Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Lake District

Lake District Tour
It was a 5 hour drive to the Lakes which are located near the border between England and Scotland. I went with my aunt and two of her friends. One of them drove us there in her car. She is the most brilliant driver I have ever met. I have met guys who drive much worse than her in emergency circumstances. And on our return, we encountered such a situation. But I will come to that later.

After a 4 hour drive from London to the lakes, we put up at a cozy little bed-and-breakfast inn. For the first time I had a typical English breakfast, presented in the typically British fashion. First, a bowl of cereal with milk, then tea/coffee with bacon and eggs, along with sausages, fried mushrooms and tomatoes, followed by toast/crumpets with butter and four kinds of jam and mustard, honey and milk.

The Lake District spans a large area, and has over 12 lakes. We stayed near lake Windermere, the largest lake of them all. On Saturday we went to see Wordsworth’s house, Dove Cottage; this is located at a place called Cockermouth. Near this area is Bassenthwaith Lake. The day we were visiting happened to be the bicentenary of his poem, The Daffodils. Inside the small, quite cramped, white cottage, was exhibited many of the objects referred to in his poems like for example, the couch he sat on, while contemplating the beauty of the daffodils. Also exhibited were many personal articles belonging to William, Dorothy and Mary Wordsworth. Clothes, furniture and other articles, preserved and exhibited in glass cases; quaint, antique and quite fascinating.

We also visited the museum next to Dove Cottage, where I saw, besides many remarkable and fantastic things, Wordsworth’s own handwritten drafts of the Prelude, Daffodils and many other poems! I saw the very first copy of the first edition of The Lyrical Ballads! I saw Coleridge's handwritten copy of Christobel! There were loads of handwritten letters by Wordsworth, Coleridge, Mary, Dorothy; many paintings by Constable (a painter whose paintings inspired many a poem by the Romantic poets), though I could not find the one which inspired Ode to Autumn (Keats). I found out that it was kept in the museum beside Keats house in Keswick, in another part of the lakes. We drove by Keats house but didn’t have time to stop and explore.

[This is a guest post. The author, Madhurima Gupta, who was a student of English Literature in Jadavpur University, is now working as a successful animator. These are excerpts from email and letter which she wrote during her visit to England.]

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