It was a misty day in Windermere when I met a friend for some exploration, shopping, and lunch. Now, the Lake District in the north west of England is a glorious place to visit at most times of the year, and on most days, but a foggy one is probably one of the least preferable.
Nevertheless, we decided to continue with our plans and headed towards Coniston Water, one of the largest lakes and, as a result of its long, narrow shape, previously the site of several world water speed record attempts. The road winds its way around the shores of the lake within mere feet of the water lapping at its edge. With the thick fog around that morning, it had a distinctly eery feel and was becoming more hazardous by the minute.
Deciding that this was not going to clear quickly we made our way to Hawkshead, a wonderful village, and host to a great outdoor clothing shop, in which we spent a happy hour kitting ourselves out for the freezing temperatures. From there to the Drunken Duck* near Ambleside for lunch and a bowl of amazing spicy lentil dahl soup with artisanal bread, which I see is, for some reason, no longer on the menu.
Finally, we were replete and ready to venture forth into the cold outside to make our way back to Windermere. On arrival, we were busying ourselves in the street outside the guesthouse, transferring packages from one vehicle to the other.
Now, unbeknown to me, it’s not a good idea to do this while the keys are still in the ignition, even though it was switched off. Completing our task, we stepped back and slammed the boot of the rental car closed, when we heard the distinct “click” of the doors locking… with the keys still inside.
No problem, the rental comes with AA roadside assistance.
A simple call and all will be fine. Only, the number of the AA emergency call centre was on the key tag in the ignition. Contorting my neck in ways that were never meant, I noted the number and at the same time punched it into my mobile phone. I was relieved when it started ringing on the other side… except bewilderingly, the other side appeared to be inside the car!
Clearly, the Bluetooth was still connected and the muffled voice of the call centre agent could be heard through the closed window. Undeterred, I leaned down next to the window and began shouting my predicament at her, sufficiently loud that she could hear me… so pretty loud.
At this point, my friend was sitting on the kerbstone rolling around deliriously for some reason. Ignoring her, I continued patiently but very loudly, explaining where I was and more importantly, where the keys were. At this point, the owner of the guesthouse emerged, wondering what all the commotion was about.
Quickly taking in the scene, he grabbed my arm and, like a madman, started to drag me away from the car. I, equally determined, fought him every inch of the way, wondering what on earth he was playing at. As if I didn’t have enough on my plate. By this time, my friend was in floods of tears.
“Whatever is wrong with these people?” I wondered. “This is hardly normal behaviour.”
Eventually, and only due to his greater strength, he managed to manhandle me far enough away from the car that the Bluetooth connection terminated and the call reverted back to the phone.
“Hello, hello,” the agent was shouting at me.
“Oh yes, hello,” I responded quietly, “I’m still here.”
Bowness-on-Windermere recommended accommodation: Denehurst Guesthouse,