Wednesday 30th July 2013: Part 1: Grasmere

"I wondered lonely as a cloud..."

Straight into the 'Bags are Good" shop in the centre of Grasmere (that's not strictly true; we had lunch first as has been the custom on this family holiday - eat first; sight-see later).

Oh yes, Grasmere; surely the most beautiful of the Lake District villages? I completely understand why Wordsworth would choose this picturesque utopia to be his home and final resting place. However, it bemuses me to think what he must be thinking about all of the Daffodil-related memorabilia and tat on sale up and down the main street in Grasmere.

As we were pottering around, I wondered when he wrote this, possibly his most famous poem, that he would have ever conceived that it would be immortalised on a magnet which is stuck to fridges up and down the land (including my own - it certainly does a better job of holding up the Chinese menus than the Peter Rabbit one).

After eating lunch at the quaint "Heidi's of Grasmere" and pointing out to the staff that they are in The Lonely Planet, I ventured straight to the shop that said you could buy 3 'Bags are Good' for £10 (cash only). They were simple bags with a simple print and I chose the following: Grandmas are Good, Stewdents (geddit!) are Good and last but not least, Grasmere is Good (surely the understatement of the year).

Bags and £10 in hand, I stood patiently at the till which was basically one that looked liked Arkwright's in Open all Hours and  tentatively balanced on a plinth in the middle of the shop. But no one was behind the till; in fact, there seemed to be nobody looking after the shop at all. After embarrassingly approaching several strangers and asking them if they would they like my £10 for my 3 bags, Rob finally pointed to a door near the till.

Initially I knocked on the door quite courteously but that soon turned to a frustrating bang and culminated in me shouting, "Excuse me! is there anybody in there?"

The door swung abruptly open and a very stern looking woman with a strong west-coast Scottish accent cried out, "For the love of God! I never get a break and can never go for a pee in peace! Every bloody day!". Stunned (and slightly scared), I handed the 'customer assistant' the money and promptly shuffled all four of us out of the shop.

Like lost sheep, we walked around a little shell-shocked and I thought it would be a good idea to see where Wordsworth was buried. There is nothing like visiting a graveyard after being scared to death by a customer assistant, I think.

Once we had scrambled past all of the tourists to get to see where he was buried, it was difficult to ascertain which one was indeed his grave because a) there were lots of grave stones with W Wordsworth on it and b) Bethan kept shouting out that she was bored and hungry (Hungry! We's only just filled our faces an hour earlier!).

I had hoped that my pilgrimage to Wordsworth's grave, the local lad from Cockermouth who had done good, would be a peaceful and romantic one. But it wasn't. Instead, I placed all of my hopes on our next port of call - Dove Cottage. Finally, I get to visit Dove Cottage! Surely this will be the most exciting moment of my adult literary life? Nothing can go wrong...



My need to take pictures of signs on this holiday reached fever-pitch in Grasmere. Sarah Nelson's Original Celebrated Grasmere Gingerbread was delicious, mind.



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