Did that really just happen??

I had the most bizarre experience in my local Asda store the other day when I popped in to get a sandwich and a couple of other things on my way home from work. As seems to be the norm with many supermarkets these days the sandwich and snack section with two self-scan checkouts is in a corner of its own, so to save going through two separate checkouts I went to get the sandwich first with the intention of getting my milk and a loaf from the main part of the store and just going through one checkout with the three items, however….
As I was deciding which sandwich to have a young woman standing almost next to me was loading her Asda basket with quite a large selection of them and it struck me that maybe she was having some friends or family round for the evening, but I wasn’t prepared for what she did next. Expecting her to go to the nearby self-scan checkout I was quite surprised to see her go the other way and head rapidly towards the exit doors. It seemed I’d just witnessed a shoplifter in the act but not being sure if that really was the case, and also out of curiosity, I followed her and sure enough she went straight out of the store with the basket full of sandwiches. I immediately mentioned it to the security guy at the desk by the door, describing what the young woman looked like and what she was wearing, but even though he scanned the whole car park with the surveillance cameras there was no sign of her, she had completely vanished so there was nothing he could do.
Finally getting my own sandwich I went to the far side of the store to pick up a carton of milk and a loaf then made my way to the main self-scan checkouts but as I got there I noticed the same young woman already there, though this time she had a couple of carrier bags over her arm. Having seen her get away with stealing the sandwiches only a few minutes before I didn’t like the thought of her getting away with anything else so I quickly dumped my own three items on the nearby customer services desk, told the assistant on duty “I’ll be back for those in a minute!” and ran through the store to alert the security guy by the door. As I was talking to him the young woman came walking towards the exit so I pointed her out, he stopped her as she went through the foyer and I left him to do his job.
Back at the customer services desk the assistant asked me why I’d disappeared so suddenly and when I explained she said “Well I’ll say one thing, you can certainly run fast!” Retrieving my three items I finally went through the checkout though as I got to the exit, far from seeing that the young woman had been detained as I expected, the security guy was sitting back at his desk on his own. It seemed that he had checked her bags and whatever Asda items she had in there had been paid for and she had the receipt, so he had no reason to hold her.
Thinking about things afterwards, and how quickly the young woman had disappeared with the sandwiches then gone back in the store, I can only assume that either she had a car parked close to the exit doors or she was with someone else in a car, enabling her to get rid of the sandwiches before she could be picked up on the surveillance cameras – it all seemed very strange.
There have been a couple of occasions in the past where I’ve seen someone detained by security at the door – I remember one guy had a couple of bottles of whisky which he hadn’t paid for – but this is the first time I’ve ever actually witnessed someone stealing something. The whole situation was so bizarre I could hardly believe it had happened, but I’ve replayed it in my head several times since then and yes, it did happen. Normally my shopping trips to Asda are very mundane and ordinary but this one certainly wasn’t!

Creatures of the camp site

For my final holiday post I thought I would include some of the many creatures which call the camp site and farm their home. When I stayed there two years ago, aside from a large flock of sheep, 24,000 chickens and two dogs, the farm’s animal collection consisted of four pygmy goats, a small collection of hand reared/captive-bred birds in large aviaries and a few ponies which I never saw, however several changes since then have seen the addition of more birds, a couple of rheas, some alpacas and several rabbits.
The aviaries were set back in a pleasant area behind the facilities block, some of them having information plaques attached, while the ponies were in the field in front of my tent and the alpacas and rheas in paddocks to the side. A wide gravel track ran between the paddocks and down at the bottom were the goats, while the rabbits were in an enclosure at the corner of the farm track. It was all a very well thought out set up and reminded me a bit of a small-scale version of a wildlife park.
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Of course I couldn’t forget my own two camp site creatures, Snowy and Poppie. It was Snowy’s first holiday and while Poppie preferred to lie in the shade under the table Snowy liked to stand on  the table so she could see what was going on around us, though she wasn’t happy about having to stay in her travel crate while I took the tent down on going home day.
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A quiet early morning
The golden glow of evening
River view near the site
After having lovely sunny weather for most of the holiday going home day was cloudy and grey. The rain arrived just after I left the site and it lasted until I was halfway home then the clouds cleared and the sunshine and blue sky returned, staying with me for the rest of the day – it was a perfect end to a lovely holiday. 

Yes, we have no bananas

Well not actually bananas but a situation experienced by myself and Michael just recently made me think of the novelty song from donkey’s years ago which I sometimes heard on the radio when I was a kid. Some of you may remember a post I wrote last November when a certain pub/restaurant we went to had no chicken tikka, no chicken pie and no steak pie, fortunately something we both saw the funny side of – well we recently had a similar situation at the very same place.
Just over a week ago, on the Wednesday, Michael suggested that if I picked him up from work at 6pm as I was on my way home from my own job we could go for a meal – it was Curry Wednesday and we could get a meal and a drink for almost £2 less than the price of just a meal on any other day. The curries come with rice, a poppadom and mango chutney, however when our meals were served the mango chutney was missing. On asking the waitress we were told there was no chutney but we could have mint yogurt as an alternative – it sounded a bit yuck but as a dip for the poppadoms it was okay and the meals themselves were very nice.
Two days ago we went back to the pub/restaurant for another curry but this time, not only did they still have no mango chutney, they also had no mint yogurt, and worst of all they had no rice! Now Michael can be funny but still keep a dead straight face so when he came back from ordering at the bar and said there was no rice and we were having chips instead I was convinced he was winding me up but obviously he wasn’t – our curries did come with chips, and though I don’t normally eat chips they actually made a change and the meals were still good.
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Last year we put the shortage of meals down to the fact that the restaurant was closing for a month’s lockdown, this time we can only assume that the lack of some foods has been caused by various current disruptions in the supply chain, none of which are the restaurant’s fault, but with no mango chutney, no mint yogurt and no rice it did get us thinking – if we go there again next week maybe they’ll have no chips and we’ll just get curry!

Harrington, Workington & Allonby

The penultimate day of the holiday and after some heavy overnight rain – very unexpected as the evening before had been lovely – the sunshine and blue sky were back. My first port of call that morning was Harrington, a coastal village between Whitehaven and Workington. As far as I knew there was nothing much there but it did have a small harbour with a handful of boats, and having been caught by the rain after just one photo the previous day it was worth going back for a bit of a look round.
Back in 1760 Squire Henry Curwen built a small quay at Harrington on the south side of the River Wyre (not to be confused with the River Wyre running through the Fylde area of Lancashire) though there were no ships registered to Harrington at that time, but by 1794 there were around 60 ships and trade in the village was increasing. Shipbuilding and its associated industries were established by 1800 and during the 19th century Harrington became quite an important port, exporting coal to Ireland and lime to Scotland and importing iron ore. Unfortunately by the turn of the 19th/20th century a decline in the manufacturing industry saw the harbour’s use gradually drop and the Port of Harrington eventually closed in 1928.
In 1940 the Ministry of Aircraft Production set up a hush-hush Magnesite plant at the former Harrington Ironworks site at the south side of the harbour, which was sealed off and used as a reservoir for the works. The plant extracted magnesium from seawater for use in aircraft components and incendiary bombs; it was operational until 1953 and during its time was one of only two plants in the country. Eventually the plant was dismantled and the buildings demolished and in 1966 the land was completely cleared.
Today Harrington is largely a dormitory town for employees of the shops, offices and light industry in Workington and Whitehaven and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (formerly British Nuclear Fuels) down the coast at Sellafield. At the height of its industrial past the town had five railway stations but now only has one, situated on the Cumbrian Coast railway line close to the harbour.

Train approaching Harrington station

The harbour itself has found a new lease of life as a mainly leisure facility with 14 moorings for boats up to 35ft and 25 moorings for boats under 20ft, plus six moorings for fishing boats up to 35ft. There’s also a sailing and fishing club based on the north side of the harbour and a slipway for ‘trailer-sailors’ to access the water. On the south side is an extensive and very pleasant parkland area where the Magnesite plant once stood and a road runs along the harbourside to a large free car park overlooking a rocky beach.
Halfway along the road is Sea Legend, a sandstone statue sculpted by Shawn Williamson and unveiled in 2000. Possibly inspired by Norse mythology, viewed from one side the figure appears to be carrying a large fish but on the other side the figure’s hand is clamped firmly in the creature’s huge teeth so maybe it was getting the better of him.

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Walking round the inner harbour to the north side I came to the small beach of the outer harbour. A couple of old fishing boats and half a dozen dinghies nestled in the nearby grass and a narrow path led northwards between a pebbly rocky beach and a low grassy cliff. It wasn’t the prettiest of places along there so I didn’t walk too far before turning round and retracing my steps back to the harbour. Round the south side and past the Sea Legend sculpture my harbour walk ended where it began, in the car park overlooking the rock pools and the sea.
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The next part of the day was a visit to Workington harbour at the mouth of the River Derwent, three miles or so north of Harrington. I’d been aiming to go there a couple of years previously but a wrong turn had taken me to a dead end near a wind farm premises at the far side of the port, however directions from Jayne and a previous look at Google Maps had given me a good idea of how to get there and this time I found it with no problems.
A long road took me through an area of commercial premises then a pleasant heath alongside the mouth of the river to a car park at the end of what was essentially a spit of land jutting into the sea. A concrete walkway along the nearby breakwater led to an ugly square two-storey tower surrounded by railings and a staircase; not exactly a lighthouse it did have a beacon light on its roof and it’s also one of the two recognised west coast starting points of the coast-to-coast cycle route – the other is in Whitehaven.
Next to the breakwater was an area of shingle/stony/rocky beach strewn with boulders, not the nicest of places to spend any time, so with just one photo taken I drove back along the road to where there was a lay-by next to a strange circular little building with a conical roof and a boarded-up door and window. This was built in the early 1800s as a harbour workers’ shelter – a workman would watch the tide in the estuary from the shelter and raise or lower a marker to inform seamen of the water depth. The chimney stack is apparently a more modern cosmetic addition.
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Between the road and the river a tarmac path led from just beyond the lay-by and through a grassy area to a slipway and a small yacht harbour where a couple of dozen leisure craft were moored; the tide was going out and many of them were already settled on the mud. Behind the yacht harbour was a longer harbour where there would be more boats, but though there were bright blue skies out to sea dark grey clouds were gathering inland and constantly obliterating the sun. If it was going to rain I didn’t want to get caught in it so I returned to the van; I could always go back to the harbour sometime in the future.
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At the far side of Workington and on the A596 coast road heading north I came to a large Asda store and petrol station so I pulled in there to get a few provisions and fill up with diesel ahead of the journey home the following day. By the time I came out the grey clouds were clearing away and the sunshine and blue sky were back so I continued northwards, and bypassing Maryport I eventually reached Allonby, the third and final stop of the day.
I first ‘discovered’ Allonby at Easter two years ago and was impressed enough to return a couple of months later. To many people it would appear to be just a quaint village strung out along the coast road but delve into its history, as I did two years ago, and you realise there’s far more to the place than you think. Parking overlooking the sea towards the south end of the village, and with views across to the hills of southern Scotland, I walked north along the footpath/cycle path to where Allonby Beck flows across the beach into the sea then walked back south, sometimes along the road and sometimes round the quaint narrow cobbled streets behind.
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On the side wall of the Baywatch Hotel was a 25ft mural which had been painted last year as a tribute to Colonel Tom Moore and to raise money for NHS charities. Apparently the wall was due to be painted anyway so the work was commissioned by Peter Blake who runs the hotel and painted for free by Maryport-based artist Bethany Grey. Now while it may prove to be a bit of an attraction for visitors to the village I have to be honest and say I’m not particularly impressed with it – it’s out of proportion for one thing. There are far better Tom Moore artworks elsewhere – Akse’s mural in Manchester’s NQ is far superior to this – but if the residents of Allonby like it that’s all that matters.
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At the south end of the village I crossed the road and walked along the beach for a while, something which I hadn’t done on my previous visits to Allonby, then returned to the van. With nowhere open to get anything like a decent meal – I’ve often wondered why cafes etc are closed on Mondays, don’t people eat on those days? – I went across to Twentyman’s shop and got a sandwich and can of Coke which I demolished in the van while looking at the view in front of me.
I don’t know what it is about Allonby but I’ve really fallen in love with the little place and the afternoon turned out to be so lovely that I felt reluctant to leave. I would have liked to stay to see the sunset but although it was gone 6pm that was still hours away so after one final photo taken from in front of the van I headed back ‘home’ to the camp site.
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Although the dark grey clouds over Workington at lunch time had caused me to cut my harbour visit short any possible rain hadn’t materialised; the rest of the day had been lovely, and relaxing in the sunshine outside the tent on an equally lovely evening was a good end to the final full day of the holiday.

Frustration and grey skies at Keswick

Although the main reasons for my day out in Keswick during my holiday were to visit the Derwent Pencil Museum and the Puzzling Place I also wanted to stop off at a couple of other places along Derwentwater to hopefully photograph some nice views, however due to the weather and people in general the metaphorical apple cart was well and truly upset.
Things started out well enough with a couple of shots overlooking the River Greta when I came out of the pencil museum, then while I was in the town centre looking for the Puzzling Place I came across some great murals on the walls of a public toilet block – rather an unusual building to find street art but at least they brightened the place up.
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Sponsored by Danfo UK Ltd – artist, Jonathan Hunter

Sponsored by Podgy Paws pet shop – artist, Dan Short

Donated by Cafe Hope – artist, Paul Wilmott

Artist unknown

Sponsored by The Puzzling Place – artist, Jonathan Hunter

Artist unknown

Driving down to the bottom end of Derwentwater after my Puzzling Place visit I turned round at the Lodore Falls Hotel and drove back a short distance northwards to the National Trust Kettlewell car park right beside the lake, and that’s where the problems started – there were too many cars, too many dogs and too many stupid people. The car park wasn’t a big one and it was already full so I didn’t think there was much chance of getting in, however a car soon pulled out of the middle and I was able to take its place behind another car.
Down at one end of the shingle beach there were quite a lot of people and three or four dogs and as Snowy currently doesn’t get on too well with other dogs I kept away from there. I’d just taken my first two shots when another dog came running up to us and wouldn’t go away; its owners were sunbathing by the water’s edge and even though I shouted to them three times to call their dog off they completely ignored me. So I threw a stone to land close to the dog and fortunately it had the desired effect, the mutt ran back to its oblivious owners.
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Giving up on lakeside photography just there I decided to walk a short distance to another part of the lake, along a narrow path close to the road, but I’d only gone a few yards when I saw some people with a dog coming towards me. The path was barely wide enough for two people to pass even without dogs so before they got any closer I gave up, turned round, and went back to the van, except when I got there I found I couldn’t actually go anywhere.
In my absence a small van had been parked right behind me, leaving me hardly any space to reverse, and the car in front of me had been replaced by a campervan with two canoes on top, parked sideways on and within just a few inches of my front bumper. In short, I was well and truly stuck, and not knowing who these stupid people were or where they had gone I could do nothing except sit in the van and hope I wouldn’t be there for too long. Fortunately I wasn’t – about ten minutes later two young men came to the campervan so I started my engine and thankfully they took the hint, moving the campervan back so I could drive forward and get out.
Finally out of the car park and back on the road, and assuming that any other car parks would be just as chaotic as that one, I decided to give up looking for somewhere else to stop and just go back to the camp site, however just out of Keswick I saw a sign for a couple of marinas at the north west end of the lake so I decided to take a chance. The first marina looked like it might be a private place – with hindsight I don’t think it is – so I drove on to the second one and was pleased to find a large free car park just off the lane and with lots of vacant spaces.
Across the road a wide footpath led through a wooded area and past an outdoor activity centre building to the lakeside where sailing boats were moored alongside two wooden jetties and colourful canoes and kayaks were pulled up onto the shingle beach. Unfortunately by then the blue sky of earlier on had completely disappeared and grey clouds were settling over the lake and the hills so my visit was a brief one. I had only just got back to the van when it started to rain but it didn’t amount to anything and by the time I got halfway back to the camp site the sun was shining again.
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Later on, thinking back over the day and the car park situation just reinforced my decision of many years ago to try to avoid very touristy places whenever I can. I’d love to be able to explore more of the Lake District but if that one small car park was an example of what it’s like when it’s busy I’ll be sticking to the less popular places for the forseeable future.

Whitehaven and St. Bees

Day 8 of the holiday and I was tying in a look round The Rum Story at Whitehaven with a later visit to St. Bees just a few miles to the south. Leaving the van in Tesco’s car park close to the north end of Whitehaven’s harbour I crossed the road to the end of the pedestrianised Millennium Promenade where there was a large sculpture; known as the Whiting Shoal it was sculpted by Alan Clark in 2001 and depicts the large group of fish which, centuries ago, brought the town its very first industry. Across from the sculpture a long wall had been decorated with street art courtesy of Young Cumbria, a youth work charity for young people aged 11 to 25; I rather liked the dolphins, they looked quite cute.
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Away from the harbourside and heading towards The Rum Story I saw that several large circular pebble mosaics were set down the centre of a pedestrianised shopping street. Created by Maggy Howarth of Cobblestone Designs in Lancaster they were inspired by other mosaics which had existed around Whitehaven in the past.
The first mosaic featured John Paul Jones, an 18th century Scottish-American naval captain. Born and brought up in Scotland he began his maritime career sailing out of Whitehaven at the age of 13, then after serving on board a number of merchant and slave ships he rose through the ranks to become a commander. After killing one of his mutinous crewmen with a sword during a dispute over wages he fled to North America and around 1775 joined the newly founded Continental Navy in their fight against Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War. In April 1778 he led two assaults on Whitehaven’s harbour with the intention of setting fire to the fishing fleet on the second occasion but both attacks failed, causing the Americans to retreat.
In 1999, as part of the launch of a series of Maritime Festivals, Jones was given a posthumous honorary pardon by the people of Whitehaven in the presence of Lt. Steve Lyons representing the US Naval Attache to the UK, and the US Navy were also awarded the Freedom of the Port of Whitehaven. The King George ship in the second mosaic is a representation of the Whitehaven-built ship Jones sailed on as a young third mate; it was also the slave ship whose launch was celebrated with a large enamelled goblet, one of the finest pieces of glassware from the 18th century which is now on display at the Beacon heritage centre on the harbourside.
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The mosaic of the fox in front of Whitehaven castle and surrounded by running hounds is based on the best surviving original mosaic in the castle courtyard, while the mosaic with the locomotive illustrates the Crampton loco which was made at the Lowca engineering works just up the coast. The first Crampton locomotives were developed between 1845 and 1847, they had a distinctive single pair of large driving wheels and were designed with a low centre of gravity to improve stability at speed on a narrow gauge track, though the design was adopted more in the United States and Europe than in Britain.
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The mosaic with what appears to be a couple of men in a hot air balloon basket actually depicts several mine workers descending a shaft at one of the nearby collieries, while the next one seems to be based on the hare coursing events which would take place on Harras Moor above the town. The dragon mosaic doesn’t seem to have any information attached to it but the last one appears to be based on the Lowther family coat of arms. Walking back along the Millennium Promenade after my visit to The Rum Story I just had time to snap a few harbourside photos before my time ran out at Tesco’s car park.
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From Whitehaven I drove the four miles south to St. Bees and parked in the large car park overlooking the seafront and beach. I’d been to St. Bees twice a couple of years ago but hadn’t looked round the older part of the village so after a walk along the seafront as far as the bridge across the beck I turned inland and eventually came to the Priory Church, though having the dogs with me meant that I couldn’t go in this time.
Along the road and close to the station was Beck Edge Garden, a small but very attractive enclosed space with a statue of St. Bega and a couple of benches set in a paved area. The statue was sculpted by Colin Telfer of Maryport and was unveiled by the local Mayor on September 16th 2000, when a capsule containing a scroll listing villagers’ names was placed in the plinth by the Chairman of the Parish Council.

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St. Bees seafront looking north

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St. Bees Priory Church

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Statue of St. Bega

Beck Edge Garden

St. Bees station

Across the level crossing I walked up the main street until I’d almost run out of civilisation then back down on the opposite side. With only one shop which was closed, a couple of pubs and a handful of B & Bs the place didn’t exactly have the ‘wow’ factor but it was nice enough and I did get some quite attractive garden photos.
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Back at the van I gave the dogs a good drink then set out for my next intended port of call further back up the coast, however I’d only just got there and taken my first photo when the sky clouded over and it started to rain. It wasn’t heavy but it was just enough to make me abandon my plans and as it was late afternoon by then anyway I decided to drive straight back to the camp site; I could always return the following day if the weather proved to be nice enough.

The Rum Story, Whitehaven

Until June 1998 Jefferson’s Wine Merchants in Whitehaven was the oldest family owned wine and spirit merchants in the country. Founded by Robert Jefferson in 1785 the family business traded in wines from Spain and Portugal and rum, sugar and molasses from the West Indies. A large proportion of the sugar imported into Whitehaven was from the Jefferson-owned estate in Antigua and it was from there they also imported their famous rum, with all the imports being carried by their own ships.
The wine merchants business operated from the same Whitehaven premises for over 200 years, then after the last two Jeffersons decided to wind things down and close the shop in 1998 plans were put in place to convert the premises into a tourist attraction which explores Whitehaven’s links with the rum trade. Housed within the original 1785 shop, courtyard, cellars and bonded warehouses of the Jefferson family the Rum Story opened its doors to the public in September 2000 and is the world’s first Story of Rum exhibition.
Authentically designed to show the different aspects of the rum trade from its very early days through to more modern times the museum doesn’t shy away from the dark side of the past – crime, drunkenness and slavery, all fuelled by rum, are clearly depicted and information panels tell of the links between rum and the navy, rum and the Titanic, and how Nelson was pickled in a barrel of his favourite brandy after his death.
An archway between what is now the gift shop and the premises next door led to a light and attractive covered courtyard where I found the kinetic clock which performs every half hour and depicts the way rum is made, from the harvesting of the sugar cane to the bottling of the rum itself; it was seeing a picture of this clock in my ‘111 Places’ book which inspired me to visit the museum.
Rum story courtyard
Behind the clock was the original Jefferson’s clerk’s office, substantially unchanged since the turn of the 19th/20th century. With its high desks and stools, items of office equipment, old safe and hand written records on display it had been the hub of the Jefferson empire for many many years. Although it was free to look inside the office there was an entrance fee (currently £9.95 for adults) for the main museum where double doors took me into an Antiguan rainforest complete with accompanying sounds and humidity.
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One of the busiest ports in the country during the 18th century, Whitehaven had an extensive trade with Africa, America and the Caribbean, and rum and sugar became the town’s driving force. Ships sailed from Whitehaven loaded with manufactured products to be traded for African slaves who were then shipped in appalling conditions to the Caribbean, where they were traded for sugar and rum which were then shipped back to Whitehaven. One of Cumbria’s most famous products, Kendal Mint Cake first produced in 1869, was made with Caribbean sugar imported into the town.
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African village

Slavery chains and shackles

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Rum cellar
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The cooper’s workshop where young men would learn the art of barrel making
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The giant ‘Jefferson Barrel’ could hold 1,720 gallons of rum (7,819 litres) and filled with Jefferson’s Rum today the contents would be worth nearly £40,000 at the current prices. The story of Horatio Nelson’s life and naval career, told on pictorial information panels, was extremely interesting and I learned more about him there than I ever did at school. Starting his naval career at just 12 years old he rose rapidly through the ranks and became a captain at the age of 21, in charge of 200 men in the West Indies. He was respected and loved by all who served under him and after his death at Trafalgar in 1805 his body was brought back to England preserved in a barrel which, although reputed to have been full of rum, was more likely to have been his favourite brandy.
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Many of The Rum Story’s settings are so authentic that they are used for scenes in television dramas and period films, and to see these sets for myself I could understand why as they are so realistic. With three floors of well set out displays and shed loads of information the museum was one of the most interesting places I’ve ever been in, though I couldn’t possibly photograph everything there was to see as there was so much of it. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see the clock performing as I just missed it both going in and coming out and with only two free hours in Tesco’s car park I didn’t want to linger, however there’s a cafe in the courtyard so I may very well go back another time for a coffee and to see the clock in action.

A walk on the wild side

Situated in the extensive acreage owned by the Armathwaite Hall Hotel close to the northern end of Bassenthwaite Lake the Lake District Wildlife Park is only a relatively short drive along the country lanes from the camp site so on Day 5 of my holiday I decided to go along and take a look. As wildlife parks go it’s not a big place compared to many – about 24 acres in total – but most of the enclosures and paddocks were large with wide and well laid out paths making it easy to walk round and see everything.
The meerkats were closest to the entrance so I started with those, gave the next door reptile house a miss, then wandered along various paths round the enclosures. Some of the animals weren’t easy to see or photograph as they were hiding among the various trees and vegetation in their enclosures, and try as I might I just couldn’t see the red panda which was supposedly curled up asleep on a branch. I got shots of most of the ones which interested me and which stayed still long enough, and seeing the zebras reminded me of holidays spent in South Africa – the people I stayed with referred to them as donkeys in pyjamas, something which always makes me smile.
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Yellow mongooses – native to South African countries

Kookaburra – native to Australia and New Guinea

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A distant shot of alpacas

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Grant’s zebras – native to Eastern and Southern Africa

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Dwarf zebu – a breed of domestic cattle native to India

Ring tailed lemur – native to South Madagascar

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Black and white ruffed lemur – native to Madagascan mountain forests

Lar gibbon – smallest member of the ape family, native to eastern Asia

Walking towards the birds of prey aviaries my attention was caught by a loud screeching noise and I went round the corner to find two of the ugliest chicks I’ve ever seen – they had faces that only a mother could love, though they were cute in their own way and would probably grow into quite nice birds. It was the smaller of the two which was making all the noise, it was ear splitting and constant, but eventually mum appeared from somewhere with some food for them both and the screeching finally stopped.

Striated Caracara chicks – native to the Falkland Islands

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Brazilian Tapirs – native to South America

Crowned Crane – native to Eastern and Southern Africa

View over one of the paddocks towards Skiddaw

The final shot was actually taken from somewhere in the middle of the park as I was walking round but I’ve saved it until last as I think it’s a really nice view. The park has birds of prey flying displays, various animal talks, picnic areas, indoor and outdoor play areas, a cafe and a gift shop, none of which I bothered with; I was a bit disappointed that some of the animals were hiding so I didn’t get to see them but I liked what I did see. For a small-ish park it was very nice so I may very well make a return visit another time.