Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The original Potter......

Beatrix wrote hilarious letters from her
characters to each other and
 to children who wrote to her.
You must read Dear Peter!
.....was named Beatrix and she was a firecracker!  Yes, she painted bunnies that wear jackets and pigs that walked on their hind legs, but she was a rebel when it came to being a Victorian lady. She found that she could make a good living selling her postcards and prints decided to publish a book about a very naughty bunny. I have to wonder if Peter is actually her?  
      Beatrix's publisher was so impressed with her that he proposed! Unfortunately, he died shortly after from a brief illness. Poor Beatrix! Instead of pining away for someone to take his place, she took the lion by its mane and became everything she wanted - scientist, farm owner, conservationist, and woman of independent means. She researched mushrooms and submitted her thesis which was rejected until long after she passed away. She reintroduced a native breed of sheep to the area, protected the Lake District from development, and even raised a runt pig in her bedroom. If ever I could go back in time, I would want to be her BFF! She had it going on!
Beatrix's house at Hilltop Farm
     At the age of 47, she married the real estate agent who helped her buy up all the farms in the Lake District. He plan was to stop developers from ruining the landscape. Since she had no children, they were left to a Land Trust, making them available for us! Her Hilltop Farm house in Sawny is open for tours and her gallery in Hawk's Head is open too. You can explore the rooms in her house and look out over her garden where Peter is nibbling on daisies. Best of all, you can peek into the dollhouse she used as a model for her illustrations. Ever read the Tale of Two Bad Mice? I hear they were frequent visitors in the farm house.....

Many times she painted these
     We took a walk up to the pond she would often visit named "Moss Eccles Tarn" and just sat and painted.   The hilltop is a magical place where no matter what direction you turn, you are surrounded by endless beauty. The pond is gorgeous, the hillsides are rolling greens with  rock-walls dividing the pastures, and the many, many grazing sheep will keep you company. We felt like we really understood where Beatrix's inspiration came from. You go girl!

Sawny, the town. On the walk up to the "tarn" (pond)

Moss Eccles Tarn

In Hawk's Head by her Gallery - these cakes are the size of a small tire!
You can taste the serenity walking down
these streets.
     I can't leave off without talking about Hawk's Head. It is such a neat place to visit - like stepping into another realm. The place was founded by Vikings!  I wonder if they are all named Eric?  The layout of the town was so interesting. Their buildings are built really close together and mostly stone or plaster with logs. One even had a "carriage way" - it was built over the road so that a carriage could be driven under and through it. Neat! 
     Not only did they wow us with one famous author, it was also home to poet William Wordsworth who wrote The Daffodils "...I wandered lonely as a cloud....." Sound familiar? To top it all off, we were surprised by a traditional May Day pole dance with even a May Day Queen in attendance! These two places are on my top three out of the entire trip. 
This is the carriage way under someone's house!
"Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?"



Post a Comment