From Keswick to Grasmere #CumbriaIsOpen

The winter of 2015-2016 brought unprecedented floods to Cumbria (formerly Cumberland, Westmorland and part of Lancashire).  Storm Desmond early in December caused much damage.  The main road through the Lake District was washed away at a point between Keswick and Grasmere.  Landslides had also blocked it in the same area.

The disruption to daily life for people in the area was huge.  Children could not travel to school without making a very long journey. The first measure put in place to help was a shuttle bus.

Next a route was created for buses for other people to use., while the road was rebuilt.

I had heard that the bus trip was very enjoyable.  We planned to go.  Then at the first weekend in May we read that the road would reopen at the end of the week.  Our only real chance to go was on Tuesday 10 May.  We checked that a National Trust property in Grasmere would be open.  Car-parking in Keswick proved to be rather expensive, but we were going on an adventure.

The queue for the bus consisted mostly of seniors (to use the US term).  We were told there would be two or three single-decker buses going in convoy.  The weather was beautiful.  It was warmer than usual for late spring.

The diverted route created for the buses took us round the other side of Thirlmere from the A591.  Sitting in a bus gives a better view than travelling by car.  Passengers can see over walls and hedges.  There was a place part way along the lake where the buses waited to pass the buses travelling in the opposite direction.  It was possible to alight and take photos.

There was a holiday mood. On the way back the drivers of the two buses kept overtaking each other on the main road, which was closed to other traffic.  They must have heard some news, which did not reach us until a few hours later.  The A591 was reopening the following day, even earlier than we had heard at the weekend.  We had taken the last chance for this adventure!  What we did in Grasmere is to be the subject of another post.

C is for Clematis

This is my post for the letter C in the  Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge. A version of it appeared for the revised A to Z challenge.  My theme is plants.

The clematis of my childhood grew in a small square of earth, surrounded by a very low retaining wall and crazy paving.  It was able to climb the wooden post by the front door of our house.  The flowers were a deep purple.  Each year Mum used to prune it back to about one foot above the ground.  One year the pruning was possibly more severe.  It never grew again.  Later the post was replaced by a storm porch.

Clematis plants like to have their roots in shade, but to be able to grow into sunlight.  Hubby has constructed a frame for our clematis plants on the shady side of our garden.  We have a few different species, but the first to flower and the most prolific is the Montana shown in the picture.  It has the nickname a mile a minute, because its shoots spread so quickly.


This photo was taken as I was on my way to meet a friend.  I noticed that the sun was shining on it and turned back to find a good spot to capture it.

Some other plants beginning with C, which grow in our garden are comfrey, cornflower (the perennial one), columbine (also known as aquilegia) and Californian poppy.  I associate the last one with my Grandad, who was an enthusiastic gardener even in old age.  I know many people in the USA would consider it to be a weed, but the flowers are bright and set seed easily.

How do you distinguish between plants and weeds?  Are there gardeners in your family?

Sue’s Trifles is also taking part in Blogging from A to Z in April with very short posts.

My optimism was rewarded

The photo challenge from the Daily Post is Optimistic.  Anyone deciding to go on a long outing by public transport in winter must be optimistic.  I made a trip to meet with other writers.  For these photos I was using my Xperia E4 phone.  The photos were more successful than attempts from train windows with my E1.  Interestingly I find that the colours come out differently depending which phone I use.

I’ll let the captions tell the story.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Only three days later this journey would not have been possible. A storm damaged the sea defences with the result that trains had to be replaced by road travel for part of the route.  The first two photos were taken on that part of the line.