Friday, April 4, 2014

Off in search of Hilltop House and Peter Rabbit

Thursday after breakfast we head out once again for the lake district, but this time passing Bowness on our way to Ambleside and the ferry that will take us to the other side of the lake.  We are going in search of Beatrix Potter, creator of Peter Rabbit.  It seems almost as soon as we get started we have arrived at the other side of the lake.  Once again we are turned around, trying to decide which narrow, winding, country road to head down.  We drive for what seems miles until we finally decide we are lost, we have missed the road entirely.  I forgot to mention that the nice lady at the hotel check in had drawn us a nice map with turn by turn directions.  Never mind that.  We are lost.  We finally decide in total frustration to just pull into the next available building's parking place and ask someone for directions.  There is a family getting out of the car next to ours.  "We're looking for Hilltop House", we say.  "Can you help us".  The nice gentleman just smiles at us and says 'you're here'.  We haven't a clue how we did it, but we have arrived.

Just like everything else in life, you have to either enter or exit through the gift shop.  In this case, it's enter and exit.  We spend a lot of time in the garden.  The hillside is so pretty.  So green.  And sheep are everywhere you look.  The garden has fresh vegetables growing.  Leeks and rhubarb.  Some onions and turnips.  I can see where you could imagine Peter getting into Mr. McGregor's garden.   In fact in one of the pictures in the little closed in garden if you look closely you can see a little brown bunny rabbit.  I wonder if Peter was at it again.

Beatrix Potter was born and reared in London.  Her parents were quite well off and they hoped she would marry and settle down with a man of some prominence.  Instead she choose to write and in so doing fell in love with her editor.  Her mother objected, thinking she would be marrying beneath her.  She had made so much money from the sale of her books that she could afford to do as she pleased so she moved to the lake district and bought the farm at Hilltop House.  Before they could marry her fiance died back in London.  Heartbroken, she decided to stay on in the house she had bought for them to live in when they married, even thought her parents tried desperately to get her to come home with them.  Later she married the estate agent who had sold her the farm, but not until she was forty two.  She was indeed a woman of independent means who knew her own mind.   One of the very few women in her day and age who had earned enough money to do as she pleased.

She loved the lake district and didn't want to see it broken up into developed little plots of land with houses on them.  She outbid all the developers, sometimes paying much more than the property was thought to be worth in order to outbid them.  What a wonderful thing

she did, for today this is one of the prettiest spots in England.  Unspoiled and left just like she found it.  Even the house was to be left just like it was when she lived in it.  She knew people would come to see it and she wanted them to see what it was really like.  On her death she left huge amounts of property to the National Trust for all who choose to come and enjoy.   Lovely thing to do.  Lovely woman.  Not only did she give children something for their childhoods they could remember and share with their children but she left for everyone else the wonderful lands in the lake district.

No comments:

Post a Comment