The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

“I Heard a thousand blended notes …” (Wordsworth)

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Another glorious day in the Lake District. Down for one of the best breakfasts we’ve had – homemade and award-winning marmalade and jams by the owners, free range eggs, homemade bread and fresh hand-tied Cumberland sausage, Scotch pancakes, English Short Back Bacon and more – in a quaint and warm little dining room. The charm was beyond our expectations.

With a good breakfast in our bellies we were then off on our first day’s adventure. We drove north to Keswick hoping to have a look at the James Bond museum and the home of the original pencil. The drive was mostly along a secondary highway but it soon began to wind in and around up and down a smaller roadway through woodlands, fields laden with sheep and stone cottages so close to the road we felt like we could have opened their front door! Once again in awe of the scenery we arrived at Keswick and after finding the Bond Museum we were disappointed – it was closed. We then pulled in behind the Pencil Museum which looked to be more for the younger set and thus we decided to drive on.

We then decided to drive further North to Cockermouth, the birthplace of William Wordsworth. Arriving at another little stone-built village, we soon found a parking spot and walked down the high street towards the Wordsworth home and another disappointment – closed! The house, however, being quite an imposing building we still managed to take a couple of photos over the high stone wall and gates. We then wandered back towards where our car was parked and decided to stop for a drink and snack for our lunch. We walked into one of the every-popular bakeries that line almost every high street in this country, and ordered a drink, a chocolate cupcake (moi!) and a fruit-filled square for Nat. The cupcake was gorgeous and delicious and I’m so sorry I didn’t take a couple more for back at our room.

William Wordsworth Family Home – Cocerkmouth, Lake District, England

After making more decisions as to where to go next, we decided to head back toward Windermere but do the little stops along the way, such as Dove Cottage (another Wordsworth home), near Grasmere, and any place else that strikes our fancy. We were still early into the day and decided to take our time driving home.

Once we arrived at Dove Cottage, we were in awe again! Just paying 1 Pd for the parking we were able to walk about the small stone cottages wherein Wordsworth’s little white cottage stood amongst. We couldn’t take enough pictures! Everywhere we looked, up and down the little lane way, while peeking in wherever we could, we snapped away all the while avoiding Japanese tourists that snapped away faster than a speeding bullet. I’m thinking our pictures were a little boring next to theirs’, with each and every one of them taking pictures of each of the others while standing in front of each and every building!

Wordsworth “Dove Cottage”

At Dove Cottage, there was also a stone building with sign saying “Shelley Ghost” (Mary Shelley, author of “Frankenstein”), but with no connection to Wordsworth. Unsure of the story behind this Ghost, and not being a place where she resided, we decided not to pay the fee to check it out.

We also wandered through the little shop which carried a selection of works by Wordsworth and others, feather quills, warm and cozy woolen blankets, note cards and papers, along with rare and collectable books. Naturally I had to have some sort of souvenir, and so I bought a quill pen that came with a card describing a bit of Wordsworth history. At least it was something!

After spending quite a bit of time at Dove Cottage, we then headed back down the road toward Windermere. We were going to try and spot another home where Wordsworth lived until he died, but once we approached the area it was flooded with hikers, walkers and more tourists. Being such a small area we found it difficult to find parking spaces and as I felt we had seen the best of the best, decided to keep on meandering.

The drive home was nice. We stopped at a couple of lay-bys and took more pictures of the countryside, along with what looked like a tiny little castle and shed, nestled below a high stone fence and tucked away in the cliff side shore of Lake Windermere. We’re pretty sure it’s not a little castle but no one will know when the pictures are revealed. It was such a little picturesque spot, we couldn’t not stop.

We arrived back at the Rockside Guest House close to 4:00 pm and decided to walk into town. We were now getting a little peckish, having only a snack for lunch, and looked for somewhere different to eat. We settled upon the Lighthouse Cafe & Restaurant wherein I was a bit disappointed with my meal. Nat had a meat pie with chips while I ordered a minute steak with chips. A little chewy (which I figured) but we were hungry and at this time of day, this was the only place in town still serving their lunch menus. The other restaurants started serving their supper menus at 6:00 pm and we were unwilling to wait.

Rockside Guest House, Windermere – A Real Gem!

Another day where things went relatively smooth despite a couple of “anxious” moments where if you missed your turn it was a long, long trip up the road to find another spot to turn around.

We’re going to Beatrix Potter’s “Hill Top” home tomorrow which I’m really, really looking forward to. More to come.

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Author: Twila

Born and raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada, with 5 sisters and a brother. Now retired, my husband and I travel, play golf and am slowly renovating our new (old) home. After my kidney transplant in 1999, we've learned to enjoy life to the fullest. Nat and I have driven across Canada, taken an Alaskan cruise and drove home via the Northern United States. We've also been to Mexico, the Caribbean, the East Coast of Canada and Cape Breton. We've done the "Snowbird" thing, having lived in Destin, Florida for a couple of months of the year. In 2007 we changed our travel plans in order to move into and renovate our new "old" home, but hope to someday get back on the road again. We also love returning to Scotland (Nat's origin of birth) to visit his family and tour the Highlands and surrounding Isles.

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