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Open Features: North And South

A holiday in the Lake District and North Yorkshire inspired Eileen Perrin to write poetryl.

After the war in Yugoslavia in 1990 we were thoughtful about holidays overseas, so stayed in England, and in May 1991 went to Telford and the Iron Bridge.

In June we travelled north to the Lake District, calling in overnight at a hotel in Litchfield, and we went over the house of Dr. Samuel Johnson who had been born there in 1709. He was an author and lexicographer who wrote the ‘Dictionary of the English Language’ with six assistants, starting in 1746 and finishing in 1755.

He met James Boswell in 1763 who became Johnson’s devoted companion. They travelled in Scotland together, and later Boswell wrote the famous biography of his hero Johnson.

Reaching the Lake District we had lunch in Kendal and then on to Grasmere, where we stayed in the Swan Hotel and while there, visited Dove Cottage, Wordsworth’s home. We went to Windermere and the town of Hawkshead, then to Coniston Water which is overlooked by John Ruskin’s house Brantwood on a hillside beside the lake. Ruskin who had loved the Lake District from childhood, moved into the house when he was 52 and started rebuilding it and adding extra rooms. He lived there until his death at age 80 in 1900.

On June 25th we went to Thirlmere, and I started to write poetry about the places we visited including Butttermere and Honister Pass.

On to Derwent Water where Beatrix Potter lived, the famous writer of children’s books about Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddleduck. Book sales made her wealthy and she used her earnings to buy Hill Top farm in 1905. She moved out later, leaving half of Hill Top house for the farmer, and the other half vacant, which has now become the Beatrix Potter Museum. She moved to Castle Cottage nearby in 1909; also bought from her earnings, where she lived for thirty years. She wrote fewer books, and became interested in acquiring property.

She was a passionate conservationist. She died in 1943 aged seventy-seven, leaving over £211,000, fourteen farms, and 4000 acres of farmland to the National Trust, together with her flocks of Herdwick sheep which was the local Lake District breed.

Into north Yorkshire, and before going into the small town of Osmotherley we saw the ruins of Mount Grace Priory. We had lunch in the old Three Tuns pub, Osmotherley on June 29th.
Going south, crossing Kildale Moor, we reached Bedale and Thorpe Perrow Arboretum.

After driving through Wensleydale we stayed in Solberge Hall, a grade 2 listed Georgian hotel standing in nine acres of gardens and woodland, outside Northallerton. We were offered a double room with two king-sized beds, which we were invited to use, and we did.

On to Ripon, going into the Cathedral where Leslie’s cousin Ronald Perrin was organist and choirmaster, and we walked round the old market in the town centre.

Lastly we visited the ruins of 12th century Fountains Abbey, and the adjacent Studley Royal water gardens. Then on the way home through Staffordshire we went to Rugeley where Les was once stationed in the Fleet Air Arm, and looked at his old haunt the Plaza cinema.

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Buttermere

Birches and hawthorns browse by the water
On Buttermere's shore where the beeches hang low
And stone upon stone have been placed in their thousands
To build the wall-patterns that zig-zagging go
From the lakes, from the roads and up to the hills;
Put there by the old men through summer and winter,
Whose grandsons now paint yellow lines on the roads.

*

The Three Tuns at Osmotherley

Purple polyanthus and full-blown pink peonies
Cover the walls by the Powder Room door:
Taking our drinks we go out to the sunshine
'Neath mushroom umbrellas with white poppy decor.

The balm of a morning in a small pub's back garden
With hollyhocks, clematis, yellow Mermaid rose:
Lager and lime so cool and refreshing
Makes us feel good from our head to our toes.

Church bells chime out three-quarters the hour;
The hum of a freezer behind us we hear.
There's a patch of mixed mint 'longside the woodshed -
The store for the onions, the carrots and beer.

Small children pass by and we notice young voices
"I want a straw with my lemonade" -
A pleasant young woman brings trayfuls of food out
And some of the lucky ones sit in the shade.

Peace and contentment descends in the garden.
People are settled enjoying their meals.
This wonderful way we all celebrate summer
Here in this place in the bright Yorkshire Dales.

*

Thorp Perrow Arboretum: Bedale Yorkshire

The black pine's Zulu warriors are massing rank on rank.
Well, that is how I saw them from my daisy-dappled bank.
Beneath cathedral canopies waved beech’s peacock fan;
Nearby green tweed umbrella firs
Spread their triangled plan.
By needle-fall the drooping pines
Are left with twigs bare, thin,
In delicate lace-grey lines are hung,
As Chinese brushes limn.

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