|Here's one thing I like about England--everything is so old. This cereal is made by a family who has been milling since 1675!|
|Starting out on our final hike--from Thirlmere over Hellvelyn to Glenridding.|
|Chris on the trail.|
|Made it to the top!|
|And glad to have made it too!|
|This bold sheep wanted our apples. We didn't comply.|
|A sheep enjoying the view.|
|We descended via Striding Edge. I took the lower path for much of the way, but Chris scrambled over the rocks.|
|Patterdale--I have misread the bus schedule in the past, but this was a doozy. Turns out there's no bus to Windermere from Glenridding on weekdays. We took the bus to Patterdale and called Roger, who rescued us.|
|Roger turned the rescue into another lovely trip through the Lakes. Here's Windermere at sunset.|
Jeff Cowton and I had lunch the other day, and he asked me if my time in Grasmere had been everything I had wanted. I thought he would say “expected,” and “wanted” made me think a little bit more. It certainly was more than I expected. I hadn’t really known what to expect, and part of the adventure was not having much of an agenda in terms of research. Like Jeff, I expected I would spend nearly every day at the library, but I hadn’t counted on my research taking me into areas that required outside research at the British Library and the Quaker Library—certainly not to the extent that it happened. I hadn’t expected other duties to take my time away from the library in the last few months. But was my time in Grasmere what I had wanted? What had I wanted anyway? I had wanted uninterrupted time to research and to think about Wordsworth. Though the last few months didn’t work out in a way that had me in the library regularly, all that I was doing was still connected to Wordsworth in some way, so yes, I still end the trip feeling this desire was met. I wanted to immerse myself in Wordsworth instead of splitting my time between Wordsworth and other authors—yes, I definitely achieved that goal. I wanted to be of service to the Wordsworth Trust. I think I’ve been some help. I wanted to refresh myself spiritually—yes, I feel refreshed and ready to return to the classroom. And Chris and I wanted to see what it was like to live in England for an extended period of time. After all, people often fantasize about living in another country, but is it all it’s cracked up to be? Well, we got to live here for six months, and I have to say that we are only more in love with the place and the people than ever. Whoever said that British people were reserved or unfriendly (a stereotype we’ve heard) hasn’t had the opportunity we have had to get to know the locals. People in Grasmere and the surrounding area couldn’t have been nicer. We were warmly welcomed and made to feel part of the community. We truly feel as if we now have a second home. And I have to tell you, it is very, very hard to leave. In fact, we couldn’t leave the country right away! We are withdrawing in stages—first to Oxford for a week of researching, then to London to visit friends, and finally to Manchester for a little more abroad planning and our flight home. We hope this staged withdrawal will make it easier to leave. I think we are both already counting the months to our next possible return to the Lakes.
As this is my last blog, I have many, many people to thank:
Jeff Cowton—thank you for making me feel so welcome from the moment I first emailed with a question about the trip months before I arrived. You have been an invaluable resource, and I look forward to continuing to work with you on future projects.
Beccy Turner—thank you for supplying me with both just the right material and good humor throughout the winter!
Kate Hollier—thank you for helping me organize my group visit and answering my endless emails.
Everyone at the Trust—you are too many to list, but every person at the Trust made me feel welcome and always seemed happy to see me.
Sue and Peter Coward—thank you for making it possible for us to live here for six months and for making us feel so very much at home.
Roger Haigh—thank you for your friendship first and foremost. And second, thank you for showing us all around the Lakes and helping us to see it through a local’s eyes. Thank you for driving us to church every week. And thank you for rescuing us on Friday!
All our friends at First Church of Christ, Scientist, Kendal—thank you for giving us a warm church home. From the beginning, you’ve made us feel as if we belonged and had something to contribute. Thanks for the lovely cake Isobel!Grasmere—can one thank a place? I think I have to. Thank you, Grasmere, for providing countless hours of peace, reflection, hiking, entertainment. We have indeed felt at Home at Grasmere. As John said after church on Sunday, it's farewell, not goodbye. We will be back.