Wednesday 21 July
A very warm train journey brought me north to Darlington. Had to wait for a bus to Richmond, from where a taxi took me to Hurst. Like a year ago, I was waiting outside 3 Shiney Row for mum and dad to appear - who were very surprised to see me.
Thursday 22 July
Dad took me round by car, as mum preferred to sit at home and watch the birds and the landscape of the moorland. We drove to Reeth, Tan Hill, Brough, Middleton-in-Teesdale, Barnard Castle and back via the Stang Road to Hurst. Had a cuppa in Middleton. It was a nice, bright day.
Friday 23 July
In the morning, mum and dad took me back to the station at Darlington. As the southbound express moved away from the platform, I saw mum's face looking at me, until she disappeared from sight.
I am writing this 11 years later, and I was not to know that I would never meet my mother again in this life. She passed away in May 2008.
At York, I left the London-bound service, and changed into a train to Leeds. There, I joined the local service which would take me to Carlisle via Settle. A bright and sunny day. Stayed in a B&B on Warwick Road, just outside the city centre.
Saturday 24 July
Pouring with rain, as it can do in the Lakes. Took a bus from Carlisle to Keswick, where I found another B&B. Explored parts of Derwent Water on foot and by boat.
Sunday 25 July
Walked from Keswick to Ambleside, round the hill. Saw Rydal Water and Grasmere.
Monday 26 July
After taking the bus from Ambleside, I returned south by train from Windermere to London Euston, where I stayed at the Thistle Hotel.
Saturday 31 July
Went to Cheltenham, on a pretty hot day, to meet an on-line contact, Elly. She invited me to a beerfest in the Cotswolds, just outside the town. Was taken back to Elly's pretty drunk - I'm not used to drinking 5 pints of beer!
Monday 2 August
After spending the weekend at Cheltenham, I took the train north Liverpool, via Gloucester and Birmingham. The train company took us from Runcorn into Liverpool by taxi.
Tuesday 3 August
After exploring Liverpool, I headed back to London via Crewe. A two-hour delay en-route did not matter all that much.
Friday 6 August
On my 40th birthday, I took the train back to the Lake District and booked into a B&B in Ambleside.
Saturday 7 August
Walked in the fells around Ambleside, Red Screes, Dove Crag and Fairfields, a walk that lasted from 9.30 until 19.00 hours. Returned to London the next day