Makings, Lake Trip

It’s been raining a lot here but the rainbows are looking good.
This is how the Lynette Anderson Christmas BOM will look with a green Christmas tree to be put in the pot on the block on the left.
It’s been too wet to gather any lavender properly for lavender bags so I got this bunch
And made some lavender wands.
This is what I’ve mainly been working on.
This front panel just needs some green stems for the flowers on the right.
These needleturned flowers were fiddly for a beginner like me.
I added leaves to this side panel. It still needs some embroidery.

Now for the last bit on Coniston:
This 4cm 1 1/2″ critter landed on daughter on a walk past the new children’s playground being assembled in Coniston.
“What is it?”
“I’ll take a pic so we can identify it later.”
“Any normal mother would bat it off before it stung”.
“Any normal mother would be at home polishing the dishes or something”.
I got my photo. 🙂

We eventually identified it as a Great Wood Wasp Urocerus gigas totally harmless but what a biggie!
We walked to the boat hire place
and looked at the prices. But decided against it.
The girls had packed such a “healthy” picnic! I was convinced by this stage of the hols that teen girls were like humming bees and somehow they were surviving on boxes of local fudge and ginger beer (soda) overnight.
But it was our last full day so time for a little adventure on The Gondala– a restored Victorian steam yacht built in 1859.
Every line of her was graceful.
1st class saloon with velvet upholstery in the front. The 2 rooms inside looked as they would’ve originally when she picked up passengers from the South of the Lake who had come up by train, and took them to Coniston. In the days before motor cars the Lakes were less accessable but just as beautiful.
2nd class with leather upholstery which was easier to clean and nearer the smoke stack.

The poet Tennyson honeymooned with Emily Sellwood at Coniston and it has been a source of inspiration to many. Have a quick read here.
We sat at the back oblivious to the smuts totally excited to have booked for a full lake trip which Gondala only does twice a week. You can pre book tickets at the Tourist Information centre in Consiton.
The wind was brisk and the day beautiful.
North 1st to the Monk Coniston area. Look there’s “our” jetty where we normally go when we have just a day trip here.
This boat house is also a real house. Donald Campbell stayed here the night before he tried to set the water speed record in 1967. The link has all the gos on him.
Lovely old boat houses.
Now we head South to the area of the Lake I had never been to. I felt like I should be wearing a pith helmet and net scarf like an early explorer going up The Amazon.
I think that was a clue. Arthur Ransome author of “Swallows and Amazons” stayed at this farm and eventually bought a home further down the Lake. His books are set on Coniston and are a good adventure read.
I linked these pictures to give you an idea of the views.
Brantwood the home of the art critic John Ruskin who was instrumental in getting the Pre Raphaelite Brotherhood accepted into mainstream Victorian society. He lived here from 1872 until his death in 1900. There is a small tower just to the left of the tree in the foreground. This si where Ruskin sat to write with a view over Coniston.
We travel further South and come to Peel Island. In “Swallows and Amazons” this is “Wild Cat Island” Just like in the book if you were to bring a dingy in you would have to be very careful because of the rocks just below the surface at this entrance point. This leads almost to the centre of the island.
One last look. One day maybe I’ll set foot on Wild Cat Island and have my own adventure. 🙂
Coniston Water is so beautiful.
One person even paid £300,000 just for this little boat house with no planning permission to turn it into a house in the height of the property boom.
This is the real Octopus Lagoon from “Swallows and Amazons”. The grass is all swirley like tentacles under the water – what a perfect name for it.
The original ticket station for people coming off the train and onto Gondola. For many years 1936-1970s Gondala languished in this part of the Lake as a house boat inspiring the house boat belonging to the uncle (Captain Flint) in Swallows and Amazons. She got into a terrible state and eventually became derelict. It was on my birthday in 1980 that she was finally reinstated on the lake fit for work again. 🙂 Can a boat be an utter babe? I think so.

It was at this point that my camera ran out of space and I had to be content that I had managed to capture enough of Coniston to give you an idea of what a special soul-food place it is. The man giving the tour on Gondala came as a young boy from Liverpool and stayed for a holiday at Monk Coniston house. The place just touched something inside him. He was involved with the restoration of Gondala, and later returned to captain her.

There’s just something so special here that no amount of town living with restaurants and theatres and pavements could ever beat. I think Beatrix Potter recognised this which is why the Peter Rabbit books money was used to buy up so many farms to protect them from developers and were eventually given to what became the National Trust so the landscape could be protected forever.

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