BB1805 : All Cakes and Culture

Thursday 15th February 2018

Is this the shape of things to come?  

The sun was shining brightly in the sky as the BOOTboys strode out for what? Well, actually it was the short stroll from the car to the railway platform to catch the train to Carlisle.  Bryan must despair.  He intended going up Helvellyn despite the forecasts of heavy snow and violent winds plus comments about the benefit of double waterproofs being the only way of staying even remotely dry.  Instead, we were headed for museums and castles and churches and art galleries.

Or so we thought.  However we arrived at the station to discover that our train had been cancelled.  Information was vague as to whether it was due to a jumper or a signal failure.

Whichever, there was a huge line of people waiting to board coaches to take them south.  

I pity those who were anxiously hoping to catch planes.  

And I pity those who were caught standing outside in the queue through a brief but torrential hailstorm.

For a moment we pitied Bryan if he had been caught in it but then returned to chat, coffee and cake in the Artisan bakery outside the station.

The aptly names beers were tempting but we resisted.

The “we” was Tony, Chris and me.

Although both have been involved with the BOOTboys for many years, albeit in Chris’ case more as a follower than a participant, they had never actually met.

However, they have a lot in common as each had a relationship with what is now known as the Three Shires Inn in Little Langdale (as featured in BB1132 : Perfect Pies).


This gave them plenty to chat about on the next northbound train which set off on time so we arrived in Carlisle only about an hour behind schedule.

Our cultural visit started at the Castle.....,

..... not so much to explore the castle itself (though we did that first, shivering in the chilling gale that blew around the battlements and marvelling at the mysterious carvings).....

..... or to sample its café (which we did next for coffee, butties and brick sized helpings of cake) but to explore its Museum of Military Life, mostly focusing on the Border Regiment and its antecedents - A Story of Human Endeavour.  

And a very well laid out exhibition it proved to be. Not too large to be overwhelming but sufficient to give a good impression of how military life changed as they fought their various campaigns.

The next place on our itinerary is the most amazing antiquarian bookshop, Bookcase.  Room after room after room of old and ancient books, CDs, LPs and sheet music piled high.  

We only explored the ground floor and the basement. There is more upstairs but we didn’t have the opportunity to explore further. Thanks to the train problems, Chris had lost valuable exploration time as he had to be back in Windermere relatively early.  Consequently he had to cut his visit short in order to be certain of catching a train that was actually running.  Tony and I had no such problems.  

We moved on to explore the Cathedral and its Treasury.  I wish I had had a look at its Hidden Treasures webpage before we went- it is well worth a prior look.  I am afraid you will have to make do with these meagre offerings instead.

Tullie House was our next stop.  Outside, there is a mosaic of Carlisle's motto of


together with the city's two coats of arms.

Inside, there is an exhibition of the work of Percy Kelly that had had good reviews so we decided to pop in and have a look.  


What a sad man he must have been.  His early pictures are rather Lowry like but with very little colour and, unlike Lowry, no people whatsoever.  Nor dogs, cats, cows, sheep birds or any other living creatures.

For more information visit the Percy Kelly website

Later he took to wearing women’s clothes.  He changed his name to Roberta and a new style emerged, becoming more floral and colourful.  But still no creatures. The most lively things seemed to be his many decorated letters but unfortunately it was difficult to examine them properly.  

Across the foyer is the Tullie House museum.  I was amazed at how big and varied it is.  

It merits a much longer visit than we had time to devote to it.  Or perhaps, more manageably, it merits several shorter visits.  We just focused mainly on the Border wars and the Vikings and that took us long enough.

There was the opportunity for young children to draw and then clip their impressions of Vikings to the wall so this 70 year old child added his.  

Not many people know that Kilroy was actually a Viking.


It was time for us to return home although we were unsure what train we would be able to catch.  It is a good job Tony was with me as I was about to leap on a London bound train till he pointed out that it didn’t actually stop at Oxenholme. Fortunately, not long afterwards (just time for a coffee and cake), there was one that did.

So is this the shape of things to come?  If so, then the culture will no doubt broaden my mind but the volume of cake consumed is going to radically broaden my belly.

As I said in my last report "I must get back into proper action again next week!"

Don, Thursday 15th February 2018

Afternote:  Subsequently I discovered that there is currently a Percy Kelly Display in Abbott Hall, Kendal.  This is smaller but just as enjoyable and features several illustrated letters that were sent to the former Chairman of the erstwhile Kendal based Provincial Insurance, Peter F Scott.

Afterafternote:  The Guardian has an interesting Percy Kelly webpage.



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Comitibus Chris, Tony, Don



BB1805 : All Cake and Culture


Thursday 15th February 2018


Carlisle Castle, The Bookcase, Carlisle Cathedral, Tullie House

Distance in miles:


Height climbed in feet:



Chris, Don, Tony

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