Even in August, the Lake District is smothered in clouds.
It rained; we got wet; we stopped for a nice cuppa.
I know that those beautiful green hills
draw legions of walkers
But for me, this was the quintessence
of our visit to Grasmere.
Apparently, Dorothy Wordsworth managed to spend
24 pounds on tea in one year.
The rent on Dove Cottage was only 8 pounds,
just to put it into perspective.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
is on every menu.
Do try it if you get the chance.
For such a tiny village, there is a
dense concentration of cafes and tea-shops.
There is plenty of daffodil kitsch, too.
You can try to "wander lonely as a cloud"
but I doubt you will manage it.
was once a public house.
Perhaps the conviviality lived on
in the walls and slate floor and buttery?
I wonder what Dorothy and William drank
with their many illustrious guests:
Coleridge (who lived with them, off and on)
and Charles and Mary Lamb (another famous sister)
and Thomas De Quincey, the infamous opium-eater
who later took over the lease.
So much poetry in those walls,
but no desk.
William Wordsworth wrote in a cutlass chair,
so-called because you could sit in it
without removing your sword.
I'm fairly sure
despite his Revolutionary and Romantic reputation
he subscribed to the
"pen is mightier than the sword" philosophy.
Anyway, his sister tended to act
as his amanuensis.
The house was incredibly dark
with a coal-burning stove
and not much ventilation.
No wonder the Wordsworths
spent most of their time
Dove Cottage was "acquired for the nation" in 1890.
Such a plain gravestone for Dorothy.
Ernest de Selincourt described her literary contributions:
"probably the most remarkable and the most distinguished
of English prose writers
who never wrote a line for the general public."
Her Grasmere Journals,
just four small notebooks,
were written for William's pleasure.
Her observances inspired some of his
most memorable poems.
I tried to read The Ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth
while we were in Grasmere,
but I kept getting distracted by other things,
found in a bookshop in Bowness.
Gray and green
are the colours of Grasmere.
If we had stayed longer,
I might have grown a layer of moss, too.
This pond is just outside of Grasmere
in some woods familiar to William and Dorothy.
William liked to declaim as he walked,
and Dorothy collected his words like
so many drops of rain.
I tried to get Sigmund to compose some poetry
on the spot
but he declined.
He still feels bitter about studying
The Prelude when he was a schoolboy.
This is the most charming
of the many, many sheep pictures
that I felt compelled to snap.
Sheep are a common sight in the Lake District.
Although the Wordsworth industry dominates Grasmere
it isn't terribly touristy.
This circus tent was an incongruous sight.