It was this ostensibly simple procedure that made me realize how I had become accustomed to a different way of doing things. I pulled up to a pump at a filling station and stood there for what, to others looking on with amusement, must have seemed an age. Where did I swipe my credit card? Of course I didn’t have to. British practice is to pump the gas and then go inside to pay. How silly of me! But it only goes to show how years away change habits and expectations.
I soon pulled onto the M5 Motorway heading north, and in less than an hour this evolved into the M6. Now I was going places! But not as fast as I would have liked. My rental car (a Vauxhall Corsa) was comfortable, fuel efficient, economical and had a very nice radio. Yet it had the acceleration power of a lawn mower and a top speed of… well, let’s just say that I was passed by everyone and everything. But what was the hurry? The sun was shining, I was on an adventure, and had ham sandwiches and fruit packed away for later.
It started to rain as I passed by Wigan, but that was surely to be expected. Any town for which George Orwell had a fascination deserves a permanent grey cloud above its head. And the air was getting cooler as the road slowly climbed in altitude. Not long after I began to see distant hills and signs to The Lakes and Kendal. With prayerful thanks I turned off the motorway and headed for Kendal, glad to be on an ordinary road where my car could keep up with others. At 1:45 precisely I pulled into a car park next to Kendal parish church. My first stop.