Wednesday, March 12, 2014

North Trip, Day 2: Lakes and Poets

Post-dated: this is yesterday's blog. You've been warned.


Three adventures today: the Preston temple, Hill Top Farm, and Dove Cottage.

The temple was as temples generally are: clean and white and quiet and lovely. In the midst of this clean white quiet loveliness, I had an experience faintly reminiscent of a Marx Brothers movie, in which I changed my clothes no fewer than six times as the temple workers kept coming up with different things they needed me to do. It was a bit chaotic, in a serene whispers-only kind of way, but I got to do a lot and that was nice. And props to Sister Ford, the sweet lady who got me some antacids or something when she saw that I was in such pain from breakfast that I was finding it difficult to stand up. 

After ending up in most every nook and cranny of the temple, I got piled back on the bus and off we went into Lake District National Park . . . up to Hilltop, home of Miss Beatrix Potter. I cannot even tell you how lovely it was. The day has been absolutely cloud-free from dawn to dusk, so the cottage was absolutely saturated with sunshine. The house and garden are all fairly well just as she left them, so much so that some of her illustrations match up like photographs. The rhubarb was just coming up in what was most decidedly Mr. McGregor's garden, though the local bunnies (of whom I saw at least four) are now kept out by chicken wire rather than badly-fitted gates. 

Miss Beatrix Potter. Upon the capital made from her writings, she purchased a little cottage in the hills just for her, where she lived and wrote and drew and gardened and, in general, did exactly as she pleased. I would be very glad of such a life. 

The students had to be herded back into the bus like recalcitrant sheep; sunshine and warm, fresh breezes are not easy things to give up. But in the end we got them all on board, and down we went to our next stop: Dove Cottage, the home turf of Romantic poetry, the 1970s Haarlem of the 18th Century. 

I want to live there. 

I want to light the coal fires at the cottage in the morning, and man the desks with my drop spindle for entertainment when it's quiet, and go hiking in the hills to read poetry in the sunshine, and explore the lakes in my kayak on my days off. This place is like Minnesota: a lake-filled, tree-filled place, where summer tourists are just another sort of fauna and where the winters are long and deep. There are sheep here, rather than dairy cattle, and big impressive hills, rather than little hardly-noticeable ones, but . . . it tastes right, if that makes any sense. This is a proper place for a water-baby like me. 

I will e-mail the directors as soon as I have internet again, and ask their permission to live there. Jenna wishes to as well; I don't know if that makes us buddies or rivals. But she's much more of a Wordsworth scholar than I am, so she'd better merit a chance at the internship, and if she obtains it and I do not, I won't be able to begrudge her. Her face just glowed with pleasure in that place. 

And now we're at a hostel by the lakeside, and I write this entry as I wait for it to be my turn at dinner. Big breakfast = morning queasiness = tiny lunch = ravenous RoseE by dinner. And tomorrow, to Edinburgh, and the Heart of Mid-Lothian. 

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