My weekend break in the Lake District: From Lancaster to London [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]


“Chris, where the hell are you?” he yelled down the phone once he answered.

“I’m, well, I’m not quite sure how to break the news to you…” I was growing hot and began tugging at my collar. Should I say I was ill in bed? Or should I just confess to Ed, admitting that I was miles away having a jolly good look around the Lake District and the historic city of Lancaster, thereby being sacked for losing a day of work?
“’You at home?”
“No, you’re not, ‘cause I sent Richard round at lunch to see where you were and there was no answer. So where are you, ‘you still at your parents?”
“For Christ’s sake Chris, where are you, run away to the middle of bloody Spain?”
“I’m actually in Lancaster.” There it was, the truth. It had been told. Now I had to face his surprise, shock and anger.
“You’re where?” I could hear the shock in Ed’s voice as it went three pitches higher.
“Lancaster. Well, I have been for about an hour and a half. Before that it was Hawkshead, then Sawrey and before that it was Windermere.”
“Where are all these bloody places?”
“There in the, erm, Lake District.”
“Why the bloody hell are you in the Lake District when you’re supposed to be in the office?”
I gave a small laugh. “Well, funny story. I got back to my bedsit and I couldn’t sleep ‘cause of that radiator I told you about, so on the spur of the moment I decided to take a trip up to Windermere.”
“You what? You decided to take a trip to where just because you couldn’t sleep? Let me tell you something Chris. When you can’t sleep you get yourself an eye mask, maybe stuff some cotton wool into your ears. Make yourself a nice mug of warm milk and then go to bed. Or you go and kip on a mate’s sofa. What you don’t do is go gallivanting around the opposite side of the bloody country.”
When he put it like that, he did have a point.
“I’m sorry,” I mumbled. It was the least I could say. I was glad I was doing this over the phone rather than face to face because glancing at myself in the rear view mirror, I had turned beetroot red and my glasses were beginning to steam up. Plus my hair still looked terrible from the Windermere boat trip where it had got a bit windswept.
“Yeah, you will be if you don’t get down here right now. I want you working in the office tonight.”
I cleared my throat. “Slight problem there. It’ll be hours before I get back to London.”
I heard the groan on the other end of the line. “Right, just get your backside down here as soon as possible. I want you in at eight tomorrow morning and I don’t care if you’ve had no sleep. You’re working an extra day as well to make up for this. I’m not going to punish you too much but I am mad with you. See you tomorrow morning.”
He hung up. Taking a deep breath, I started the car and quickly began on my journey back to London. Funnily enough, I didn’t feel guilty at all. I deserved this trip. I’d worked like a dog for the last three months and what’s more, I just couldn’t have faced writing that review if I hadn’t had a break. So I didn’t mind working the extra day....

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