Last week we returned to stay in Langdale in the Lake District, enjoying a week of runny-nose and red-cheek weather. In winter, with the trees denuded of their greenery, there is so much more that you can see and when the sky is blue and the air crisp, the colours are simply stunning.
We stay in a glass fronted wooden lodge overlooking the beck and the views from there, as indeed throughout the rest of the valley, are simply mesmerising.
We also spend an inordinate amount of time watching the birds on the feeders.
At this time of the year it is very peaceful; the number of people and their cars substantially less than in the height of summer. Indeed we didn't have to venture high or even off the beaten track to find solitude, our own little adventure and inevitably a welcoming pub or walkers' cafe at the end of the path.
The eldest accompanied us for the beginning of our stay and made a perfect companion for stretching Mister E's long legs on the high fells, complete with crampons and ice-axes . On my part I was more than content to potter in the valley with my camera.
In the evening however the eldest and I were able to renew our competitive edges with the Scrabble board. Our friendly squabble as to whether or not this would be the year that he would finally beat me was ended by an incredulous draw. Maybe I do need to work hard to keep my brain sharp in retirement (or alternatively to avoid playing word games after a visit to the pub), if I am to return to victorious ways in future.
Midweek, an old friend from university days and her husband joined us. They are accomplished walkers who regularly walk distances that I have rarely undertaken in the last 3 decades. Over a two day period they led us up, down and across three valleys. When it was time to wave them off, I could hardly shuffle to the door. They are a few years ahead of us in the retirement stakes but certainly demonstrated to us the health benefits of walking regularly.
At least my knees which have been a source of pain and consternation for a number of years have strengthened with all my efforts at the gym, hopefully boding well for the future.
Nevertheless our consequent plans to fit a long walk into our own weekly schedule were sadly scuppered for the current week when Mister E pulled his back whilst putting our bags into the car ready to return home!