Five Photos, Five Stories: Day 3

I’ve been invited to take part in the “Five Photos, Five Stories” challenge by Jude of Travel Words. The challenge is to “post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph, and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge”.

My five photos are from our recent Lake District holiday. The weather wasn’t very good so we visited a lot of houses. I’m taking them in chronological order and asking “Who lived there?”

Allan Bank – who lived there?

Allan Bank, Grasmere

Allan Bank in Grasmere was built in 1805/6 by John Gregory Crump. In 1808, he let it out to some very famous tenants – William Wordsworth and his family who lived there until 1811. This was despite William having referred to it as “a temple of abomination” during construction! The house was bought by Thomas Dawson in 1834 and then by Canon Rawnsley, founder of the National Trust in 1915. He died in 1920 and left it to the Trust with a lifelong interest for his wife, Eleanor, who lived until 1959. After that, there were more tenants (including a 1970s commune) until 2011 when a fire damaged part of the house. It has now been partially restored and opened to the public in 2012. It hasn’t been decorated yet, and there is no original furniture, which makes it a very relaxed place to visit – you can sit anywhere with a cup of tea and read something from the library, create a painting in the art room, or just watch the world go round and admire the view. I loved it.

As before, I’m not making a specific nomination, but if you’d like to do 5 Photos 5 Stories let me know in the comments.

Today’s featured blogger is Jessica at Diverting Journeys. She’s an American living in London who loves visiting museums – and reports on them in, well, a highly diverting way. I love her irreverent style. Her latest is Montacute House – head over to her blog for the low-down on that.

Five Photos, Five Stories: Day 2

I’ve been invited to take part in the “Five Photos, Five Stories” challenge by Jude of Travel Words. The challenge is to “post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph, and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge”.

My five photos are from our recent Lake District holiday. The weather wasn’t very good so we visited a lot of houses. I’m taking them in chronological order and asking “Who lived there?”

Townend – who lived there?

Townend, Troutbeck

Townend in Troutbeck has two things in common with yesterday’s house – it’s owned by the National Trust and it was home to the same family for centuries. But unlike the Stricklands of Sizergh, the Brownes, who lived here from the seventeenth century till 1948, were an ordinary family of farmers. I find the stories of every day people much more appealing than those of aristocrats, and Townend teems with characters. For example, Elizabeth Birkett married Ben Browne in 1703 and kept a commonplace book of recipes which still exists. I bought a little booklet of extracts and might try her bean cakes or apricot paste – but perhaps not some of her remedies such as “to stop bleeding at the nose: take the blood of the patient and therewith write on his brow the words consummatum est.” Another interesting inhabitant was George Browne who lived at Townend in Victorian times. By the time he owned the estate the family had made enough money for him to retire from farming at the age of 40. He turned his attention to his hobbies which included gardening, local history and wood carving. Much of the (quite quirky) furniture in the house was made or added to by George. I love all these details – so much so that I’ve now visited the house three times.

As yesterday, I’m not making any specific nominations, but if you’d like to do 5 Photos 5 Stories let me know in the comments and I’ll make it “official”. I’m also continuing to feature other bloggers who write about Britain. (These features are not nominations unless the recipients wish them to be.) Today it’s Joy Loves Travel. Her recent posts have made me wonder why I haven’t been to Wales for over 20 years, and why I’ve never been to Northern Ireland. However, at the moment Joy is exploring Hampton Court’s Gorgeous Gardens and Grounds. Well worth a visit!

Five Photos, Five Stories: Day 1

I’ve been invited to take part in the “Five Photos, Five Stories” challenge by Jude of Travel Words. The challenge is to “post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph, and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge”.

My five photos are from our recent Lake District holiday. The weather wasn’t very good so we visited a lot of houses. I’m going to take them in chronological order and ask “Who lived there?”

Sizergh Castle – who lived there?

Sizergh Castle

In Sizergh‘s case, the question should be – who lives there? The estate belonged to the Strickland family from the 13th century until 1950 when they handed it over to the National Trust, but the castle is still their home. There was a gap after 1688 when, as Catholic Royalists, the Stricklands went into exile in France with the court of James II, but other than that they have been there all the time. I find it hard to imagine what it must be like to have such a clear and continuous view of one’s family history – do you?

I always feel a little shy passing these challenges on and I’ve noticed some other people do too. I’ve spotted two ways of dealing with this recently – and I’m going to copy both! First, the open challenge to every reader. If you’d like to do 5 Photos 5 Stories  let me know in the comments and I’ll give you an “official” nomination.

Second, a shout-out to blogs that I enjoy. I’m guessing that if you’re reading this you might also be interested in other British-based travel bloggers, so I’ve selected a few of them. First up, Restless Jo. I’m including her today because she runs a regular theme, Jo’s Monday Walk. Click on the link to see where she’s taking us this week. Thanks also to Richard at A Bit of Culture whose latest post is on part of the South West Coast Path and who first alerted me to Jo’s walks by taking part in one. I recommend them both.

Benches with a view

Elterwater
Elterwater

Jude is looking for benches with a view for April’s Bench Series challenge. Having just come back from the Lake District, I could supply them in abundance – although I think the view of Elterwater above has to be the star. Just a few more, one from Holehird Gardens and two from Grasmere.

You can tell by my smile that a) I was enjoying myself despite b) the firmly zipped up anorak hinting at the cold, wet weather we had for most of the week. The trip will, I’m sure, produce much more blogging – but not till after the A to Z Challenge is over!

Grasmere

20111216-220446.jpg

I’ve known the Lake District since childhood, but John had never been till he went with me in around 1984. We took our bikes and stayed in Keswick and, looking back, I marvel at what we did. We cycled to Dove Cottage in Grasmere and back one day, and another we went down through Borrowdale, over the Honister Pass to Buttermere and back over the Whinlatter pass. Two passes on a bike! I can’t believe I was ever capable of such a thing. In the late 80s we had a couple of stays in Borrowdale and then nothing till 2004 when we visited Grasmere again and have been back almost every year since. We always stay at Lancrigg, a beautiful country house (above) with Wordsworth connections. Not only that, it is also a completely vegetarian hotel – the only time I ever go anywhere where I can choose from the entire menu!

I think every time we have been, we have done the walk past Sourmilk Ghyll (waterfall) up to Easdale Tarn. However, a weekend in early December is the latest we have ever visited so it was unusual to see it in snow. It was icy and cold at the top so we didn’t linger.

20111223-224806.jpg

20111223-224832.jpg

20111223-224848.jpg

20111223-224909.jpg

20111223-224923.jpg

The other walk we did was a circular one from Grasmere through part of the Langdale Valley to Elterwater and back. The beauty of the Lake District is that it is so compact that you can nearly always arrange your walking to pass near a good pub at lunchtime, and there are many good, local beers to try. In this case, we were happy to stop for good, warming soup and a pint at the Britannia Inn.

20111223-225959.jpg

20111223-230020.jpg

20111223-230039.jpg

20111223-230056.jpg

Days aren’t long at this time of year, especially when you have lingered over a Lancrigg breakfast, so we were happy to spend the late afternoons pottering around Grasmere, purchasing items such as the famous gingerbread and a Tubular Fells poster. This shows all the Wainwrights set out as in the London Underground map and is very clever, not least in its double-punning title. We got this in the National Trust shop where I met Chris whom I had preciously chatted to on Twitter (@GrasmereVillage). Eventually, we had to leave the bright lights of downtown Grasmere and head back to our hotel for another delicious dinner and a good night’s sleep before heading home the next morning. I’m very certain we’ll be back.

20111223-231452.jpg

20111223-231508.jpg

20111223-231525.jpg