In a complete week forecast to be generally grey and wet with the odd smattering of wind, the weather gods smiled on Keswick’s Christmas Day; 25th December dawned dry and calm with some breaks in the clouds. Francine went out with her camera at about 08:30 and I followed at a slightly more leisurely pace about 15 minutes later. Much of the campsite was up and about enjoying the Christmas morning weather which was a dramatic improvement on yesterday. Much of the local birdlife was about as well, being a mixed collection of Greylag Geese, Canada Geese and Pheasants. Given the prevalence of barbecues, the latter would be wise to exercise some caution.
The view down Derwentwater form the campsite “beach” was its usual appealing self. It became more appealing a little approaching 09:00 when the sun snuck up somewhere and tinged a few of the clouds with a little pink. Something other than a decidedly monochrome shot made a pleasant change.
Our Christmas lunch was to be barbecued pheasant; no, not one of those wandering about the campsite but a ready boned and stuffed pheasant from Booths just outside the campsite. How wonderful to have such a fine shop on the doorstep. Loosening myself with a couple of whisky macs, I set about making sure that the bird would actually fit beneath the lid of our portable Weber, otherwise I’d need an alternative cooking strategy. ‘T was fine, there was room so all was well. Gas may be convenient but you really cannot beat charcoal.
While I readied everything for a 13:00 kick off to give time to get the bird cooked in our continuing sunny daylight [it’d take about an hour)], Francine wandered off again to make the most of the current lighting conditions. I went out shortly after but could find no sign of her on the campsite. Now being about midday, the light down Derwentwater had changed completely and entertained me for some time. I used a longer lens to try and capture some detail at the farther end of the lake. A couple of islands interested me and I tried several line-ups which were OK but when a canoe turned up the composition seemed better balanced: this is about my favourite of the set, I think.
Having locked our van, I didn’t wander far for fear of missing Francine and keeping her locked out. Eventually she came sauntering back in and found me at the beach. She’d discovered a different point of access to the lakeside, with some photogenic clouds. Staves generally make an attractive subject and she’d snagged one of those, too. A bit of decent weather really does open up more opportunities.
There’s a couple of mundane items that Booths doesn’t appear to stock. For example, I could see no run of the mill rums, like Captain Morgan or Lamb’s Navy, so I had to go for Havana Club instead. [Shame!]Similarly, we could see no regular Spanish Cava. There was Freixenet, which I personally think is overrated, so we plumped for a New Zealand sparkling brut instead. We supped that while the pheasant was nestling in our Weber.
Once cooked, our pheasant was accompanied by sautéed Brussel sprouts and Chantenay carrots with red chilli and garlic for a little added interest. Oh, sautéed potatoes, too.
Given the prevailing weather system, we considered ourselves lucky; Christmas Day had been a success.