June 26 – A Day for a Daydream
The winding roads of the Lake District are very busy. It may not be quite yet the height of summer, but this is obviously a popular holiday retreat for both natives of and visitors to this land. Tour buses and caravans vie for the road, making for some breathtaking moments around tight curves. The many lakes we pass are shimmering reflective glass. It's closing in on 3:00PM and lunch is in order.
Entering the village of Grasmere, we park near the lake and take a short walk past a field. Here I learn about the Grasmere Sports, an annual event held in August which features Cumberland wrestling, where the participants, brawny country lads clad in long johns and velvet embroidered underwear, grapple in Greco-Roman style wrestling, and the Fell Rig, a race across a field, up an incredibly steep fell and then a mad dash down the fell to the finish line.
Down a narrow twisty street, which is lined with the requisite touristy shops from which tourists spill forth into the road, and across a green, where more tourists indulge in soaking up the sun, to an even more narrow lane, we find a quiet tea shop. A pot of tea and a turkey sandwich on brown bread revive me somewhat from the dreamlike state I've been in for most of the day. We take a little touristy walk around the village ourselves before continuing on our trek, which now takes us directly south.
Paying a visit to the Heaton Cooper Art Gallery, we take in all of the spectacular works of art that adorn the walls. Three generations of Heaton Coopers' work are represented here, primarily landscapes and wildlife. The landscapes have an impressionistic feel to them. Fells and lakes are illuminated by dazzling sunlight or shrouded in mist.
The colors are somehow both vibrant and muted; simultaneously stark and soft, and the play of sunlight and shadows dramatic. The play of sunlight and shadows is dramatic in the Lake District and there's something about the way the shadows are falling in the streets as we leave the gallery that makes me take a peek at my watch. We still have so much further down the road to travel if we're not to miss another of my "must see" sites so, passing up a visit to Wordsworth's grave, we head back to the car.
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