It was a dry but slightly grey morning, but over a full English breakfast the cloud burnt off and we had a nice drive south through the hills to Near Sawrey to visit Hill Top. Warned to go early we got our timed tickets and only had to wait for one hour, in the very nice gardens of Beatrix Potter’s old farm before we got to go in. Delightfully small, the rooms were lit in such a way as to approximate how it would have been, and copies of her books were laid open next to the actual scenes or furniture form which Beatrix drew them. We recognised the dolls house ham from The Tale of Two Bad Mice straight away!
From Hill Top we had a leisurely walk down the hill to where Emma had had to park in the overflow car park by the lake. We drove back aroudn the far side of the lake, skirting at the edge of Grizedale Forest (and scene of another university jaunt) to Hawkshead.
We had lunch at Hawkshead’s Hawkshead before going to have a look round the Beatrix Potter gallery which is situated in William Heelis’ old solicitors offices. Walking back through the village we decide impromptu to visit the church. We were glad we did, not just because it was decidedly pretty but because, decending the hill a different way we came across a different way and discoveredd the old grammar school where William Wordsworth was schooled.
An excellent guide told us all about it and told us how the glass plate covering the ‘supposed’ grafitied signature of William Wordsworth is almost certainly a forgery – a spoilt I or J from John Wordsworth, his brother. William Wordsworth was a disinterested student, and a bit of a naughty lad, and would have almost certainly been placed in the corner just in the line of sight of the schoolmaster where he would have had to have climbed over 4 hulking boys to get out. Plus, there is a ‘WW’ inscribed into that heavily grafitied desk next to one by his best friend John Bird.
From Hawkshead we made our way to Grassmere via a pretty if windy and alarmingly steep back road, where we visited Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth museum. Our guide was a young girl/student, whom we were at first (whilst we were sitting in the parlour waiting) unsure about but she proved to be a real enthusiast, extremely knowledgable and passionate about the man, and about his sister, Dorothy.
A walk through the village, and a cup of tea by the river, we rounded off our trip by seeing the school where Dorothy and William taught, now the famous Grassmere Gingerbread Shop – where of course we purchased gingerbread. 🙂
Back in Ambleside we changed and headed back out for a walk around the town, time for quiet contemplation in the park before going for an excellent meal at ‘Lucy’s on a plate’. Lucy seems to be the Deiniol of Ambleside with a restaurant, wine bar (poised to go nationwide), quality grocers and catering business. The food was excellent and cheap, with humourous names. Emma had ‘I Spy Ribeye’ steak and I had a delicious portion of ‘Sweet Little Bambi’.
Back at the B&B we found an unsecured wireless network and hooked up for long enough to see some of – the brilliant – wedding photographs now posted by Phil on his website. The available internet connection is patchy though and so we decide to wait until we reach Glasgo to see them all.