We set off a bit later than originally planned, starting off in grey skies and drizzle. By the time we reach Birmingham, the roads and the weather were clearing – we took the new M6 toll for the first time and found it very smooth and fast. Despite this, we are arrived at our first stopping place at 1.30. I took Emma to see Alsager, scene of my university stomping ground – we were just too late for a bacon and mushroom oatcake from the famous Barry’s Pantry, so I bought a pack of 12 for £1.60 to make some for here when we get to Scotland.

Then we drove through the campus, and I was alarmed to discover that Woodiwiss East (and North, South, Bridge and West too) was no more – flattened to the ground – and we continued on my old 5-mile cycle ride along country lanes over, under, and over again, the M6 to Sandbach where I used to go shopping and we had our picnic lunch.

I took over the driving then, up the M6 through Manchester, uneventfully, and into the Lake District. Arriving at Windermere, we passed through it quite quickly and never really saw much of the lake as we drove north to find our B&B in Ambleside. Right in the centre of town we managed to get given free parking at the back as we were staying two nights. When Emma explained that it was the beginning of our honeymoon immediately upgraded our room to the family sized one at the front. Very nice.

OUr first night’s meal c/o of Lucy, was at the reccommended Priest’s Hole restaurant, and whilst our starters of prawns and potted shrimp were good, our main courses were not so good, and it was too hot in their to.