April 2011

As I write, lambing is getting underway in the valley. There have been several lambs around for a few weeks in Lorton and over towards Workington and now new arrivals are gradually creeping closer to home. When I went down to Crummock recently there was a little gang down towards the pump house who were practising their vertical take-offs – they look so funny, you can’t help laughing at them.

There were some beautiful days in March and spells when it was so dry I had to water the tubs in the courtyard! The containers are all looking very good with lots of spring bulbs adding a splash of colour. I had a week earmarked to have Crummock Cottage’s sitting area repaved and fortunately we were able get it done without any delays from the weather: trying to create a ‘random’ pattern of slabs in a sheepfold shaped area was a bit mind bending but it is looking very smart and will make a lovely area for relaxing outside.

At the beginning of the month it was the annual Words by the Water Festival in Keswick. I always enjoy going to events there and Margaret (my sister) joined me for the week. We went to a wide range of events, all very enjoyable, including Martin Wainwright, the Northern editor of the Guardian talking about ’True North,’ Keith Richardson launching his book , ’Jak’s Yak’, on Cumbrian trees and Val Corbett sharing some beautiful photos from her book ‘Winter Landscapes’ and her forthcoming book on rain – should be interesting ! The audiences at these events are very participatory, adding comments and information or even correcting speakers!

It was also a very sad week as we heard of the tragic death of Mark Weir, the owner of Honister Slate Mines. He will be a great loss: every community needs people like him and we will miss his small green Gazelle in the skies above us.

One of the visitors we had staying a few weeks ago was from Australia. He was on holiday in the UK and was spending a few days here with his family. They didn’t have the greatest of weathers but he took some very atmospheric photos which are on his website www.jimmisnaps.com

One of the real pleasures of the Lake District out of season is that you can go to places that tend to get very busy and hardly see a soul. Clare, my daughter, was with me for a week recently and we went to Beatrix Potter’s house, Hilltop, very small, very lived in, quite ‘girly’ in an old fashioned way – altogether delightful! We then went for a walk round Tarn Howes and picnicked in the sunshine with a backdrop of that iconic view: there was scarcely anyone else around!

Finally, thank you to everyone who has who contacted me to say how much they like the new website!

New website

Welcome to our new website! I hope you like it and will enjoy browsing through our pages. If Loweswater is new to you and you are thinking about coming here on holiday I hope our website is whetting your appetite! If you are old friends, it’s lovely to have you visiting and hope you like what we are doing.

Many people say coming here is like coming home and I understand what they mean. Guests often ask what it is like to live here or what it is like in different seasons, so I thought having the new website could be a great opportunity to share some thoughts and pictures with you. Never thought I would have a blog!

It is usually very quiet at the beginning of the year here and there are not many people about unless there is really good weather at a weekend. Keswick has been deserted (!) and when you walk round the Heads, there are builders and decorators vans busy at many of the B&Bs. For me also, it is an opportunity to do any work that needs to be done in the cottages, checking through everything, renewing worn equipment, etc. All the bedding goes to the laundry in January and I always think it becomes a bit like those competitions where people try to see how many of whatever you can get into a mini only in my case it is how many duvets and pillows I can get in a Golf and still safely see to drive!

I had our annual VisitEngland inspection at the end of January so this year most things had to be done by then. The inspector, who had not been to the Cottages before, gave us a very professional and thorough inspection and said all the cottages were all very well maintained and cared for: they were immaculate (we scored 100% on cleanliness) and all three retained their Five Star rating with Gold Accolade. Phew!

Life hasn’t all been cleaning, repairing and replacing and I have taken opportunities to get out and walk. There have been some glorious days, but also some very wet ones! There was a magical Sunday in January when I was walking along the shore of Derwentwater: the sun was shining, the sky was blue and the lake was frozen; all round the edge there were large slabs of ice creating amazing ice sculptures.

The snowdrops have been lovely this year, there are lots along the Thackthwaite road and there is an amazing bank of them by the top entrance to Lanthwaite Wood at Scale Hill. The birds have started singing and it is making it all feel quite spring-like.

A bit of news some of you may be interested in – Low Lorton bridge reopened at the end January! The first vehicle across was the post van driven by Alison, our local post lady, which everyone thought was very appropriate. http://melbreakcommunities.wordpress.com/parish-councils/lorton/

I started off by wondering what I was going to write but seem to have written quite a lot so I will finish here for now. Before I sign off I just want to say thank you to Paul, one of my sons, who has built the website based on a design by Matude. He may be a familiar face to some of you: he is usually to be seen, when he is here, hosing down very dirty bikes in the courtyard. Thank you Paul!