My weekend break in the Lake District: from Windermere to Sawrey [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]


After ten minutes of queueing, I climbed aboard the ferry and sat on the top deck, rubbing my hands together to keep them warm. Windermere may be very beautiful, but it certainly is freezing. Five minutes later, I was cruising slowly around the lake, with a guide’s voice coming through the speakers attached to the front end of the top deck. I was informed of the small island in the middle of the lake, how far it was to Hawkshead, which I planned on visiting later, and also was shown roughly where Sawrey was, the home of Beatrix Potter. I also planned on visiting her cottage.
“And over here,” said the guide’s voice as we came to the last leg of the trip, “are the Windermere houses. Now I can’t tell you the exact price, but I’ll let you know that they’re in the region of two million to three million pounds.”
There were gasps of ‘ooh’s and ‘aah’s, as the guide had just told us all that he was wiping our entire bank accounts to get himself one of these houses. I looked over towards the houses, with their own little speedboats bobbing on the water at the bottom of their gardens. I felt incredible envy for the people that owned them. There they were, with all their luxury and huge bank account, whereas I occupied a tiny bedsit in the centre of London with only a few hundred pounds to my name.
      After the boat trip, I returned to my car and drove the half a mile or so down to the car ferry, which would take me over to the water to Sawrey so that I could then drive up to Hawkshead on the opposite side of the lake. The getting on to the car ferry proved a huge task: because of the gap in between the ferry and the ground, I had to carefully manoeuvre my car on to the ferry in the lowest gear possible. Of course, being me, the car stalled several times, causing me to use the worst swear words and shout them out loudly. Thank God the windows were closed.
     Once off the ferry on the other side of Lake Windermere, the drive to Sawrey wasn’t long and I soon found myself in the centre of the village, which can only be described as ‘quaint’. Sawrey consists of a few white cottages dotted about in the Cumbria countryside and in amongst these houses stands, Hill Top Farm cottage, the famous home of Beatrix Potter. Fortunately I was early because the queue became tremendous. After paying my £5.80 admission fee to enter the house, I crept through the kitchen and the lounge, imagining Beatrix Potter sitting at the table or by the fireplace, wondering what new adventures to give to Jemima Puddleduck or Samuel Whiskers. I was told that the house had been recreated for the film Miss Potter which made it seem or the more real to me. Upstairs I walked with my tour group around Miss Potter’s bedroom, gazing at the tiny windows and wondering if she’d ever felt lonely living in this house alone. Downstairs again, I exited out of the door into the garden, where the experience really came alive for me.
       I spotted the green gate in the garden wall, the very one that had featured in The Tale of Peter Rabbit. There were also many vegetable patches including a strawberry patch and original watering cans and flower pots, still lying there long after the author and illustrator had died. I could just imagine Jemima Puddleduck waddling through the long grass or Tom Kitten crawling underneath the trees. In fact, this very house was the one that featured in ‘The Tale of Tom Kitten’. ...

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