the “Wooley Sheep” for a spot of lunch.
The “Wooley Sheep” had been recommended to us for really good food by boating friend John Mckinneley. Thanks John – you were right!
After lunch Lyn and Chris came back to “Chance” where we spent a lovely relaxing afternoon in the sunshine. (We’d only just moved a mile back up the canal from Skipton to Snaygil Boats that morning to put “Chance” on their moorings for a week). It was indeed a great and spectacular surprise to see Lyn and Chris and we enjoyed their company and catching up with them enormously.
On Monday morning we were using the train again – this time we did get aboard! Our destination this time though was the Lake District, taking up an invitation from Pam and Geoff to join them and some of their friends at Cartmel races. The journey required us to change trains at Carnforth. Made famous as the station used in the film “Brief Encounter” most of it really has been kept in the original era. The tea rooms were very atmospheric.
Rather sadly though, an awful awning (probably from the retched 60’s) has been erected in front of the station buildings. It makes everything dark and totally obliterates the lovely original frontage. A glass and cast iron construction would be a great improvement and we can only live in hope!
One fascinating gem is the very large station clock which has a remote winding mechanism to one side. The weights can be seen inside the cast iron cabinet and the drive spindle stretches across to the clock. (it was five minutes slow but we’ll forgive this lovely old relic for that!)
Nearing the end of the journey, and approaching Grange-over-Sands, we had a great view out towards Morecambe Bay as we crossed the causeway.
We arrived at Cark station and took a shuttle taxi to the racecourse at Cartmel where we met up with Geoff and Pam and friends at their regular spot in the members enclosure.
In their true style Pam, and friend Chris, had provided the most enormous five course picnic starting with Champagne and ending with coffee.
The wonderfully relaxed atmosphere enticed most of us to have a bit of a flutter, resulting in quite a few wins for a lot of us. Nothing, of course, that will be changing any lives!
After a marvellous afternoon at the Cartmel races we all retired back to Pam and Geoff’s lovely home for more refreshments. A balmy evening, a stunning garden and a backdrop of the Lake District fells, it wasn’t just the drink that was intoxicating!  Howard, Chris, James, Peter, Geoff, Chris, Pam, Derek (Geoff’s brother) and Pauline (missing) all trying to relax after a demanding day!
We had the joy of staying for the night with Geoff and Pam amid these perfect surroundings and this was our view from our accommodation, “the Garden Room”,  that evening.
After dark their garden takes on another character with the most enchanting lighting.
Tuesday morning we travelled in Pam’s car, which was very suitable for the scorching and very unseasonal Lake District weather, to meet and have coffee with their friends Sandra and Bernard a few miles away (forgot to take pics!).
After that it was back to Geoff and Pam’s home for lunch and for Doug to feed their sheep which he’d been itching to do since we’d arrived!  Not that the sheep need to be hand fed but they do enjoy it!
They all have names – this is Punch and Sue, and they are all some of the luckiest sheep on the planet …..
…. having the finest care and attention possible! And just look at the scenery!
Surprisingly one of the lambs (black face) also took to hand feeding for the first time. Must have been something about Doug!
Well, all good things come to an end, and Geoff took us to Grange-over-Sands in the afternoon to get the train back home - and what lovely train stations they have in this neck of the woods ……..
……. and what a tremendous journey back!
The last few days have been a whirl of excitement. We feel incredibly privileged  to have such lovely friends in our lives and so willing to come to see us. It’s been quite incredible to have packed in such a range of enjoyment into such a short space of time. Lovely to have caught up with so many old friends and made many new ones.  

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