Wandering around Grasmere gave me the pleasure countless lovers of poetry, literature, walkers and nature-lovers must have felt over many years. It is very easy to relate to William Wordsworth‘s first flush of enthusiasm for this ‘paradise’ the poet Thomas Gray had described in his journal in 1769.
It is still possible to escape the tourist hoards and wander quietly. We enjoyed our stroll along the river. I did note that the view from Dove Cottage, that Wordsworth enjoyed while he wrote his most famous poetry, is now one of quaint houses rather than landscape. I must admit, in the same way Lucy enjoyed fondling a 2000 year old bronze good luck statue at the British Museum, I really wanted to lay on William’s couch and look out his window. I restrained myself to a furtive photo instead.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Thomas de Quincey are dwarfed, in the tourist brochures, by Wordsworth. However, at the Wordsworth Museum and in the guided tour of the cottage, their presence is recorded and I learnt some more about this important period in the development of Romantic poetry. Interestingly enough, I asked several guides if they had read, one of my favourite biographies, AS Byatt’s, Unruly Times or her Man Booker Prize winning novel, Possession. No luck.
The kids weren’t too certain about the ‘famous local gingerbread’ but tried it nevertheless. I was also unconvinced but have developed a taste for the Kendal Mintcake – made famous by Edmund Hilary and am sure that I’d have more than my current one filling if a resident of the area.
Have you memories of Grasmere or the Lake District to share?