On my second (and last) night in London I didn't last much beyond 8.30 before falling asleep. Although I woke several times during the night, I slept until about 6.30 am so I think I've adjusted to the time change.
A leisurely breakfast, a stroll to Euston Station, an hour in the wifi- equipped waiting room and on to the Glasgow train for my journey to Oxenholm in the Lakes District.
It was a very fast train - not conducive to good photography. The landscape sped past. Nevertheless, it is an enlightening view of the countryside. The train skirts more rural than industrial. Some of it is surprisingly open. I have to remind myself this is emerging from Winter, not burnt by the sun!
I don't have a sense of the geography but I love looking at these landscapes - lakes, lines and layers of cloud.
There were ruins that passed too quickly to capture and buildings that appeared an odd mixture of domestic and industrial.
Passengers are treated to continual contrasts between landscapes that have changed little in a century and those reflecting continuing change.
d There are huge lots of caravans or load haulers, parking lots for vans or cars, schools - and universities that advertise themselves on the station signage (It doesn't seem entirely surprising that Lancaster would be the home of Lancaster University!).
I was met at Oxenholm and transported to the Ryebeck Hotel on Lake Windermere. My young taxi driver, of Polish background, asked a lot about life in Australia and approved of our 'controlled' immigration policies. His girlfriend lives in Thailand where he visits her regularly.
The Ryebeck Hotel was welcoming and efficient. My room, on the first floor was warm and inviting - but required climbing a flight of stairs. The view over the Lake was lovely. It has a spa bath.
I unpacked then met up with Philippa Turnbull who immediately negotiated a change to a ground floor room (" you don't need to 'manage' - you're on holiday"!). My new room is below the old one, with access to the terrace and a lower view of the lake. Although it doesn't have a spa bath, it has a large shower recess and does not require climbing into the bath to shower - a fair trade.
It has a comfortable leather armchair. Unfortunately none of the bedrooms has wifi and my phone has, for some reason, no data coverage here. I am, therefore, sitting in the very warm lounge area, using the hotel's wifi.
The retreat begins tomorrow. It is lovely to see Philippa again. A few fellow students have arrived. There were 8 of us for dinner. I had duck with broccoli and an extraordinary creme brulee with ginger ice-cream and rhubarb. From tomorrow we have the hotel to ourselves - 12 students and 3 teachers. It promises to be relaxed and interesting.