Our final day in Keswick was spent on memory lane.
My day started at 7:30 when I went downstairs to find my father sneaking out of the house for a quick hike up Cat Bells. The morning had dawned beautifully--gray clouds had given way to blue sky. Although, typically, rain snuck up on us later. I found one of those moments of peace that stick with you...the fireplace burned bright, out the window I could see green ivy creeping up a wall, entwining between moss covered stone. I was given a few moments of solitude and reflection. Sad because of leaving the Lake District but excited to move on and see other places I love, people I have missed, and other adventures that await us.
Later in the day, after all were back and/or awake, we went to Crosthwaite church. Originally built in 1881 (so nearly 900 year old building), this was the church my grandparents attended for the years they lived in the Lake District. Resting place of poet Robert Southey, Crosthwaite is one of those typical old Church of England buildings seeped in history. I have many memories of services here with the traditional Church of England hymn books, organs, vicar, hard wooden pews, and chilly mornings. I can still see my grandmother kneeling down for prayer on an embroidered cushion of ancient day. One of those random, flitting memories of childhood that stick with you always.
After that we walked to where their cottage used to be. We were surprised to find the cottage looking very different, but we were hard put to figure out what was the change. Well, we ran across an old gentlemen in a motorized chair who stopped to find out what the strangers were doing wandering around the neighborhood. We started to talk to him, and turns out he knew my grandparents. Apparently the house itself was raised several feet to save it from being flooded out again as it had experienced several times in the past--thus the similar but different look we beheld. I think the saddest thing for me is not seeing my grandfather's roses all over the garden.
Later in the day, after nap-time for toddlers and pregnant mommies, we drove a little ways and then walked up to Ashness Bridge (a very famous bridge in the Lake District--frequent hero of paintings and photographs). Christopher, of course, couldn't avoid a bit of adventure, and managed to attract a bee. Said bee whacked into the side of his head and was so upset by its own clumsiness, it stung Chris! So sadly he had a throbbing head for much of the walk.
We then got back in the car and drove up one those typical English roads that are barely big enough for one car, never mind two. Gorgeous views but the everlasting question of where in the world does such a windy, tiny road take one? Well, this particular road goes to Watendlath. A wild, lonely area of the Lakes.
At Watendlath farm is a beautiful and very deep tarn along with the house supposedly lived in by Judith Paris in Sir Hugh Walpole's book series--The Herries Chronicle. Fantastic books, if you've never read them, which a lot of people haven't. Covers the story of a family (with a crazy story!) from about the eighteenth century to early twentieth. Also happens to be a farm where my mother and her family stayed when she was a little girl (trust my grandfather to book a vacation in a literary spot!).
All in all, a delightful, final day in the Lakes.