Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Finally, England

My first experience experience of England-the Lake District! Wow, what a lovely view that is!

Our morning began in Dove Cottage (Grassmere), the home of William Wordworth...for 8 years. BUT these eight years were when he produced his most famous poetry, such as "The Daffodil." Our tour guide (who's from California) told us how one night, Samuel Taylor Coleridge decided he wanted to visit his dear friend so he walked 16 miles to Dove Cottage, arriving at 1 am and stayed up talking with the Wordsworth's all night. Why does no one do that anymore? They have a beautiful garden filled with wild flowers hat they dug up during their walks in the country. They actually have a notebook for people to leave notes in, and in the home of one of the most popular English poet laureates, someone wrote "Roll Tide." :/ come on, America...

But it's a beautiful little village with old stone cottages and pretty gardens. I sat up on the hill for awhile before venturing into the museum and writing with a quill and ink.

Next, we just went a bit up the road to Hill Top, the partial home and forever inspiration of Beatrix Potter. Our gorgeous Bed and breakfast was right next door to get home, so I got to spend plenty of time to explore her gardens, orchards and home. They had her differ character books placed throughout locations in the house that inspired them. It's also a beautiful home with lovely views from each window. Then I went a bit up the road under the direction of "follow the trail to Mocs Eccles Tam, more inspiration." Well, here's the trouble. The map said nothing about the trail diverging. So I took the path that called to me. Apparently, it called to me wrong because, while it was a beautiful, mossy forest path, it was not I was supposed to be... A logger may or may not have yelled at me to get out. But no worries! I found the right path, had a nice silent, peaceful stare down with a cow, and finally found Mocs Eccles, which is a beautiful large pond beneath a series of big rocks to sit on and observe. A few people were swimming because it was absolutely beautiful weather.  We had dinner across Windermere lake in Bowness at a delicious Indian restaurant.

TODAY I visited the highly anticipated Brontë Parsonage. If I haven't said it before, Jane Eyre is my favorite classic novel, and getting to see the precise table where she wrote it was absolutely wonderful! This year is Branwell Brontë's bicentennial, so they have an expansive exhibit on his...wild life. But the home is filled with antiques, as well as costumes from the recent PBS special, To Walk Invisible. I had a lovely chat with the volunteer about the Brontës as well as my literary tour and even my book! Then, I moved into the unique graveyard with slabs upon slabs of headstones, nearly touching. I then took another path less travelled by in my determined attempts to find the moors and feel like Jane Eyre. And I did find a moor. Just not one that people are normally allowed's fine. My legs are just a tad scratched up haha. But then we found the actual moors on Penistone hill, and they were fantastic! It was easy to imagine walking there, being whipped around by the bitter winds and harsh storms. I could've walked forever.

This afternoon ends in Yorkshire's Thirsk, the home of James Alred Wight, aka James Herriot, author of All Creatures Great and Small, among so many others. They have a charming museum in his home  with tons of props to make it look as it would when he lived there as a veterinarian with his wife and two kids. There was a fun fact: so his writing popularity didn't take off until his books reached America, and he came on a giant signing tour there. One signing line was so long that he temporarily lost use of his hand! That's the goal, folks.

Thirsk is a quaint, sweet little town, mostly outdoor adventures. We're staying a bit out at the White stone Cliffe Inns, which is a series of bungalows right beside a private farm. So naturally, I've made friends with the chunky sheep that likes to lay against our side of the fence. I think I'll name him Welington. Now, we're just sitting in a pub so the stupid American can access wifi and talk to the rest of the world. It's time to people watch.

See you in Stratford-upon-Avon,

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