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In the Footsteps of Tony and Cherie

August 2002
We’ve just returned from a few days in Ravenglass on the west coast of Cumbria in the company of Tony and Cherie. Well, not exactly company, they arrived in Whitehaven to see the tall ships one day later than we did, and we got there one day after the ships had, annoyingly, sailed away. I hope that Tony did what we did in the absence of ships, and looked in Estate agents’ windows to see that, in Frizington, you can buy a terraced house for £14,000. The only downer is that you have to live in Frizington which, whilst safe from muggings and with hills all around, is a bit short on things to do, like work for example.
Whitehaven, despite the money being spent on tarting up its harbour and museums, is a very poor and depressed place. I wonder if Tony detected this. I bet he didn’t. Then on the afternoon that he and Cherie chose to ride on the Ravenglass and Eskdale railway, we’d decided to do another stretch of the Cumbria coastal path, which we’re covering in sections. It’s an excellent long distance footpath, though you have to be a bit persistent to deal with all the places that the farmers have knocked down the waymarkers and put barbed wire over the stiles, but apart from that it’s ever such varied walking, and no one seems to know about it, so we saw nobody at all on our eight-mile afternoon stroll in the sunshine, while Tony sat in the little carriage with Leo and the nanny, and Cherie rode on the steam engine footplate with Peter the driver, and whether the excitement of it all contributed to her current misfortunes, I’m not unkind enough to speculate on. At the head of the line they were whisked away in cars with dark-tinted windows and taken to the Woolpack for lunch – not one of the better pubs up in those parts in our opinion, but chosen because it doesn’t involve too many single track roads and has exit by road from two directions – apparently this was crucial in deciding the lunch venue. All the minders had a glass of orange juice each, apparently. The regular people go to the Ratty Arms (yes, really) and drink lager, even though the man will serve an excellent pint of real English Jennings if you ask him.


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