It wasn't planned as a literary tour of the Lake District, but one thing led to another. Saturday was Wordsworth day as we started out at Dove Cottage, marvelling at the thought of Wordsworth, his wife, several children, sister Dorothy, not to mention all their literary visitors, crammed into those dark, tiny rooms, still smoke-scented from coal fires. Who wouldn't feel a thrill seeing the couch where he lay in vacant or in pensive mood thinking of daffodils? Although it was Dorothy who noted them first:
Now I need to read Dorothy's Grasmere Journal and de Quincey's kiss and tell Recollections. (Today they keep a vase of dried poppy heads under his portrait.)
If you follow the scent of freshly-baked gingerbread from the old village school in Grasmere that has been Sarah Nelson's gingerbread shop since 1854, you'll come to Wordsworth's grave in St Oswald's churchyard ... he died in 1850, before the shop, but Dorothy mentions buying gingerbread in her journal.
Then we drove on to Rydal Mount, the family home from 1813 - and another couch where presumably he also laid in pensive mood. The house was bought in derelict state by a great-great-great grand-daughter in 1969 and Wordsworth descendants still use it as a family holiday home today. An Indian lady looked completely overwhelmed to be there, fulfilling a lifelong dream ... which made me feel ashamed that I only know snippets of Wordsworth by heart ... daffodils and quiet as a nun and still glides the stream. Now I need to read The Prelude.