High Yewdale, a Beatrix Potter Farm: A Delicious Treat Tucked Into the Hills of the Glorious Lake District  

Posted by Heidi

Once upon a time a talented author known as Beatrix Potter bought a great number of farms in the Lake District, a picture-postcard-beautiful area of North West England, to ensure that they would remain unspoiled.  She was a true conservationist; she rescued 14 farms, totaling 4,000 acres, and we are blessed to be able to benefit from her actions.  This farm is known as High Yewdale and we (those of us of our tour group) were lucky enough to have a treat here and explore the grounds.

But first, we embarked on day 5 of our 16 day trip by heading out of Liverpool.  This photo is of Georges Dock--it is fairly historic, one can surmise this from the structure itself, but it's not very exciting (except for the structure itself).

The Lake District, as you might have guessed, is replete with lakes that shimmer like jewels in the summer sun.  With the mountains on the horizon line, I felt very much at home.  It felt very "California" to me.

This flower bed full of begonias is not terribly California--they would wither and die very quickly here.  But in England, sigh . . .Aren't they gorgeous?

This is a hotel right on the water in a little town called Ambleside.  Or Windermere.  Or maybe the lake is Windermere.  Not sure.  My notes read:  Lush Windermere photo break at Ambleside.  

The ducks and swans flocked to Mary, and not just because all animals do.  (The very nice man to her left gave her some seed to share.)

Clearly these birds have been well-trained.

A through-the-coach-window photo of the countryside as we made our way to the farm in or near Coniston.  The roads are narrow and wind around--my favorite kind!  Our tour guide reported that this is the hardest day of the tour for the coach driver.  In fact, there was a bit of a showdown between our coach and a long line of cars just before we arrived at High Yewdale.  Fun stuff.

Is this not the dreamiest cottage?  It needs a climbing rose to clamber over the arch in front of the door, with a few branches trained up against the house, as well, but one can't have everything (unless you are the farm next door which had exactly that but which defied the molasses-slow speed of my camera operator).  We were served a delicious tea (caffeine free was available for the 10 (count 'em--10!) Mormons on this trip) and, in my case, an incredible gluten free chocolate confection.  The owner of the house also owns a bakery from whence came said confection.  I was promised the recipe but it has yet to land in my inbox.  She is probably afraid I will set up business with it--it was that good.

While we ate (three or four tables were set up in two or three different rooms) we were regaled with some interesting stories, one of which included the discovery, by the current owner, of this wooden panelling that had been covered up by drywall.  It was a very exciting discovery as it dated the house to the 1500's, which makes it about 100 years older than formally supposed.  (This photo features our new friends, the Johnsons.  Love them!)

The inside of the house was full of people and tables so I decided to take photos outside until the house cleared (I never got back inside, darn it!).  This photo marks the moment when the dog (name forgotten) began his/her? attachment to Mary, as all dogs do.  The gal with the backpack is either Brooklyn or Bailey McKnight (they are identical twins and just because I am one doesn't mean I can tell them apart--except me and mine--I know which one is which, pretty much all of the time--I'm uber smart that way) who have their own youtube channel with over 2 million subscribers.  They were recently featured in this video by Studio C.  They became famous by modeling hairstyles on their mom's, Mindy McKnight ;s, channel called Cutegirlshairstyles.  (Maybe some of you have heard of them.) They were on our tour with Mom and Dad and they met fans everywhere they went.  It was pretty remarkable.  (Remember the photo of Mary with the swans?  A photo of the twins frolicing amongst the swans went onto Instagram and 6 hours later it had 86,000 likes.  Mary's had none.  Mostly because I didn't post it on Instagram.  But you hear what I am saying.)  Anyway, a very nice, sweet family--we enjoyed getting to know them a little bit.

Here's some of the folks from our group milling about.  I can't get over the setting of this house.  Spectacular!

As can be seen all over the U.K. and Ireland, flowers grow like weeds, here, even when they are in containers.  Happy happy happy!  I love their colors against the blue of the caravan.

 Or whatever it is.  Horse trailer?  Either way, I want one.

I suppose this is the barn.  I want one of these, too.  Take note--Christmas is coming!

View from the garage towards the other ridge of mountains.  I guess one ridge just isn't good enough.

I adore stacked rock walls.  I am almost certain it would make, in modified form, a gorgeous kitchen backsplash.  Someone really ought to get to work on that.

There are roses, yes.  And they are pink--happy day!  And they are spilling over a wall of stacked gray stone.  It almost makes up for the lack of a rose crawling over the walls of the house.

Mountains, trees (yews, maybe?), white washed walls, slate roof, there is just all sorts of loveliness!  Also, just to the left of the gate are our new friends the Vichrillis.  Love them!

The mudroom is just outside the door to the left--great idea!

There is no such thing as a bad photo of High Yewdale.

Here's Mary with our much-loved tour guide, Ann.  They are most likely discussing the dog.  Have I mentioned how much Mary loves dogs?

She now has a lot of photos of many strange dogs all over Ireland, England and Scotland.  I suppose it is not any different from my copious photos of strange buildings and strange flowers.  I must say, this was a very cute dog.  Everyone wanted to visit with her and pet her.  However, when it came time to board the coach, Mary went over to her/him? one last time, whereupon the dog made it abundantly clear that he/she wanted Mary to take him/her along.  Like I said, it was love at first sight.

Do be sure to click on this photo above to enlarge it.  It is all kinds of gorgeous.

Our last sight of High Yewdale through the coach window.  I hope to be there again one day.
Next time:  more of the Lake District and Grasmere where William Wadsworth is buried in a pretty little graveyard.  I am fairly certain that it sports daffodils in the spring.

Liverpool, the Beatles, Strawberry Fields (Forever), Penny Lane, the Cavern Club and the Beautiful River Mersey  

Posted by Heidi

It had already been an eventful day:  breakfast at the wonderful MacDonald Bath Spa Hotel, Prince Charles's Highgrove, Anne Hathaway's Cottage and William Shakespeare's Stratford-Upon-Avon.  Since a visit to Liverpool was on the itinerary, along with a mention of the Beatles, I knew that we would be seeing it, but it wasn't something I had anticipated with much pleasure.  I thought of Liverpool as being a rather ordinary, somewhat industrial city, and not anything that interested me.  Boy, was I wrong!  The red gate above denotes the famed Strawberry Fields neighborhood, the one that is mentioned in the song.  I love the Beatles's music, but I am not fanatical, so I was surprised at how much I enjoyed seeing this.  It is smack dab in the middle of a typical 1950-60's neighborhood.  We walked there from the coach, but most of my photos of this part of Liverpool were taken through the coach window.

This barber shop is the very one mentioned in the song Penny Lane.  "In Penny Lane there is a barber showing photogaphs . . . "  I doubt this is the same barber and he is not showing photos that I can see, but we were told that it is all pretty much the same as it was then.  Both Paul and John lived in this part of Liverpool and they wrote about the things they saw every day as they walked to school.  The next verse starts thusly:  On the corner is a banker with a motorcar.  We saw that bank, as well, though I did not photo it.  I don't know why not-it was very round and very interesting.

We drove around this part of Liverpool for a while.  I liked this bow window so I "took" it home with me.  Again, this is in the approximate area of where Paul McCartney and John Lennon grew up.  There were brightly colored garbage bins in every yard, including one for recycling.  That would have made an interesting photo, also, by golly.  Perhaps I was distracted by the thought of going to Penny Lane.

The truth is, we were on Penny Lane itself for most of our time in the coach.  We did get out to photo this.  It seemed a more popular attraction than the Strawberry Fields gate for some reason I cannot fathom.  Somewhere between the two was the school they went to --I didn't photo that either.  I must have been half asleep.

We then turned toward the water which took us through Chinatown.  This colorful structure is the Chinatown Gate on Nelson Street.  It is very beautiful.

I loved these Chinese lantern light posts.

I also appreciated these fish/whale/dolphin (couldn't tell from inside the coach nor from my photo) light posts which appeared as we drew closer to the water.  The statue is of Prince Albert at St. Georges Hall on Lime, Merseyside--don't quote me but I believe that is a part of Liverpool (we were certainly in Liverpool when I took this photo) and refers to the part of town near the River Mersey.  (Oh, my, it pays to have a wordsmith defining these things, does it not?)

Some spectacular building on Dale Street, as per the street sign on said spectacular building.

Love these carved faces!  It would be a treat to pass by them every day.

Love this building with the beautiful blue, curved roof!

I was entranced by all of the white stone buildings. The one with the tower and the bird statue on top is called the Royal Liver Building.  It, along with the Cunard building and the Port of Liverpool building, are along the waterfront and form the Liverpool's The Graces.  Of course I did not know that at the time--I just hoped that I would be able to get back there on foot to do more exploring.  (I did!)

We were finally released from the coach and were headed somewhere special.  (The pub sign reads:  The William Gladstone Traditional Free House.  He, according to Wikipedia, was a "British Liberal Politician".  Makes sense though I confess, this is a much more flattering picture of him than the ones I have seen online.  I suppose it is all of a piece.) But, back to that special place!

We had a 60ish woman with us on the tour who just about died with happiness when we got inside The Cavern Club.  And it was her birthday, too!  Yep, she was one pretty happy gal, despite the four flights of stairs one has to manage to get down to where the Fab Four played.

Mary, kicking her heels, killing time with her bud John, whilst waiting to get into the club.

Incidentally, there were tons of great photos op all around us.  Next door there is a Beatles hotel with statues of them hanging from every corner, etc. etc.  All I can say is, mea culpa.  I *did* make sure to get the John Lennon photo for my brother, a one time big Beatles fan.  And there was the daughter thing, too.  She looked awfully cute standing there next to Mr. Lennon.

The club is located in a warehouse cellar and is very narrow with low ceilings.  It is long and a bit dark, but it has a great vibe.  Of course, this is where the Beatles were discovered by Brian Epstein back when Pete Best was still at the drumsticks.  Are the above their original instruments?  I think so, but don't quote me.

Sorry for the fuzzy photo but it was just too dark in this part of the cavern.

There was a section packed full of Beatle souvenir fodder and this wonderful phone booth.  Is it the one from the movie Help?  Mary seemed to think so.  (But don't quote me.)

The Emigrants (statue), Albert Dock, Liverpool
A bronze sculpture by Mark De Graffenried, 2001. This statue of a young family commemorates migration from Liverpool to the new world. It was given to the people of Liverpool by the Mormon Church as a tribute to the many families from all over Europe who embarked on a brave and pioneering voyage from Liverpool to start a new life in America. The child stepping forward at the front symbolises migration to the unknown world, whilst the child playing with a crab at the back indicates a deep association with the sea.

After dinner, we went with our new friends from the tour group to this statue of The Emigrants.  As far as I know, all of my ancestors were already in the U.S. when they were introduced to and became members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints (Mormons), but I suppose there might be one or two who came after they were baptized in England. It will be fun doing the research to find out.  BTW, this is not my photo--I have a few photos my friend sent to me of all of us with the statue, but I can't find them.  It makes me sad because this was a highlight of the trip.

Afterwards, the others went back to the hotel and Mary and I headed out to see if we could find those gorgeous buildings.  We did, just as the sun was setting, bathing the Three Graces in its ambient glow.  Above is a view of the Port of Liverpool building with the Royal Liver building behind it.  It has twin clock towers and each is topped with a Liver bird, the city symbol since 1207.  It was orignally spelled "leaver" and is pronounced closer to that than to "liver".  The bird is made to look like a cormorant but I think it looks much more like a phoenix.  Either way, the liver bird is a mythical creature.

And here is the River Mersey.  I love the way the light shines in the streetlamp.  It almost looks like a drop of water.

As lovely as is the Royal Liver building, I was most enchanted by the Port of Liverpool building.

 I enlarged this photo in order to identify the UFO in the top right corner of this photo.  Then I made it even larger.  I still couldn't tell what it was.  A balloon?  A flying helmet from a coat of armor?  A balloon in the shape of a helmet?  And then I looked at the original version as seen above.  It's a bird, gol' darn it.  A bird!  Most likely a liver bird from the looks of it.

We spent quite a while here with the sun-coated building on one side of us and the sun-coated Mersey on the other.  We longed to enter.  Noting that there was a car or two out front, we figured it was open.

Then we took more note of the gate through which we were peering.  I don't know what the initials stand for, but, once upon a time, HB were my initials.  And there were two of us (my twin and I, whose first name also starts with an H and whose maiden name, coincidentally, also starts with a B), though I doubt we were as lovely as these two mermaids.  My daughter and I pressed a bit experimentally against the gate, but is stood firm.

Then I got distracted by the wonderful carvings on the building.  Love the ship in the wreath.  After a while, we noticed that there was a place where we could just walk around the fence.  So we did.

Once inside, there was a plaque with the names of those of the staff who died during the first world war.  So many!  How devastated the people of Liverpool must have been.

Then we pushed open the big inner doors and saw this.  The words around the upper gallery read:  Those who do business in great waters, these see the world.  (At least I think so--I can't be sure since my photo didn't capture the whole thing.)  It was about this point that we heard voices.  We realized someone was having a meeting.  We were just discussing the merits of lingering to take more photos (those columns and walls are made of marble, people!) as opposed to leaving when a man appeared and we were told that we were not allowed in the building.  (Than why were the doors unlocked?  And preceded with such inviting steps?)  Also, we were told that we were not allowed to take photos.  I thought about opening up my camera and unspooling the film to puddle on the floor in a gesture of supreme self-sacrifice, but I was using a digital camera and felt certain that the ping of my tiny photo card would not be sufficiently dramatic despite the excellent acoustics of the building.  So we left.

Idly, we wondered if photos outside the building were also not allowed (we had no such problems with Belfast City Hall in Northern Ireland) as we continued to snap photos.  The column topped by the nearly nekkid young man reads:  Pro Patria (for your country) 1914-1918 1939-1945 which is clearly another war memorial.  I don't know who the young man might be (Mercury? Ares?  Mars?), but I love the anchor just below his feet and the viking ship with its double prow curled like a pair of flexed arms.

There were other statues of young men wearing even less but I didn't feel right about taking their photos.

Mary wanted to go on the ferris wheel that was reminiscent of the London Eye, which we did not get to in time before it closed.  So, we hastily took a few more photos (this statue is of Edward VII)  . . .

 . . . and got back to the ferris wheel about five minutes after it closed.  So sad!  Next time:  Windermere Lake, the Lake District and tea at High Yewdale, a farm once owned by Beatrix Potter.