Day 1 – Driving
We finished packing the car and left Royston at 11. We then stopped for a McDonald’s breakfast and Chelsea picked up a balloon. We then drove on to Cawley services where Dad and Joe swapped over driving. Joe drove for an hour through heavy traffic in Birmingham. Then Chelsea needed a wee so Joe and Dad swapped over again. After a few more hours we finally arrived at Newbiggin-on-lune and found our cottage in the dark. Dad went off for a walk because he needed some space but couldn’t find a co-op. We all unloaded the car. We then got set up with the WiFi and found that the co-op was in Kirkby Stephen, 6 miles away. Joe, Chelsea, and Mum then drove to co-op and picked up some milk and dinner; pasta carbonara, and some breakfast. There was a 15% incline and decline on the way there but Joe was sensible and didn’t fall down the hill. We got back and Mum cooked dinner whilst we all unpacked. Dad wasn’t very impressed with the 3 channels on the TV. We sat at the dinner table to have dinner together for the first time in 5 years. Then we played dungeons and dragons which Joe got for Christmas. Joe wanted to kill everything and everyone and Josh said he had to play his character, neutral good. Josh was a very good dungeon master and we all kept talking lots. Then we went to bed.
We got up early (stoopid o’clock according to Josh). We headed out and drove to Honister Slate Mine which was booked for 10:30. Mum and Chelsea had lots of kittens because the roads were very very narrow. We followed an open-top bus. When we got to the mine it was very steep, so much so the car struggled to make it up the hill.
Walking from the car to the entrance, less than 100 yards, we got absolutely drenched. We walked in and went through to the shop where we had to sign in for our mine tour. Then we waited around the shop for half an hour. Josh and Dad and Chelsea all found something to buy at the end. Then we were called through to our “holding pen” where we met Donald the mine tourer aka minotaur. He chatted on about something and we put hard hats on. Then we got a bus even further up the mountain and walked into the slate mine getting even more drenched. The mine was quite wide so Mum’s claustrophobia didn’t kick in. But it was a lot of walking and standing and very cold and wet so everyone was a bit dead. Donald said we were posh cos we were from Cambridge. We saw dunno wasn’t listening, some caverns, and a lot of slate, and a story about an eight-year-old boy. Donald kept reminding us the whole way through the tour of the 1 million ways to die in a mine. We turned our headlights off and Donald lit a candle. He then asked, “is it anybody’s birthday!?” And Mum and Chelsea said “yeah, actually” and we all sang happy birthday to the other Donald. He then blew out the candle. Somehow Dad blamed Joe and thought he’d orchestrated the whole thing. Later on we explained it was a spur-of-the-moment thing. Joe and Chelsea stole 4 bits of slate from the countryside for coasters as they were £5 each in the shop. We were looking for a big bit for a placemat too but couldn’t find one. Dad bought a birthday pestle and mortar. Chelsea bought a fridge magnet. Josh bought a rainbow geode.
Dad wanted a coffee but we drove on. We stopped at a big boulder and had a little walk and play.
We went to Rheged; a cafe in a mountain Joe had promised. But it was more like a cafe in a fake hill. It was still cool though. Mum was in heaven with the posho food and wellbeing shop. The prices were a bit dear and they added salt to all the cakes to make them posh. Dad had a hot dog with mustard and onions and a roasted white chocolate oat slice. Mum had a chewy soup and bread and a roasted white chocolate oat slice. Chelsea had a pizza. Joe and Josh also shared a pizza. It was green leaves and cold mozzarella and drenched in lemon juice. Joe had a viccy sponge. Chelsea had a chocolate cookie and salt. Josh finished off Joe’s cake. They also had a cinema at Rheged. Joe dared Josh to snort icing sugar and he did a tiny bit and hurt his nose. As we were leaving Josh saw a Mitsubishi so Dad went the whole way round the roundabout to have a look. It turned out to just be a Grandis.
We then drove back the way we came to Castlerigg stone circle. It was very muddy and wet but nice to be with the mythical energy. We offered up Mom Bailey as a sacrifice. Lots of people had put flowers in the middle of the circle.
Then we drove on to Booths Penrith and drove past the sorry looking ruined castle. They had a massive home bargains. Booths is just like a posh Waitrose but northern. Joe really enjoyed it. Mum didn’t like the prices. Chelsea liked the orange juice machine. Josh thought Booths was stressful because he doesn’t like new places. Dad stayed in the car. We got our weekly shopping done and then headed home for the day.
We had tacos for dinner which Joe cooked. There was no taco mince seasoning so Joe made his own and everybody was disgusted. They all loved Chelsea’s vegetables apart from Mum because she didn’t wash it. We had posh Lake District cheese which Josh grated and we liked apart from Dad’s bit had some of Josh’s hair in it. Then we had Apple Crumble for pudding which Chelsea doesn’t like and no-one wanted. It was boiling in the house and the crumble was hot too. Chelsea, Josh, and Dad all went to bed at about 8:30. Mum and Joe stayed up reading a book/on their phones.
Day 3 – Sloshy Joshy
We woke up at 9:30, a lay in for us. We all got ready quite slowly and left at about 10:45. Josh had a crepe for breakfast. Joe had a sausage roll that had been sitting in the car.
We drove to Aira Force. On the way, we drove past Ullswater and Chelsea said she wanted all of the houses. Dad said he could imagine it going like Loch Ness and someone sitting in their pants on the way home. Dad parked at the bottom but Joe said no no keep going so that the car makes it to the top and you can not walk as far. We didn’t have any coins for the car park so Dad insisted we pay when we get home.
We then walked down to Aira Force where Josh had some fun going on the rocks. Chelsea didn’t want to bring the camera so Joe walked back to the car and got it. Joe got halfway back to Aira Force whilst taking a few photos to discover that Chelsea hadn’t brought the right batteries, so back to the car it was again to dump the camera off.
When Joe and Chelsea got back to the waterfall Mum came running and exclaimed Josh was stuck and that Dad had tried to rescue him but had fallen and hurt his coccyx and arm. Joe took off his coat and shoes and went running into the waterfall. He slipped over but wasn’t hurt and carried on getting to Josh. He got his phone and then tried to make it back to shore but the rocks were too slippery and the current too strong. He lowered his centre of gravity and gallantly made it back. Dad and Chelsea formed a chain to hold on to Josh and tug him back ashore. We were all very wet and sat in our pants on the way home. Quite a crowd had gathered at the waterfall to watch our shenanigans and we all had a good laugh.
It was around about lunchtime and we’d driven past Burger King every day so said we were stopping there. Mum got a Greggs baguette and then went back for a Latte. The very northern man said that she could have got a discount latte as a meal so then let her have it for free! Dad and Chelsea returned with the Burger King and we sat and ate it in the car.
We finally got home and all stripped out of our soaked clothes. Dad wanted to stay back at the ranch and rest so everyone else got back in the car and headed off to Keswick for the Pencil Museum and some shops. The driver’s wiper broke about 10 minutes up the road so Joe had to drive with rain all over the windscreen. We pulled into Burger King again to see if we could fix it but alas it was broke.
Joe decided to carry on to Keswick, we’d have to make something out of our day. We finally arrived after having some people try and jump in front of the car when Joe couldn’t even see them. The car park machine didn’t work again so we ended up paying a bit more.
The Pencil Factory closed in 2011 so we only went around a small little museum. We got a pencil as part of our entry price and Josh had a little quiz to do around the museum so we all helped with that. We learnt that in WWII, MI9 commissioned Derwent Pencil Factory to make a pencil with a map and compass inside it. They were £30 in the shop though.
We had a wander round Keswick town. It was very dark and wet and the shops were shutting. Mum thought it was very pretty though and took lots of Instagram photos of the lights. We went into a Toy Shop and Joe said are those Lotties like a Barbie and started the shopkeeper off on one about how Lotties give realistic expectations to children whilst Barbie is stick thin and has pointy boobs. Then we found another shop which had a lot of expensive stuff for your man cave and also a harry potter section. Chelsea was in heaven with £300 stuffies. Then we went to Smiths to buy some string to tie the windscreen wipers together. Joe bought a train magazine to see the upcoming shows and Josh got a Warhammer magazine. We found a couple of charity shops which Chelsea enjoyed browsing in. The good toy shop and charity shops were closed by the time we got to them so we said we’d go back another day and Chelsea entered a flump.
We tried stringing the windscreen wipers together to no avail so Joe drove home in the dark with torrential rain and not being able to see. We luckily made it home in one piece after quite an eventful day.
Joe cooked a fry-up with help from Mum and Chelsea. We had bacon, chips, sausages with cranberry, eggs, and tomato. No one liked it apart from Joe. Then we had a round of Monopoly. Josh was out first, then Dad, then Mum, then Joe. Which meant Chelsea won with £12,853. When someone went out, they went to bed, so it was just Joe and Chelsea left at the end when they went to bed too.
We got up bright and early and headed off to Lake Windermere. It was a nice different route so felt shorter. There were a lot of twisty roads and we ended up driving through a cloud which was fun. We passed the old Booths we used to go to and found a car park. Joe paid on his phone so we didn’t have to fight a ticket machine.
We were running late so Mum and Dad took a leisurely walk to the toilets whilst Joe, Josh, and Chelsea ran off to find the boat and hold it. We got there bang on half past ten but were supposed to be there 15 minutes before for a safety meeting. Mum and Dad rocked up 5 minutes later with no sense of urgency. The man gave us a little briefing and told us to steer clear of the red buoys, he gave us lifejackets and helped us into the boat. Joe drove first and headed out for a yellow buoy that the man had told us about. Then Josh had a turn, then Chelsea, then Mum, then Dad, then Josh again. Mum had kittens when anyone stood up or rocked the boat. Josh spun us in circles and did a slalom through some buoys. Chelsea started heading us back home once she got the hang of where to point the boat. Joe took us in for a smooth docking.
We then wandered up the high street and went into a toy shop and charity shop. We stopped at Bryson’s for lunch for Mum. Dad had an English Grill because they’d stopped serving breakfast and a large coffee but he didn’t think it was very large. Josh had a hot chocolate and cheese and ham toastie but he wasn’t impressed with the orange cheese. Mum had a Lakeside special which was actually a scone with rum butter and of course a gingerbread latte. Chelsea had a tuna melt panini but wasn’t very impressed because it was just toast with a cold filling. Chelsea and Joe both had a chocolate milkshake each which they thought was nice. Joe had cheesy chips without the cheese and a lemon drizzle cake. He didn’t think much of the cheeseless chips but liked the lemon drizzle cake as it had a nice sweet on it which is the only reason he ordered it.
Then we went to The World of Beatrix Potter after walking up a hill and then down a hill for Dad’s benefit. There were a lot of Asian tourists and lots of little kids and it was very busy and there was no information about the displays. It was just some nice paper mache dioramas of scenes from the books. Joe, Josh, Mum, and Dad weren’t very impressed. Chelsea lapped it up and bought a Peter Rabbit cuddly for £30 and ummed and arred about getting a photo taken before going back with Joe and getting 3 keyrings with our photo in. We thought we needed the ticket to get the photos so made Mum run all the way back up the hill as Mum, Josh, and Dad had left ages ago via a different exit. Turns out, no ticket was needed!
Joe and Josh then raced back to the car as time on the ticket was running out. Chelsea came with them part of the way but dropped off to get a Windermere magnet. Mum and Dad made their leisurely walk back.
We drove to Kendal Halfords to see if we could buy some tools to tamper with the windscreen wipers some more. Dad went for a wee at Morrisons first. Joe waited in the car. Chelsea, Josh, and Mum wandered around B&M and Matalan. Dad came back to the car after his wee but couldn’t see Joe so wandered round the shops in a fluster before finding Mum who explained Joe was in the car. Dad then went to Halfords and bought the tools he needed. Joe and Dad fiddled with the wipers for a good half an hour during which time a Halfords man came out to ask if we needed any help but we said no thanks we’ve got this. We got a solution that sort of worked and then drove home.
Chelsea and Josh and Dad all had a nap. Joe played Surviving Mars. Mum cooked pork medals and chips for dinner. We woke everyone up for dinner and sat up the table. We then roasted marshmallows for pudding. We tried some of Tracey’s bubbly but all thought it was disgusting. Dad then went back off to bed and Joe had a shower. Josh and Mum and Chelsea got some glow sticks out ready for New Years’ celebrations. Joe came back and Chelsea had assigned herself the fun police and made sure everyone was having fun. We watched the BBC propaganda and then all slinked off to bed.
We got up bright and early ready to go for our Whiskey Tour and tasting at the Lakes Distillery. We left plenty of time as we didn’t want to be late like yesterday. We ended up getting there 50 minutes early so we sat in their bistro and had cuppa. It then got to 10 to 11, and we had to be there 15 minutes early! So we all had a panic and sent Joe off to book in. We then finished off our drinks and headed out to the courtyard to meet our tour guide. She took us through the buildings and showed us a video aerial view of the river from start to sea and then we saw all the vats where they brew their whiskey, vodkas and gins. The vats were called Susan, Rachel, and Olaf. We then saw the kegs that were either imported from America where they had been used to make Jack Daniels or their custom-made ones in Spain. The American ones can only be used once over there so we get them for a bargain at about £100/barrel. The custom-made Spanish oak ones are between £1500 and £5000 a barrel. Depending on the wood, you can get a different colour whiskey and they had a nice wall of bottles demonstrating this. We smelled one barrel which smelt like Christmas pudding. Overall the tour was very high-end and classy so Mum and Joe enjoyed that very much.
Then it was time for the tasting. We sat around a 5 seater table on bar stalls. Josh sat with the whiskey and gin and Chelsea sat with the apple juice, they then had to switch. We tried the whiskey first which was very nice tasting but burnt a lot once you swallowed it. Next, the lady brought out ice cold vodka which was very smooth but reminded Joe of lots of hangovers. The lady brought out some tonic for our gin which none of us really like but we tried it anyway. It tasted like gin with a hint of orange. Chelsea and Dad both left a lot of theirs so it was up to Joe to get our monies worth. He ended up being rather tipsy. Joe said he could feel the whiskey in his ears.
The alpacas were booked for 2:30 but it was only 12 so we drove into Cockermouth hoping to go somewhere for lunch. Everywhere was closed because it was New Years’ Day and it was also a tiny little town. Then we drove around looking for a farm shop or a pub but they were all closed too. Then we drove back to the distillery to go to their Bistro but they were fully booked so then we drove again on to Cockermouth for their services. Chelsea had Subway. Joe and Josh had Greggs. Dad had a Spa sandwich. Mum had Starbies. Then we drove back to the distillery again and all went for a much-needed drunk wee.
We walked over to the alpaca fields and saw them all following after the man as they thought he had food. We waited for everyone to turn up, then went into the field and had cuddles whilst the man came around and filled our buckets with food. He told us that the skinny alpacas have to wear coats and Mum said “oh just like Joe”. Delilah the alpaca is the best in the world because she gives lots of cuddles and sits down for you to stroke her neck. You’re only supposed to stroke their neck as that’s their favourite and they can’t see if you stroke their head or back. The man told us not to ride or pick up the alpacas at the beginning and a lady said thank you for telling us because her kids really would try. When an alpaca gives birth it’s called unpacking. He also told us that their fur is not flammable and completely waterproof. It’s also very strong and soft. There were a few baby alpacas and one called squirrel. Baby alpacas are called criers. It went quite quick but we all had fun.
We went to the shop and Chelsea bought a baby alpaca. Joe bought some special whiskey glasses. Mum bought a tumbler, and an alpaca purse for Cam.
We didn’t have anything else planned for that day but we stopped at Tebay Services on the way home as Mum had been dying for it. Dad was a grinch and stayed in the car. Mum wasn’t that impressed but we got some mince and milk and a pork pie for Dad. Chelsea found a bauble made of paper for £7. We got back to the car and saw lots of birds coming in to roost on the telegraph poles.
We got home and Chelsea had a bit of a cough so we went back out again to Co-Op to get some cough sweets and chips for dinner and some coke so we didn’t die. We finally got home and had a rest. Joe played Surviving Mars. Mum cooked Shepherds Pie. Chelsea, Josh, and Dad all had their afternoon sleep. We had dinner at about 9 o’clock and then everyone slinked off to bed again.
Josh told us to get up for 9:30 for our walk and we were all ready. It took him until 11 to get ready. We were annoyed. We drove into Kirkby Stephen up the road and parked in a little car park. We then walked down to the river which was very fast and noisy and wet. The trail got muddier and muddier and muddier until we were walking up a stream. Mum and Josh forgot to bring their wellies so ruined their shoes. Luckily no-one fell over. We walked for miles and miles and then came out on a bridge, walked for a few yards more and ended up back at the car! We were all most annoyed as there was no pretty viaduct to see and signs all the way back to the car park asking us to donate money for the viaducts.
We then got petrol and had a family meeting on what to do for the day. We went to co-op for meal deals and ate them back at the ranch. We dumped Dad off and Joe drove us all the way back to Keswick. Mum had a snooze in the car. We found some good parking and went off on a mission to find the charity shop and toy shop that we had missed the other day. The toy shop was alright but didn’t have that many interesting things in it. Josh bought 2 models. We then went to the Oxfam which was big and had lots of our hobbies in. Chelsea managed to get the Kristoff she’d been after, after seeing it in the window.
There wasn’t anything left to do in Keswick and we didn’t fancy a tearoom so we drove on to Long Meg and her Daughters. There were some really fun roads getting there and we drove across a single-track bridge. We drove right up to the stone circle and there was no parking so we just parked on the grass in the middle of the circle. Joe and Josh and Chelsea all ran round and touched the stones then got cold and out of breath so sat in the car. Mum chatted up some hikers and soaked up the atmosphere. We went off home again and finally saw a viaduct and then nearly died when it rained cos we don’t have wipers.
We had chicken burgers for tea and Josh stayed in his room. Joe played Surviving Mars. Chelsea played on her phone. Dad also played on his phone. We lit the fire as if it wasn’t warm enough. Joe, Josh, Chelsea, and Mum had a game of Cluedo. Chelsea won. Josh, Chelsea, and Mum also played Buckaroo and Josh and Mum jumped into the ceiling every time the buck rooed.
Day 7 – Karting
We woke up quite early to go to Tebay services for breakfast. Joe and Josh weren’t very impressed with the posh food but Chelsea and Dad Bailey had a full English while Mom Bailey had a healthy salad thing. We ate our breakfast, had a cheeky morning cake, took a few photos with the ducks and then headed off for our activity of the day.
A Bailey holiday wouldn’t be a Bailey holiday without cars of some form, in this case, it was petrol-powered karts. When we got to the karting place we were a bit early so we sat in the car for a bit and then headed inside.
There were some people already racing so Joe and Dad Bailey were judging them and already working out how to take each corner. We got our race suits and helmets on and waited to be assigned a kart each. We gave Mom Bailey the camera because we knew if she joined in she would beat all of us and we wanted a fair race. Dad Bailey got kart Number 11, Josh got Number 7, Chelsea got Number 12, and Joe got Number 6.
Then we were off! The man who was running the karting place gave Chelsea and Josh the front two karts so that we would have a few laps without being passed by Joe and Dad Bailey. We zoomed around for half an hour at which point we were all exhausted (excuse the pun). We collected our time cards and of course, Joe got the fastest lap. Dad Bailey came second, then Josh, and then Chelsea although she did well for her first time karting.
When we got back to the car Joe was complaining that his back hurt and we all thought it was just Joe being Joe until Chelsea lifted up his top to show a rather gross hole that had formed in his back from rubbing against the kart seat. We didn’t have any plasters but thought lunch would make him feel better so found a little cafe by the harbour right next to a Sea Life Centre that Chelsea was excited about. We all had lunch and then Chelsea got an ice cream for dessert. We had a quick look in the Sea Life Centre gift shop but decided it was too expensive and everyone was too tired to look round so we bundled back in the car and went back to the cottage.
That night as we were all sitting in the front room we noticed that it had started to snow!! Being southerners we all got very excited, Mom Bailey and Chelsea even ran outside to dance in the snow. Mom Bailey then decided that Joe and Chelsea needed to do a snowy engagement shoot as Joe had proposed to Chelsea a few weeks before. We looked on Pinterest for a few pose ideas and then headed out into the cold much to the delight of Joe.
We managed to find some plasters from a small shop on our way home for Joe whose back was still hurting. He refused to let Chelsea put them on his back until we all went to bed. Chelsea took a photo of Joe’s Back to show him how back it was at which point he needed to sit down before he fell down because it was too gross. Chelsea plastered him up and we all went off to sleep.
Day 8 – Leaving the Lake District
We woke up, packed the car, enjoyed the snow, and set off home.