Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Roll up for the Magical Mystery Tour ...

When I suggest to my little sister that we go for a run in the car, and I'll do the driving, her heart leaps with glee (or trepidation, I'm not sure which) as she says we never quite know where we'll end up. Once I suggested visiting a well known, well-signposted, garden centre in Ambleside ... we ended up at Dove Cottage, William Wordsworth's cottage in Grasmere instead ... and had a lovely day.  I didn't really need any more garden gnomes anyway.

Going for a drive with me is taking your life in your hands ...not because I'm a reckless driver, in fact, quite the opposite! I'm one of those annoying people who drive as though they are taking their Driving Test for the first time (it took 3 tests for me to rip off my 'L' plates, only to be replaced by a green 'P', which I kept on for about 12 months as it gave me security, and I didn't get beeped at too often) as I don't overtake, speed or do anything untoward, and I definitely don't do motorways! That's not to say I haven't ever driven on a motorway, because I have.  Twice in fact, on one fateful day about 14 years ago, totally by accident ... a trauma I have never recovered from. No, give me a meandering, narrow country lane lined with hedgerows and blossom, and I'm totally happy ... some world famous scenery is always an added bonus.

A while ago, Maria and I went on a road trip around the Lake District.  First of all we made our way to Brantwood, the home of John Ruskin, and actually got there in one piece! After that we just trundled around, discovering places we had never been to before, and as long as there was no threatening rumble of juggernauts nearby, we were happy, just stopping here and there to replenish with refreshments.

Once, when I was learning to drive, I did actually end up on the Coniston car ferry, again completely by accident, but the children really enjoyed it, so that was ok.

Life's a bit of a mystery tour isn't it? No matter how well planned out our journey is, there will always be sideroads to distract us, roadworks up ahead to delay us, and danger at every twist and turn.  At the crossroads, do we take the easy, well-worn road or the superhighway, fraught with peril and the unknown?


Are you a Sunday driver, or do you live life in the fast lane? I'd love to know ...

Buckle up and enjoy the ride!

Love Claire xxx


  1. Well I learnt to drive in the early 80s and I am so glad I did it then because not long after we moved to London! I then began dialysis and had to drive from our home in outer London to Buckinghamshire, twice a week. Sometimes coming home in the dark. I absolutely loved it. Loved the freedom, loved driving fast, loved the big roads and then the winding ones. I don't drive now, don't have my own car any more and have just lost interest. The skill is there should it ever be needed, but because I tend to go a bit dizzy when turning my head one way or t'other, even crossing the road can be fraught at times, never mind driving on it!
    So I have gone from a fast lane driver to a pootler. And love it just as much.

  2. ~Hehe! We always have 'FUN' in our mystery tours, though...Mrs Thriftwood..." Life is all about the journey, and not the destination" they say! WONDER where we will end up on our next trip! Thelma and Louise SPRINGS to mind!! ~ With kind thoughts...Maria x

  3. Oh Mrs Thriftwood what a wonderful post!
    Oh i don't drive as it scares me to death just being a passenger especially when i look up from my magazine to see a lorry wheel as tall as our car eekk!!!,My Steve loves to drive the windy backroads and my sister would drive out of her way to not go round a roundabout with more than two lanes so i would be very happy trundling the backroads with you at the wheel on a Sunday and maybe stranger by the shore playing as we head for a cream tea?

  4. Oh Claire this made me laugh! How did you end up on the Coniston car ferry by accident?! So funny! I'm with you on the dislike of motorways. If there's an A road I'd rather take that unless it's early on Sunday morning when the motorway is quiet. My husband keeps reassuring me that I drive perfectly OK on the motorway but I get so tense and practically have to prise my fingers off the steering wheel when I've got to my destination! xx

  5. I don't drive - I tried it and decided it wasn't my thing - too many buttons/mirrors/other people to deal with - my instructor agreed - I was unlikely ever to pass a test!

    I'd love a mystery tour around the lakes - haven't visited for years.

  6. i love your pics! so much! when we were in the uk last year,we did a lit of driving...we got off the m roads and a roads as much as possible...and much prefered all the little windy roads,hedges and laneways, even getting lost didnt seem to bother us with such beautiful scenery to enjoy.

    glad u had a great day.thnx for sharing!


  7. Oh that is funny, you got on a ferry by accident? I was a very nervous driver who wouldn't go further than the end of the road for years- I blame this on the fact that I passed my test at 18 years old but didn't get my 1st car til I was 30! But in the last 10 years I've been cured of my fear of driving and will now go anywhere; as long as I have my satnav with me - I have a tendency to get lost!

  8. Moi je sait pas conduire la voiture !! Car j`ai que 14 ans ! ;0) Mais j`aimerait bien fair ├ža !! ;0) MAGNIFIQUES fotos!! J`adore !!

    Bonne semaine!!

    xxx Maria xxx

  9. I don't drive, I failed my test 4 times and haven't been in a driver's seat for about 12 years, maybe I'll try again one day. I love to go on a mystery drive, yours sound such fun :) xx

  10. I think I would love to take a trip with you! Sometimes not knowing where you are going can end up being really fun and exciting.

    I don't drive and really wished I did. My other half works from home a lot now so our car is sat on the drive doing nothing. If only I could drive I would be out and about having my own adventures. I really wanted to learn when I was younger and fearless. But now at this stage in my life I think like you I would feel uncomfortable with passing lorries and the like. I am bad enough in as a passenger! lol.

    Keep meandering I say it sounds you have far more fun.

    P x

  11. Life is always fun when there are surprises found on the way! Looks like you had a great time and those scones... yummy! Hazel x

  12. You made my day! I am just like you - over cautious, slow, I have rarely been on a motorway and the fear/stress prevents me going anywhere other than a 15 mile radius of home! Hubby tried to get me doing 'driving projects' years ago - I set out on a motorway in fog to Aylesbury and ended in Amersham - I had got confused and cried as couldn't find my way home - a kind man let me follow him to the route home! Since then I have kept close to my own patch. Nice to know there are others out there like me - I wouldn't dream of overtaking anyone either - it would seeem almost rude! Betty

  13. I'll drive anywhere - don't mind motorways, narrow country lanes, big cities - so long as I am in my own little car and not driving anyone else's. I'm not keen n being a passenger though!!
    M x

  14. Oooh I would love to come on one of your rose tinted spectacle, thriftwood adventures ...maybe i just blumin well will one day...if you'll have and Betty...small black car, in which I drive like a Granny, I have noticed my nose, just lately, getting closer and closer to the windscreen...must get those eyes tested again :-)passed my test at 17, first go, even my instructor thought it was a miracle...can do motorways but don't like them at all xxx
    Just off to get Gran off the bus, thanks for your lovely comment xxxxx

  15. Hi Claire, lovely post, I don't drive as much as I used too as I dont need to in Bridport, although been driving a long, long time, I had to after my dad died young and me and my Mum wanted to go places!

  16. I drive everywhere and anywhere as long as it's in the UK. The country roads can be hard if you can't see over the hedges. Motorways just need care and leave your distance!
    Just love the days when you just set off. Dove cottage brilliant. Have you been to Hill Farm Beatrix Potter- the best place in the Lakes to my mind!

  17. I love being driven rather than driving as it allows me to look at the scenery instead of just looking at the road ahead. I absolutely love Grasmere so I can just imagine the lovely day you must have had - is the Gingerbread Shop still at the back of the church? x Jane

  18. Your trip with Maria must have been such fun! I had to learn to drive for my first job at 17. We don't have any motorways in Dorset and I love going down different lanes to explore!
    Sarah x

  19. What a wonderful post! I would be happy to end up at any of the places you mentioned on your magical mystery tour....they are some of our favourites to visit when we come to the lovely Lake District. I like driving but not in the fast lane! I prefer the country lanes too!
    Helen x

  20. I love driving and magical mystery tours are the best ... you never know what you might find ... I passed my test shortly after my 17th birthday ... my dad gave me my first driving lessons on his Massey Ferguson tractor ... oh the memories ... have a lovely week ... Bee xx

  21. Hello Claire
    I love your post on driving..I can just imagine you tootling about the lanes in your car..
    yes I can drive but I do not have a car anymore, I had to sell it when we lived in Cornwall..
    yes I do miss it, but I have a wonderful chauffeur!
    Thea x

  22. My best friend used to let me drive her car before I got my license up in cottage country on back roads. When my dad set me behind the wheel of his own car, he was surprised at how well I could drive (never told him of my secret earlier lessons!). I love driving (and I love driving fast!) ... good thing, as I spend a lot of time every weekend driving back and forth to visit my dad ... all on the worst highway (401) straight through Toronto. Such nutty drivers all along the route. Your adventures sound like so much fun, and you live in such a beautiful country it would be hard to know when to call it quits and head home! Wendy

  23. Oh lovely! This reminds me of the classic Sunday Drives we did when I was a child, we just mosied through the countryside with no destination in mind. It's a great way to explore. I'm not a planner but I love driving. We actually drove around this entire country last year with a caravan for 3 months - 17,000km! We had a vague idea of the route (there aren't many options!) but there was no itinerary so if we liked a place we stayed a bit longer and if we didn't we moved right on. There was a whole lot of nothing to see in some parts of this country which was a bit boring some but I imagine over there, you have little gems practically around every corner. I have heard the Lakes District is just beautiful and would love to visit there one day. Enjoy the rest of the week. Mel x

  24. I love being a passenger, as then I can look around or go to sleep – not a good idea while driving , but I don’t often get the chance and am happy to drive, although I’m not too keen on big cities, and single track road – why is it that you always meet another vehicle when there are no passing places in sight ? Since being a teenager I’ve hankered after a magical mystery tour holiday, just going from place to place as my fancy takes me . . . one day when I can get a campervan

  25. Brilliant post :D

    I love to drive, anywhere, motorways or meandering lanes, 'tis all the same to me, although I adjust my speed accordingly, of course :D

  26. When I drive are pretty unleashed,
    and always on the highway on the fast lane.
    I really like to drive
    Have a nice weekend
    Love Susy x

  27. I started driving in 1967 (yes, I'm old)and I've always loved to drive the country roads and meander. Now that my kids are grown with kids of their own, I get on the interstate to get there quickly. Coming home depends on whether I'm tired or what time of day I leave. If I'm tired, it's the interstate all the way. If I leave early enough (which I seldom do as I really don't want to leave those babies), I will take the state route and take my time. I use to love the fast lane; speed was my favorite thing but I've slowed down and learned to enjoy the ride.

  28. oh mystery tours are always fun ! and we have such wonderful places to visit round here that we are spoilt for choice. Have a nice weekend...Gail x

  29. I much prefer to be a passenger in a car.I drive because I have to but I dont like it. I am hopeless with directions myself and never set off for anywhere new unless I have my full list of directions from t'internet.
    I can imagine you and Maria thoroughly enjoyed your mystery tours, I would have done too with such lovely company.x

  30. I love driving along quieter roads with plenty of places to stop off, take out my camera and listen and take photos of the wildlife. Alas during the week it is the fast lane but I am not one to overtake too. Why? Because you always end up at the same roundabouts at exactly the same time. The tortoise and the hare always comes to mind. Thank you for such a lovely post once again. I love your writing. Take care. Chel x

  31. I passed my test first time 9 days after my 18th birthday, drove a couple of times in borrowed work's vans.... and that was it! Near 27 years later I haven't driven since and we've never had our own car. A disastrous near vertical (!) hill start shortly after passing my test totally knocked my confidence and although public transport is the bane of my life I don't think I'll ever be confident enough to drive again. The taxi fares I've spent over the years could probably have bought me a Bentley!! p.s. I could just eat that scone - OMG my favourite thing ever! ;) xx

  32. On holiday a few years ago I was driving from Ambleside to Hawkshead and I was so busy trying to leave plenty of space for oncoming cars that I managed to rip a tyre on stone jutting out from the drystone wall. I haven't driven in the Lake District since!
    I enjoy reading your blog and thought it was time I left a comment.

  33. What a super post. I love the sound of your spontaneous driving adventures! I passed my test, first time round, at the age of 19 but was quite a timid and polite driver. In my late twenties, a lorry pulled into the side of my car and sent me spinning across all four lanes of an A road. I've never been so frightened in my life. My car was badly damaged but, luckily, I was physically uninjured. The incident affected me badly emotionally though and I was left quite traumatised. One day, a month or two later, I had some sort of epiphany and realised a decision had to be made. I should either give up for good or change my driving mentality. Long story short, I'm now a bit of a feisty sausage on the roads! Absolutely no sense of direction though which occasionally leads to some interesting detours!!! Heather x

  34. I love the sound of your road trips with your sister! Despite it taking me four attempts to pass my driving test I love driving and am an assertive, confident driver and quite happy to use my horn if necessary. I'm impatient too - that's not good. In life I am also impatient and want everything done yesterday - I know that I need to slow down more! Thank goodness for the kids, they make me hurry less and enjoy the moments.

    Gillian x

  35. Dear Claire,

    Lovely post and how much fun you and your Sister must have driving around your beautiful Countryside on your Magical Mystery tours.
    I remember watching a series of Victor Meldrew driving around the Lake District and it is gorgeous scenery.
    I like driving and never used to mind the Motorways, but now prefer the quieter roads.

    Happy weekend

  36. As the only driver in the family doing quite a lot of miles, I tend to live life in the fast lane, I just want to get there and not waste time in the car. Driving in London is really quite a nightmare. I loved your description of your driving, that made me chuckle. I don't doubt that your way makes for much less stress and I'd love to be along on one of your adventures. I must be less rushed in future!
    hen x


I love to hear what you think of my ramblings and value all your comments ... I will try and get back to you, but am sorry if I don't always manage this ... sometimes real life just gets in the way! Claire xxx