We rented a little dog-friendly cottage in Windermere village again...the perfect base for exploring the Southern lakes region. The weather wasn't as wonderful as last year - the North West is rainy country, which is part of what keeps it so green and lush - and we weren't there for as long. But we made the most of it and the sunny days we DID have. I'll show you more in my next post...but for this first one, I wanted to share the blissful experience of Hill Top - which was Beatrix Potter's home before she married, and which she kept to receive guests and write her timeless books in later years...
I didn't take pictures in the house itself - this is forbidden, and I wanted to respect that. Besides...you may want to visit yourself one day! All I can say about the interior is that if you love Beatrix, it will be just as you imagine. A jewelled, burnished treasure of a place...with secrets and special corners everywhere. There is no electricity (this was her choice) and how I would love to see it at night...glowing with candlelight and magic. Everything in the house belonged to her...except some of the curtains & rugs, which have been perfectly replaced. She had a true artist's eye for things of beauty...antiques, wondeful paintings (many by her younger brother, Bertram, who seems to have been almost talented as she was) Charm and love flow through the heavy old doors and envelop you as you rest on the wide, ancient window seats and peer through the 17th century glass at the hills and gardens below. Because the entry tickets are timed, the little cottage is never too full...and yesterday I found myself alone in her bedroom for long moments. Carved four poster bed, muted ancient patchwork quilt, original William Morris wallpaper and bed hangings wonderfully embroidered by the lady herself. I sat, and breathed, and tried to remember everything before I was disturbed and the spell was broken...
The garden mirrors the house in it's charm & carefully considered beauty. As you walk up the long slate path from the road towards the house, the first thing you notice is the birdsong, the fragrance of flowers...and then the vivid colours and the gentle flock of Herdwick sheep in the little meadow that runs alongside the garden. Nearing the cottage, mellow woodsmoke from the log fire that burns all day in the range in the hallway is there too...but enough, enough. Let me show you...
Nearly at the house now...
and then, at last...
I found a wonderful 18thC jug on the mantelpiece of her bedroom fireplace. Primrose yellow and full bellied...it had handpainted flowers and, in the centre, a little poem inscribed. So beautiful, so Beatrix & so Hill Top...I felt tears fill my eyes - and I had to share it, so found the little notebook & pen I always carry and wrote it down. I will leave it with you until next time...have a wonderful evening xoxo
Let the wealthy and great
Roll in splendor and state,
I envy them not I declare it:
I eat my own lamb, my own chickens and ham
I shear my own fleece and I wear it.
I have lawns, I have bowers
I have fruits, I have flowers
The lark is my morning alarmer.
So you jolly boys now
Here's God bless the plough
Long life and success to the farmer!