EDitorial ± 27-May-2003

Cordial Times

Lovely long weekend staying with A+C+E+R, the family Hopkins, on the edge of The Lakes... which was the name of a controversial BBC series about five years back featuring John Simm... who's currently starring in the gripping State Of Play... which we watched on tape last night on our return from the Lakes. OK, OK, quite enough of that last week.

Item #1: en route to becoming Cumbria, couldn't miss the opportunity to make a brief diversion to Rawtenstall, pronounced Rottenstull. Why there? Being a non-drinker, I felt compelled to pop (geddit?) in to "Britain's last remaining temperance bar", i.e. a pub with no beer.

Dandelion & burdock, black beer & raisin, blood tonic, lemon punch with ginger, cream soda, Turkish apple tea, and not forgetting sarsaparilla with Chinese liquorice

Fitzpatrick's Herbal Health Bar was one of twelve similar bars run by the same family. It's no bigger than a corner shop, and continues to use the same ingredients & methods in its preparation of non-alchoholic drinks. I opted for a pint of sarsaparilla, apparently very good for the digestion, and felt like Bob Hope in The Road To Utopia:

I'll have a lemonade...
[hesitates, adopts agressive look]
...in a dirty glass!
Most pleasant it was too, as was the non-fizzy cream soda enjoyed by the kids. Shelves are lined with jars filled with such delights as eyebright, ground ivy, quassia chips and red sage, all with their own unique peculiar properties, no doubt. A unique place.

Item #2: Sunday late morning found the nine of us in Staveley-in-Cartmel, home of the Millerbeck Light Railway. Bear in mind that The Boy, not quite three years old, has only to see some tyre tracks in the mud to shout "train track!" So the combination of a complete miniature railway, four different engines on which to ride, real steam, sunny weather and a picnic made Boysy one happy bunny.

Top place: incredibly friendly and enthusiastic, only a pound for kids to ride twice, and you get a free biscuit with your coffee!

In spite of repeated slides in the Brockhole adventure playground, much playing with bat & ball, not to mention rolling down a grassy slope, he had great trouble getting to sleep that night. His little mind was still racing with thoughts of Skarloey the red loco, etc. Took about six or seven trips up the (two flights of) stairs back to his bed before he finally settled. Bless.

Be seeing you!