Dave and I don't usually go a bundle on celebrating Valentine's Day - the odd card, the odd box of chocolates, the odd meal out. It's been a difficult week, though, what with storms, gales and work issues for both of us, so we switched off our computers and took Friday afternoon off.
The weather was still lousy with low cloud and lashing rain, so first port of call was the Lakes Aquarium. It's only a short drive away, it's indoors, and we have local residents' season tickets, so it's the perfect place to spend a wet afternoon. And for some reason, it was almost deserted. There was one other family pottering about but otherwise we had the place to ourselves. Tough luck on the owners, of course, but it meant we could wander about and watch the critters to our hearts content.
The display mostly involves the journey of a rain drop from the top of the fells to the sea, and although small, is surprisingly interesting. There's a tank of tiny fish like stickleback that you could find in the smallest tarns; there's another of arctic charr which got left behind in Windermere after the last ice age; there's another of pike, hanging around looking menacing. There are even animals from further afield, including harvest mice, otters, and adorably cute pygmy marmosets.
After a good stomp round we usually head for the café where our season tickets give us 10% off, but this time it was closed. We clambered back into the car and sloshed off down the road from Lakeside to Hawkshead, whooshing through puddles and whooping at the wild ride. The car park at Hawkshead was also deserted; it's possible the weather has put visitors off and it very nearly put us off as the heavens opened the minute we arrived. We ran across the tarmac, straight into the 'Hawkshead' outdoor clothing store, and dripped into their café for tea and wonderful home-made flapjacks. Then it was back home via Ambleside, with more whooping and whooshing, for a Thai takeaway for tea.