A wonderfully evocative Christmas poem from the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy. It is Christmas Eve, 1799, and Dorothy Wordsworth is awake in the moonlight. She stands outside in the winter cold, waiting patiently. When the new day breaks it will bring family and friends to Dove Cottage. For tomorrow is her Christmas Birthday. Gorgeously illustrated by Tom Duxbury, this lovely little book evokes the snowy Lake District as Dorothy celebrates with her brother William Wordsworth and fellow poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
“Up, rapt at her gate,
Dorothy Wordsworth ages
one year in an hour;
her Christmas birthday
inventoried by an owl,
It was published as a small hardback book by panmacmillan in 2014 and is a perfect Lake District Christmas present.
Just discovered this lovely blog post by Windermere Jetty about preserving and conserving the old sails in their collection. Their oldest sail (pictured here) belongs to 1934 17ft Windermere yacht, Dawn.
If you want to read more about their work click here.
The museum is committed to conserving, saving and sharing the internationally important Windermere boat collection and their focus is on telling the stories behind these boats and they want to actively involve visitors in the crafts and tradition that built them.
Windermere Jetty, designed by Carmody Groarke architects, is due to re-open in 2017. In the meantime the museum is ‘Just Visiting’ Brockhole, the Lake District Visitor Centre.
The dry stone walls of the Lake District are such beautiful things. Walking alongside and over them on our ramblings across the South Lakes we have become quite adept spotting various holes and ledges in these field enclosures.
There’s a SMOOT which, I think, is any small hole generally ground level in the wall. I have come across two types: a Water Smoot for drainage and a Rabbit Smoot. I was curious as to why a farmer would take the trouble to build a rabbit tunnel until I came across this on the Ruskin Museum’s website :
“Smoots allowed rabbits and hares to pass from the fell into the intakes (fields). Sometimes stone-lined pits were dug below the smoots having a wooden trough, above which was a counter- weighted trap door. The rabbit would fall into the pit and this could be used to supplement a countryman’s diet.”
Occasionally in walls beside farms, we have also come across a small recess with a slate base. This is a BEE BOLE. The farmer would put his straw bee hive or skep on this to protect it from rain and wind. A Bee Bole usually faced South to South East so that the morning sun would warm up the hive. You can see a Bole at Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top though it is filled with a more modern hive. Click here for more about Hill Top.
If you are interested in discovering more about Bee Boles there’s a delightful website run by the International Bee Research Association called the Bee Bole Register. (What else?) Click here for the link.
And a SQUEEZE STILE is just as you would imagine … instead of steps built into the wall, you must squeeze through the small gap. Unfortunately, overweight dogs of the Team Rigg party need to be lifted over the obstacle.