February 2022

It’s half-term, it’s raining and the first guests of the season are in the Cottages so it’s time to get back to writing my monthly blog. Amazingly I have got some small daffodils out in the garden, they are a bit soggy but hopefully are a marker of the Spring to come.

January was a busy month working on maintenance and checks in the Cottages in preparation for this year’s visitors. There is always so much to do from big items such as a new heating system for Loweswater to making sure we start the year with the right number of tea spoons.

My walking recently has generally been fairly local. If I remember to take my phone with me when I take the dog for his walk I can often get some interesting pictures.

Late afternoon sun on Grasmoor on a still day is amazing and watching the sun start to appear early morning over Melbreak from Loweswater bothy is quite special as well.

My big excitement one morning at Loweswater however was seeing a Great Northern Diver, sadly I didn’t have my phone with me that day.

Very often people think that not much goes on in rural areas but at present there are quite a lot of changes to our local environment. We have the lovely wildlife ponds developed in the field behind Foulsyke and there may be another to be created down the fields in front. However the most concerning development at present, and that which will have the greatest impact, is the felling work that is to be undertaken in Holme Wood. Sadly some larch trees have developed Phytophthora ramorum which necessitates the felling of many trees including, I believe, the Loweswater pheasant, which was designed by Johnston Edwards, former Forester to the Queen. Holme Wood is home to a wide range of flora and fauna including the red squirrel so hopefully the work will not be carried out until after the breeding season. The implications and logistics of the work are wide ranging and concerning for everyone and we are already seeing preparation regarding access for the vehicles and equipment that will be required.

Looking ahead on a more positive note, Theatre by the Lake at Keswick is open again and they have a full season of drama and events. Their Spring production is the play ‘Kes’ based on the story by Barry Hines and later in the year we have ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’ and an all time favourite ‘Brief Encounter’ in September. There is much else besides.

I started this blog with Spring flowers so I will end with another, the first flower of Spring, the snowdrop. My first ones appeared in the garden around the middle of January, now they are everywhere carpeting the verges and lanes as well as gardens and churchyards.