Friday evening after a hectic week. Get away somewhere from the pressure and relax in scenic surroundings? Consult weather forecast. The Lake district looking fair and only 2 hours away. Go for it. Saturday dawned grey and overcast. Perhaps the low rumble of thunder should have put me off, perhaps. Three hours of driving North through ever worsening heavier and heavier joined together showers (monsoons) found me at Tebay services for a well earned home made scone and pot of tea. Time to regroup, turn around or press ahead. Even the Tebay ducks were sheltering somewhere out of site. Then a tiny glimpse of blue sky made a huge difference. Press ahead. Arriving in Keswick with the rain lessening and the market open seemed to support my decision and I wandered around pleasantly taking in the unhurried pace of life and the local hostellers advertising their products. You could equip a small army with all weather clothing at huge discounts. I popped into Lakeland Toy and Hobbies, which strangely sells up market waxed coats, Harris Tweed jackets and all manner of hiking apparatus and came out with a warm, multi pocketed Gillette for £19.99, an absolute bargain. It warmed me up immediately such that I began to think about food. Keswick caters for every appetite, the fish and chip shops do a great trade withe the Goretex gang, the inns and pubs serve up hearty dishes for the more adventurous family excursion and there are sandwich and snack outlets everywhere. I fancied something different and came upon Bel Cibo which was just opening at 17.10. From the outside looking in it was attractive, candles flickering cheerily on the tables but absolutely bereft of diners. I don't like being an only eater so I walked around a bit more, suddenly being confronted with a gaggle of Smerfs in blue sheaths, white swimming caps and blue dyed faces and hands. Following them led me to the local rugby club and a Beerfest! Having passed a very pleasant hour I gently wove back to Bel Cibo which by now was bustling. I just managed to get a comfy corner table in the window and, looking at the menu and reasonably priced wine list, realised I had made a good choice. Once on the outside of a superb large portion of garlic mushrooms I could feel the warmth returning to my extreminities and a couple of glasses of well chilled Gavi made sure I was not too heated up. I had to ask for a spoon as the mushroom liqueur was too good to leave. My main course of Fillet Stroganoff was a superb blending of tender strips of tasty fillet in a froth of heavenly tasting sauce , the timbale of rice which accompanied the dish serving to ensure that all the sauce was absorbed and enjoyed. The service was immediate and cheerfully informal, the restaurant bustling and it has a great atmosphere. At least 5 hopeful parties were turned away and asked to come back later, showing the esteem this little bit of heaven is regarded by the locals. I discovered that Lucy is the owner and front of house whilst her husband is the chef. If he puts as much effort into the marriage as he does into his cooking she must be a happy lady, and it shows.
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