July 2022



Milo’s been with us for a whole year now, which meant he got to join Max this time on our family holiday in the Lake District:


We returned to Keeper’s Cottage on the Graythwaite Estate, as it was brilliant last year, and it was just as good this time around.


Our trip coincided with the hottest days ever in England, with temperatures in the South going past 40C. Thankfully it didn’t get quite so hot in the North West, but it was still well past 30C, which for me (and the dogs) is uncomfortably hot. We spent the mornings down by the lake so they could paddle and cool off, and thankfully the big old stone cottage did a great job of keeping cool for the afternoons. It was generally bedtime before the temperature outside was lower than inside, making it safe to open the windows again.

Unfortunately for $daughter0 she needed to catch us up in the Lakes, as her school trip to Zambia overlapped with the start of our week in the cottage. Plan A, to join us by train, failed decisively with the 1230 from Euston never really going anywhere due to a track side fire. If only we’d planned a little less lie in time she’d have made it on the 1130. So she trudged back home (delayed some more at Gatwick by another fire) and then had to drive up. The silver lining was that $son0 joined her for the drive, so we ended up with the whole gang in the cottage.


The Lakes were unusually quiet. I first noticed (and commented) on this on one of the hot mornings down at Windermere; but it carried on like that after temperatures returned to normal. Hiking up and down Helvellyn I counted 20 people when I’d usually expect to see hundreds. It was spooky. The two prevailing theories seem to be:

  1. People are choosing to holiday abroad now that they can again (evidence – the huge queues at Dover at the end of the week as school terms ended)
  2. The cost of living crisis means people can’t afford to travel and do stuff in the National Parks

My sense is that it’s a bit of both, which had me worried about the tourist economy, but there also seems to be a demographic aspect to it. Dinner at The Swan Hotel on Friday night was apparently rammed, and the towns weren’t that quiet. So it seems that the older folk who potter about, buy pub meals, and stay in nice hotels might be out in roughly their usual force; whilst the younger folk (and families) aren’t showing up.


I took the old boots I had to get refurbished last year, and the new boots I’d bought to stand in for them. No falling apart problems at all this time around, though I didn’t find the Vibram soles of the Meindl Merans particularly confidence inspiring on wet rocks over Striding Edge, and I did slip a few times on the stony descent to Wythburn Church.


After a good experience with the OS Maps app last year I subscribed again this year. It was great to see that all my saved maps etc. were just there and ready once more once my subscription was active.

Steam Deck

I pre ordered my Steam Deck on launch day (16 Jul 2021) whilst in the Lakes last year, and it arrived just in time for the trip back this year. The device itself is everything I hoped it would be – a perfect way of playing PC games on the move (or sat on a sofa). On $son0’s recommendation I bought Portal and Portal 2 to try it out, and ended up playing my way through them on the ‘hot day’ afternoons in the cottage. I’ve also dabbled with Untiled Goose Game, but yet to try a AAA title like No Man’s Sky (which I bought my gaming laptop to play).

Valve have done a great job of integrating the device into their gaming ecosystem, so stuff ‘just works’. But I’m also impressed with how open it is. If you want to use the Steam Deck as a computer then it’s just a matter of adding a USB-C hub and a keyboard (and mouse or trackpad, and screen).

I suspect the Steam Deck will be joining me on future holidays (and maybe also business trips) as it’s a great way to keep entertained without taking up too much space.

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