Jun 4 2010

Grange Over Sands

Everyone loves a good bakery. Seriously, everyone. We are not talking your flaccid squishy Greggs pasties with their slushy acidic filling but a proper non-chain bakery with green trim and windows with baskets of goodies in. A long counter where hikers queue for sandwiches for picnics, and piles of pastries, cakes and pies topple like an anorexic’s wet dream. And not your normal French horns and dry cheese and onion pasties containing a thin floor of dense mush with a cavernous pastry hall of air.

We are talking vegan dragon pie, cottage cheese, spinach and almond pasties, beestings (a custard filled bread bigger than my head) Cumberland Rum Nickies (an oozing delight I regret not purchasing with the bitter regret of one who has accidently smothered their firstborn) and knobbly squat loaves. Hazelemere Café and Bakery is an Aladdin’s cave of calories.  And my reassuringly heavy bag containing two pasties and two cakes comes to just a fiver.

Grange Over Sands is so genteel it makes Windermere resemble Brixton. Everyone has politely flocked here determined to have a ‘simply lovely day’ and nothing, nothing is going to stop them. Apart from slow service at a tearoom.

It is interesting for the lack of actual sand, a seaside holiday town where the sea is reassuringly far away and unthreatening. There are no fag butts in the sand here because Grange has cunningly got rid of the underclass with their noisy shrieking kids with lurid plastic accessories by having an estuary instead with dead crabs and rare birds stretching prehistorically in its vast human unfriendliness down to the far away flickering of the bay.

Looking across you can see the ghostly bulk of Barrow Upon Furnesses’ decaying industry but here is all old-fashioned pleasantness, grey rinses, unflattering floral skirts and Christian fish logos on B and B’s advertising morning coffee instead of happy hours.  Even the  ‘sea side’ train station looks like it was stolen from a model railway and of course comes with attached antiquarian bookshop.  A memorial park stretches along side with waddling ducks and babies, ponds, flowers and a lone sulking emo in black on the bandstand.

Up the high street lie more tearooms, ironmongers, grocers, all the lovely old fashioned shops one would expect here-although I suspect a Tesco’s MUST lurk somewhere nearby for the more prosaic. A pub advertising Sky Sports and house doubles is a delightful abnormality, my eyes hurt from so many hues of pastel shades.  Ice creams (the nice creamy local sort not horrid plastic wrapped ones) drip down quivering blue veined arms; there are children but nice ones, ones who no doubt enjoy bird watching more than Waltzers with parents dressed in Gap.

We disappear like Alice down the rabbit hole up an enticing footpath and tramp through Eggerslack Woods, empty of day-trippers here, just birds, trees and scurrying in the undergrowth and emerge on sunny limestone pavement far, far above the town. It is beautiful here, wilderness within a few miles of a politely bustling town where pound shop fudge costs £2.75 and where people have gone to get away from it all.

Find some walks and stuff in the locale here

Click for more pics of Grange and lovely neighbour Arnside