Friday, 2 September 2011


by Earlie Doriman
One of the campsites at Lake District. We joined the excitement
and fun with our friends who spent a four-day holiday here.
As I mentioned in my last post, an awkward experience on our way back from the Lake District gave me both laugh and fright to recount. It was not heartbreaking though, but to me and my wife who brought our two very young children, the episode was something I wished did not happen at all.
To start off the day, my youngest son who is nearly two years old woke up around 5:00 in the morning and without any possible option, I have to oblige myself to open my eyes and defy the laziness, then take him downstairs to simply stop him from crying and cause my other son to get up too. Anyway I thought, we were going to pick up my wife who worked night shift as a nurse so at least I have ample time to prepare. At exactly half past seven, we were on our way to Fairfield Hospital which is 15 minutes drive from our home, there we waited for few more minutes then my eldest son saw his mommy walked towards where our car was parked.

The captivating beauty and majesty of Lake District
From the hospital, we went back home to get few things as we decided to go to the Lakeland ( Lake District) where many of our family friends were already enjoying the second day of their holiday camp out. We should have been with the group the day before if it was not of the night shift my wife was unable to dispose. Using the motorway where you can speed up to an average of 80mph, Lake District was about two hours drive from our place in Rochdale, Manchester. It was my first time to drive to Lake District but since we were guided by a SATNAV, the steer was convenient and we easily found the campsite to join our friends who only spoke about the wonderful time they had and the endless admiration about the imposing beauty of Lake District.

TIPI (read as teepee): a traditional conical tent
with a modern touch and ambiance
Personally, I could not find any speck to disagree because from the moment we got the view of the place I was already awed with soaring amazement. Everything was like put in proper order and the colours of green around the lovely waters were simply spectacular. Yes, the campsite was a class with different camping shelter to choose from. Most beautiful is the TIPI (read as ‘teepee’), a conical tent which I could easily associate to the primitive dwellings of Native Americans ( I hope I get this right), but unlike the traditional tipi which is normally covered with animal skin, the campsite tipi is covered with durable canvas. It has its own heater and gas regulated stove, well insulated but I guess it contained an adjustable opening at top and a smoke flap to allow the occupants to cook inside.
Our friends in their colourful american
indian-inspired headdress
Many campers assembled their respective tents and at random green fields, tents blossom like life of celebration. Under the shade of emerald forests are brilliant cottages of various sizes and shapes. The campers were such a bunch of happy faces wearing a sincere smile and one could obviously see the satisfaction in every heart.
Walking a mile or so, we found ourselves mesmerized by the grandeur of the a lake that opens a more stunning scenery of mountains and hills from a distance dotted with gorgeous white buildings that adds the exquisiteness of Lake District. The boats and yachts floating steadily on the massive Windermere were pure attractions that spell extraordinary luxury. Everything there is God’s perfect creation and I did not mind carried away by the spellbinding stillness that it abounds.
My two sons having a cool break at an
Ambleside cafe. 
We went back to the campsite and enjoyed a very hearty dinner, whilst the kids were so happy running around and exploring the science and life at a nearby stream, we filled the space laughing, barbecuing, and more.. more…more..eating.
My youngest son Thomas Miguel
But for us, time flew very fast as we were not staying overnight. My eldest son begged to stay but with an awful lot of explaining, he was persuaded to go home. We were tempted to and our friends have insisted us to stay but we were really there just for a day and we needed to get back home as I was to read at the morning Sunday mass the following day. We bid goodbye to them as we slowly savoured a very memorable day at Lake District. From the campsite, we went to Ambleside Pier and continued to enjoy the rich countryside and panorama, sat down in an open café, ordered fish and chips, and after an hour we headed back to the car park and prepared ourselves for a two hour drive back home. We abandoned the idea to get a glimpse of the Coniston waters as it was quarter to seven in the evening.
I checked again the SATNAV as it was an indispensable lifeline on the road. Destination checked and it displayed the graphics of the route towards home – I believed it was in perfect condition.. I made myself ready and listened to the instructions then off we went. It said ‘turn right in 100 yards’, then many more instructions came after another. After around 30 minutes, the SATNAV seemed unconcern and it stopped giving me directions to which road I should race. So I asked my wife to press the speaker button to double check if it was accidentally muted but it was not the problem. She tried to fix it but to no avail as the SATNAV indicated it was unable to locate GPRS signal. We don’t have a map in our hands, and we could not ask anyone. We were simply bugged down, nevertheless the speed has to pick up.
I was already on the motorway following my instinct of the signs and familiar names that I noticed in the morning. My wife and I were quite confident then that we were on the right track. The SATNAV was of no help anymore, it was still silent. We were expecting to arrive home at quarter to nine in the evening. My eldest son was busy remembering and talking about what he did on the day whilst my other son was fast asleep. More than an hour on the motorway, I felt uncomfortable and keep suggesting to my wife that we might have gone the wrong way. My wife felt the same way and we just kept looking at road signs and names to confirm our suspicion. It was an unfriendly night, heavy rain met us and the visibility was really bad. Until we saw a very big sign which said ‘ SCOTLAND’.
In simultaneous jump of our reaction time, my wife and I exclaimed, SCOTLAND!!!
We were indeed and in fact on the wrong motorway. It was officially confirmed, And the first dictate of my impulse was to get off at the next exit which I did eventually. I hoped that the exit would lead us to a town so we could pull over and check the SATNAV. In uncertain circumstances like that, I reminded myself to remain cool, calm and collected and just focus on road signs that might provide us hope homeward. After five miles, I needed to pull over, the hope to finding our way home became dimmer as we only saw expanse of lonely farms..farms…farms.. and the night nearly took over the daylight. Honestly, I was afraid at that time. I thought we were the only moving creatures around and my mind was slowly crowding with terrifying movie scenes..of people lost in the wilderness….of vampires looking from a distance…or some sort of serial killers along the road. I steered back and stepped the accelerator quickly to take us back to the motorway. My eldest son sensed that something was not right when he asked; ‘What happened Dad? Are we on the wrong way? Are we not going home yet? Deep inside I was deeply sorry for our two kids. But At least there were cars along the expressway and we felt consoled about the thought that there were people moving too.
The next plan was to stop at the nearest service station to ask for assistance. After three miles, I was able to breathe naturally as we saw a sign for a COSTA service not far ahead. With a feeling of joy and relief, I turned the car to the service entrance and found ourselves with a faithful smile…but only for a very short moment because I realized we were into a lorry quarter. At that time, finding our way back was more that mattered to me so I was not bothered anymore. I refueled at the gas station and at the till I politely asked directions from the cashier who by the way had a Scottish accent when he said; ‘Oh sorry I dunno’.
Matthew and Gaeia
But God was indeed traveling with us, the kind lady at the next till was more than willing to help us out of the unwanted adventure. I told her that we should be going to Manchester but got the wrong way and we were obviously close to Scotland. I remembered an adage by William Hazlitt which said ‘A gentle word, a kind look, a good-natured smile can work wonders and accomplish miracles’. She smiled at me but was so thoughtful about us and told me that we should be on the M6 southbound. I smiled back in regret and asked her how we could go back to the right track. At that moment, I understood that God offered me the kindest person I have ever met in my life and I could not possibly thank her enough when she allowed us to use their exclusive road towards the other side of the service station and led our way to M6 southbound. The next thing I knew, we were heading back to Manchester and my wife was genuinely relieved and thankful. My two sons were already asleep when the SATNAV found a new signal of hope and started to give me a fresh wisdom of direction.
God is with us all this time and he sometimes has his strange ways to remind us that his miracles are boundless and thus they work always. I am grateful that he was there to protect us in our most uncertain predicament and continues to show that nothing is impossible in prayers. David Wilkerson said; ‘How quickly we forget God's great deliverances in our lives. How easily we take for granted the miracles he performed in our past’.

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