Where does the time go? Last weekend I was sitting in a room overlooking Coniston Old Man in the Lake District, miserably contemplating the long journey home to Somerset. I was full of enthusiasm for writing a blog post about my few days away, putting up a few photos and generally musing on the general fabulous-ness of my favourite corner of the world. Although I did post a poem inspired by a previous visit to the North Lakes, the world of work imposed itself upon me all too quickly and my blog has suffered as a consequence.
No matter really; it is never too late to write about what inspires us through life and besides, part of this post is about one terrific reason to go back up to Cumbria as soon as time and finances allow.
I watched Sheila Hancock on The Art of Watercolours on Sunday 20th February. It was lovely to watch and an interesting hour’s television but it seemed once again to follow the increasing tendency of BBC documentaries (particularly I noticed in the recent Faulks on Fiction) to assume we like to see moody shots of celebrities looking dreamily into the distance. However, it seemed to tie in with an exhibition that I simply didn’t have time to see when I was up in Grasmere last week.
Entitled Savage Grandeur and Noblest Thoughts, discovering the Lake District 1750 – 1820 it takes further the issues touched upon by Sheila Hancock. Revolution abroad encouraged artists and writers from Britain to take a closer look at areas of outstanding beauty closer to home, resulting in a flurry of watercolour and oil paintings; sketches, books and prints that inspired an ever-increasing number of people to visit The Lake District. Unfortunately time did not allow me to take a closer look, but the Wordsworth Museum website suggests it will be an interesting look at this radical period in art and literature through the eyes of those visiting the Lakes through the eras of the Enlightenment and Romanticism. It draws on works held within the Wordsworth Trust’s collection, and my only reservation is the phrase ‘The exhibition will be complemented by a computer-generated guide to the scenery depicted in selected exhibits’…..Hmmm.
Anyway, the purpose of our trip up there was really to give my 81 year old Mum a treat. My sister had come up with the idea, bless her, and it was never going to be three days of walking the fells and wandering around exhibitions. The weather was kind to us, but it was still a gentle drift from one eating establishment to another with an occasional pootle around some scenery (much of it hidden by low cloud unfortunately, but we knew it was there..). My sister Jane is the first to admit that she has a very low irritation threshold. Love her as I do it was clear that she was already reaching her limit, coping as she had with my apparently ‘woolly liberal’ politics and Mum’s constant exclamations of ‘Oh the mist makes it look just like Japan’. So I didn’t want to push my luck. Suggesting a tour of a museum, especially as we had already had tea and cake elsewhere, would have been doing just that.
This does now mean I have a good reason for another 300 mile trip up to Cumbria before the exhibition ends on the 21st June; although if I don’t get some paying work done I will have to buy a tent and go on my own. I would also like to take some more photos with the camera on my phone. Really.
‘Philistine!!’ I hear keen photographers everywhere shout. Well possibly so – but the cloud last week was low, the weather dry but gloomy and frankly I have zillions of photos of the Lakes in those conditions (and better) taken with various SLRs. I am not good enough to produce anything other than a nice amateur shot so this time I went minimalist and snapped away with my Samsung Galaxy Apollo.
Here are a few of the results. I know they are pretty rough, but they are different and for me actually capture the ethereal quality of the days there last week better than any I would have taken by more conventional means.
These are no where near as stunning as the work on the www by a growing movement of photographers using an iPhone (for a great example of such work see my friend Lumilyon). But as I said – I gave it a go. In the end it was really all about our wonderful Mum, who did so well walking about in a place she never thought she would see again. I write (at length some might say) on the subject of mental health issues. There is much to be said for a regular dose of Cumbria to support our emotional health and well-being.