Spent a couple of days tramping around the Peak District National Park, specifically Dovedale, a valley in the Peak District- owned by the National Trust. The valley was cut by the River Dove and runs for just over 3 miles between Milldale in the north and a wooded ravine near Thorpe Cloud and Bunster Hill in the south.
The beautiful countryside got me thinking about literature connections to the area- any great poets or writers. There was no one that wrote particularly about the area, however a few very famous writers had passed through, lived or stayed in the area:
Daniel Defoe (1661 – 1731)- passed through.
Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784)- visited.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 – 1778)- visited.
Charlotte Bronte (1816 – 1855)- visited, (around the time she was writing Jane Eyre).
D.H.Lawrence (1885 – 1930)- lived.
George Eliot (1819 – 1880)- visited.
So although the area hasn’t produced a Wordsworth or Coleridge, it still has some literary history.
A large and conspicuous waterbird, the cormorant has an almost primitive appearance with its long neck making it appear reptilian. It is often seen standing with its wings held out to dry. Regarded by some as black, sinister and greedy, cormorants are supreme fishers which can bring them into conflict with anglers and they have been persecuted in the past. The UK holds internationally important wintering numbers.
The Common Cormorant or shag Lays eggs inside a paper bag. The reason you will see no doubt It is to keep the lightning out. But what these unobservant birds Have never noticed is that herds Of wandering bears may come with buns And steal the bags to hold the crumbs.
Last week (10th- 16th August) was Afternoon Tea Week. I’m a bit late with this post, but couldn’t let the occasion pass completely.
Afternoon Tea is a tea-related ritual, introduced in Britain in the early 1840s. It evolved as a little meal to stem the hunger and anticipation of an evening meal at 8pm.
The tradition of afternoon tea made its way into English literature around a decade after the brew made its way into British drawing rooms in the early seventeenth century. I love this quote from C.S. Lewis:
We as a family made a lot of cake over the lockdown period. It was something to do and something to share from a social distance and became quite special to us all.
Here are my two favourite Afternoon Tea pictures from the unprecedented times of 2020.
For me there is nowhere like India- the vibrant culture, the amazing Himalayas, arid Rajasthan and the idyllic beaches of Goa. I absolutely love it and today is Indian Independence day – fifty three years of Indian Independence.
Which got me thinking beyond my Indian travels to my favourite books with an Indian setting. Here they are:
“We had seen an advertisement of her, and we reached her down an enlarged rabbit-hole of a lane. At very first sight the Committee of Ways and Means [Mrs Kipling and himself]said ‘That’s her! The only She! Make an honest woman of her – quick!’. We entered and felt her Spirit – her Feng Shui – to be good. We went through every room and found no shadow of ancient regrets, stifled miseries, nor any menace though the ‘new’ end of her was three hundred years old…”
Rudyard Kipling on discovering Batemans, his future home.
Four hundred and nine years ago today, 2 May 2020, we had a New Bible. After seven years work, the King James Bible, a new version of the Christian holy book in English, is published for the first time in London. It was commissioned in 1604 and completed as well as published in 1611 under the sponsorship of James VI.