Friday, September 18, 2009

The English Lakes

Time has gotten away from me and now there are things I wish I'd done. One of those things is reading more books. I've spent too much time away from books, much too much time, and now I regret it. As a child and young adult I was an avid reader. I read mostly novels, lots of mysteries and the popular top ten books of the day. Then life got in the way and reading all but drifted away. Actually the reading drifted away but the books didn't drift away from my book shelves. I've made a plan to remedy the reading part by pulling up a chair now and again and doing some reading. I also plan on reading more varied topics too, such as art, history, travel, and others.

While I've been packing I've been discovering books I wanted to read tucked away here and there which I never picked up. Today I found The English Lakes written by William T. Palmer and illustrated by A. Heaton Cooper among my ceramics books. I don't think I intended to actually read this book, but I was attracted to the wonderful watercolor landscapes plates, 31 color illustrations, which are included in the book. Edwardian and Victorian descriptions of the Lakes District in England are detailed.

The Old Ferry, Windermere

Swan Hotel, Newby Bridge, Windermere

The book was originally published in 1905, but my edition is from 1945. On the inside cover is written in ink "with Best Wishes, from Muriel, May 7, 1945". Apparently Muriel purchased the book as a gift for someone that year. Interestingly when I open the book the sweet smell of a woman's perfume emanates from the pages. If I were a perfumer I dare say I could identify the fragrance. I like to think of it as a fragrance from 1945. The essential oil content would have to be very high to last that long.

Grasmere Church

I was surprised to learn about Heaton Cooper Studio is still in existence today in the village of Grasmere in the heart of the English Lakes District. There is a gallery and an art shop which continues to be run by family members to this day. Here's a list and description of the family artists which you can read.

Grange in Borrowdale

There is a Lakes District National Park and I couldn't help but think of my friends, Kitty Shepherd and Peter Gregory, wondering what knowledge they might have about the lakes. I think this would be a wonderful place to take a vacation. Stay tuned for a never ending variety of topics which seem to be forthcoming of their own accord here on my blog. Have a good weekend.


  1. Carroll Dunn9/18/09, 2:50 PM

    Linda~~~we have a huge library in Corvallis and we use it every week
    We now have Play Aways that read to you and they are fun when I am tired~~~we do have our own books the special ones but check out at least 6-8 books each every week to read~~~I read mostly before I go to bed to take my mind off everything~~~Years ago I told a neighbor that I didn't have time to read and he corrected me and said you do have the time you just don't take it and he was right~~~no matter how busy we get we fit reading time into each day, even if only for a few minutes~~~hope you too take the time in the future

  2. Hi Carroll, Play Always sounds wonderful, is that something you purchase? About the only time I have had time to read over the last few years was when we went away, all the other times I was busy remodeling or taking care of Gary's dad our this place, but I am changing my ways from this day foward - your neighbor is right, I have to make the time otherwise the time goes away and I was just realizing that last night. We hope to move to a place with a good library nearby as there is nothing like that here. Gary raved about your library when he came to visit one of those times I wasn't with him, you are so lucky to have such a good one close by. Thanks so much.

  3. Hi Linda,
    It was lovely seeing "The English Lakes" waiting for me this morning on your blog, it does bring back delightful memories. I spent half my childhood, from 9 to 17, just South of the Lake District in England, and it was there, from age 14 that I began to paint in watercolours, and venture off on my bicycle with my paints and do my best to capture the local landscape. My parents had a print of one of Heaton Cooper's watercolours on our living room wall, and I recall trying to emulate its delicate graduated washes. I think that mum and dad do have a copy of "The English Lakes". There were a number of excellent books produced at that time about Britain that were illustrated by very competent watercolourists, E.W. Haslehust being one that was particularly outstanding. We have a book here called "I wish I could paint" which uses Haslehust paintings to instruct the would be painter.

    I have quite a lot on this weekend, but your post has tempted me to put one or two paintings and drawings on my blog if I get a moment.

    I used to read a lot too. I don't manage much now, but I do listen to "talking books" that I obtain from the library. I do wonder if they are what Carol means by "play aways". Talking books are recordings of books that are available on CD or tape. I love them as they are beautifully read, and a standard length novel lasts a similar time to a working day.

  4. Linda, Nice chair but REALY wouldn't you rather be in a recliner reading or a couch? I'm just sayin. . . . also in moving mode great resource for some cash for books you aren't taking with you!

  5. Oh Peter I am so glad you enjoyed the post. I was hoping you knew the area. Funny I have never been to England and I always think of it as a city, never thinking about the country side and not realizing much about the geography. I am glad I am moving since it is bring to the forefront to me of things I must rearrange in my life to include them all like reading. I don't even use the talking books which is something that must change. I would like to try watercolors one of these days too and the book by Haselhust sounds intriguing, not that I would ever become proficient at all the things I want to try, but nothing ventured, nothing gained and the experience is all part of it too. I would love to see some of your paintings and drawings on your blog. Hope you have time to post a few of them from time to time.

    Hi Mary, you are quite right, this chair would be a bit stiff for reading, but I posted it since it might have been one from that era, thinking it went along with the age of the book much better than a modern one would. Thanks so much for the link, I will check it out, as I still have quite a few books I want to pass along and a few dollars never hurts that's for sure since all the inspections and such are adding up to quite a bit for sure.

  6. Carroll Dunn9/18/09, 10:43 PM

    Hi Linda and also to Peter~~~we have had audio books in the past from the library but the Play away is just new but the same thing only they are littlier than a pack of cigarettes and you still use the headphones but you can put it in your pocket and do house work,dishes, or just go on your way they are free at our library, will try to send a link or a photo of them~~~~Jonathan's job is sitting at a desk doing a very tedious job and so he listens to these during his work day
    Yes they built our library in 1990 to the tune of 8 million but it is a great library and we use it every week~~~they have huge reading room with wing back chairs only I wish they would follow the rules and keep the bums from sleeping there~~~
    The reason I like the play Away is at night when I am tired and need to streach out in bed I can lay back and have someone read to me, only problem sometimes I fall asleep and have to go back, but I don't won't to lose my reading regular books~~~~

  7. i love looking through those old books, that one looks particularly beautiful. i decry my lack of time to read also... always feels like i need to carve out more time but can't really. i was on vacation last week and read three novels during the break, it was very relaxing and usually even had a beer while reading... now back on the computer and into the studio

  8. I do have a story of the Lakes, I am just wondering if I should write it?

  9. Hi Carroll, there is so much I don't know about all the new fangled electronic things, I must take some time to learn once we leave here, those talking books sound wounderful and I know both Gary and I would enjoy them. Gary reads every day, but I am always out watering, once we leave, I plan on changing that. Thanks.

  10. Hi Jim, thanks, I found I missed your posts while you were gone and Ang asked about you too - I let her know you were on vacation. I am so glad you had a relaxing time. I found the same to be true for me - I have only been able to take the time to read when we go away - last time was in December and I think I read about 8 novels then one a day, late into the night. Once we leave here I am changing my ways however as Carroll above is right, if I don't make the time now I will never get it back. Loosing yourself in a book is, indeed, very relaxing. Welcome back.

  11. Oh Kitty, another mystery, I just knew you would have a story when I re-discovered this book. I hope you can tell the story since I just know I would love to hear it. I already like the name - The (A)Story of the Lakes - sounds so mysterious, romantic, and wonderful. Thanks so much - please don't keep me (us) in suspense too long.

  12. Right, I know I am a post behind but you write so quickly Linda. My story about the Lake District…. In 1979 I was reunited with my Father having lost him since I was 5 years old (long story) and there he was this person who I knew from a photograph and who had aged badly but sounded the same. He decided we should go to the Lake District to become reacquainted with each other. He was an Irish man, very easy going and in love with life. I was 18 and also in love with life, exceptionally pretty (!) and very vocal.
    It was a brilliant idea. The season was late autumn and the weather was damp and we drove around the lakes in his car staying in a different hotel each night. He knew a lot of stuff, he could really show off and so could I. We talked and talked all the time staring out of the windscreen or at a table. Each evening he gave me a Nigroni cocktail which was disgusting but I drank it. We got really drunk every evening! I don’t know what all these hotels must have thought; we were both overly excited, far too talkative, there must have been a whisper of Lolita in the hallways. Our relationship could not be externally identified, obviously, we couldn’t identify it ourselves.
    One morning my Father sat on his glasses and broke them in half across the bridge and one of the arms off. Also the lens on one eye was cracked and hanging out. It became an hysterical (literally) drama for us. We were at the highest point in the Lakes travelling on death defying roads and the only driver could not see anything. So do you know what I did? I taped the spectacles together at the reception desk. Very adeptly binding the pieces together, but it didn’t work, they were too fragile still. The only answer was to tape them to his face, with tears of laughter running down both our faces we proceeded to attach the lenses to each eye orbit. We were causing pandemonium in the lobby, this older man and his daughter.
    I have never been back to the Lake District, I remember it was very beautiful but then so was my Father and he rather took my attention. It cemented our relationship, although he disappeared again shortly afterwards for a few more years he did pop up again. After that he stayed where I could contact him until he died, the same day as Princess Dianna. He had a very secret job and that was all I ever really knew about where he has been.

  13. Hi Kitty, no problem about the posts, for some reason they are coming out quickly and prolific for me now. I do type very fast so I can write them up in no time - except The Thicket one I took my time since I told it as more of a short story (even though based on fact). What a story you have about your father, that is truly amazing and so coincidental that you have such a tale and I was thinking when I picked up The English Lakes that you did. The raucus time and the glasses is hilarious - and I can see how you both would have been carrying on so, since you hadn't seen each other and the nervousness and all. So sorry your father passed away and on Diana's death, how poignant for you, but at least you were able to meet up with him once and then again and to have a relationship of sorts towards the end. I can't wait to see what Peter shows us of his paintings of the English Lakes.

    You and I have many similarities. My father and mother divorced and my father left for places unknown (he said at the time to find himself and for no one in the family to try to contact him) when I was in my twenties. He was not heard from except for once or twice by a letter for over 30 years. About two years ago he contacted my mother and within a couple of months remarried her - much to my and my siblings chagrin since he had absconded with the major portion of my parents savings so long ago and left my mother nearly penniless and us to support her along the way. Now in his twisted senses he blames my siblings and me for his leaving and for his not being seen by us all that time, even though we had no way to contact him. He especially blames me (that is where the black sheep reference comes from) - oh I have stories to tell as well, much too long and involved for this venue.

    I guess every person has a story to tell and the unfolding of it is such a wonder and a revelation. Some of the stories are much, much more elaborate and intricate than most. It seems you have those stories in your life as I do too.

    I hope your father is a pleasant memory for you now. Thanks for sharing this story Kitty; it is so wonderful getting to know you.


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