The dog's holiday part 2

Dear Monty,

I hope you enjoyed my previous wittering,

I have never been to Chelsea but watching the coverage on BBC 2 it seemed you warmed to presenting it by day two.

I have been looking at gardens whilst on holiday in the Lake District - and I must admit that I am seeing gardens in a different light, much like Dan Pearson and his best in show garden, I am increasingly aware of how much nature creates gardens in response to our management of the landscape. I happened to buy an 'old' book in a bookshop in Ambleside called 'Seeing Gardens' by the photographer Sam Abell published 15 years ago. His photography and philosophy combine to express the idea that gardens can be found everywhere if we have the eyes to see them. It was worth finding this book - it was one of those moments in life that seem pre-ordained.

Day 6

A walk from Ambleside to Todd Crag.
Ambleside is very popular and is mainly furnished with tea rooms and outdoor wear/climbing outfitters of varying brands, although I did find the bookshop already mentioned.

The walk took us through St Mary's churchyard and the path increased sharply in gradient up to the crags. The mountains with their u-shaped valleys just surround you like a grand amphitheatre.
The land to the south of Windermere in contrast is rather flat. We sat awhile on Todd Crag just taking in the view- allowing it to settle in the mind and enjoying its bulk and movement. I did a line drawing and took photographs which incidentally never convey the real vista - the openness the wind and the sheer elemental power of the place. Wetherlam, Swirl How, Gray Friar all before us and part of the Conniston Old Man range.

St Mary's Ambleside

Gradual climb

Ambleside nestling

Windermere looking south

Old Man

Crinkle Crags

looking north

This old man recumbent dreamt of lilies in the tarn and love among the crags. Pike o'Blisco, Bowfell and Langdale Pikes shimmered off into the distance constantly changed by the shifting light.

lilies in the tarn

shimmering ?

A scribble

Nature gardening the downward path 

The remedy for lost love - no one knows.

I am a twit.

Day 7

Five swans in formation
Combing the air with their wings
A song of lament.

We climbed 900 feet above Grasmere - stopping for breath and views and exchanging breathless greetings with half a dozen other walkers looking fit and smug as they clambered down.
The morning started bright and warm but by mid-day the wind came in sharply from the Irish Sea and carried with it cloud heavy with rain, and on the tops it began to drizzle. The views were once again dramatic in this moody changing light. Just below a tarn we happened upon an old ruined bothy, without its roof but protected from the cold wind by its walls being built into the crag side. We sat upon its old stone floor and just watched the mountain scene change - reds, oranges, purples, deep dark blues with flashes of emerald green in the valley below. It was as if the mountains were morphing - receding and then moving toward us - like a ballet of dancing light and colour. We sat in our upper circle seats cupping a hot tea from our flask in our cold hands.

Taking a rest (knackered)

The lion and the lamb

A reminder that the hills outlive us and the sheep


Tarn above Windermere

The bothy

View of distant Conniston

An interpretation of the view from the bothy, done as sketch and painted later

The descent took us closer to the sound of geese and commercialism.

Day 8

Coldest May for many years - but not defeated we had a coal fire and Toff lay exhausted from his endeavours. I watched the ubiquitous Grayson Perry on channel 4 where he introduced a group of Essex Julies to his latest artwork/shrine/holiday home called Julie's House. Grayson was a contemporary of mine when studying Fine Art in Portsmouth - the only one of us that I know of who made it into the 'art establishment' by being anti - art establishment - good on him I say. He is a deep thinker and his art is true in its struggle and exploration of who we are and what art is.

Toff exhausted

Is this art ? It's not challenging or thought provoking is it ?

This little cottage has become Paul and Sue's house even though it is only ours for these 2 weeks.
Today we drove over mountain passes - the dog hated it.
We stopped for a short walk to Hardknot Fort, a Roman fortification at the head of this stark valley, spectacular, it sweeps down to the coast at Ravenglass. The cold rain came in so we retreated home.

2000 year old walls

Art and a garden

Hardy herdy's

Day 9

A short walk through Grizedale to Satterthwaite.

Art in Grizedale


There are a few more days to follow if you can stand it, I,will write again shortly about my opinion on the gardens of Dalemain and Holker Hall.


p.s. I've just realised this blog is turning into the equivalent of the boring slide show.


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