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Friday, 25 November 2016

Rydal reflections- as described by Wordsworth

These are lines from William Wordsworth about Rydal Water

"Like a fair sister of the sky
Unruffled doth the blue lake lie
The mountains looking on..."

Here's a photo I took on my phone on this glorious morning-

Rydal Water- perfect reflections on a November morning

I think you can see what Wordsworth meant. The sky and the lake were a perfect blue. What a day! The snowy tops of the Grasmere Fells can be seen in the background.

Here are a few more pictures from my short walk around Rydal Water. More about this walk can be found on this webpage which I wrote some time ago.

Rydal Water reflectios with the Fairfield Ridge in the background on a crisp November morning

The contrast between the sunny side of Rydal Water and the frosty side this morning- the sheep are on the cold side!

White Moss woods- the sun peeps through at the start of this morning's walk.

All these photos were taken on my simple mobile. You can see why photographers so love this area. If you start with such great raw material, add a really good camera and some professional skill, you can produce really wonderful photos.

The guests who are staying at our Grasmere holiday cottage, Brockstone at the moment are from the USA. They asked in advance what the weather might be like. I suggested it might, perhaps, be a little rainy in November.....oh ye of little faith! It's sun, sun ,sun all the way in the Lakes...long may it last!

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Goodbye October 2016- you were a wonderful month

Hasn't this been the most beautiful October?

Keen readers of this blog will see that I haven't written any blogs since early September, and one of the reasons is that it has just been such beautiful weather. I haven't felt the urge to sit indoors typing on a  computer. That's my excuse anyway. Beats "the dog ate my homework"

On the morning of All Saints Day I'm just taking a minute to post a few October photos. The guests who have stayed at our cottage, Brockstone, have just loved their holidays, and the fantastic weather certainly helped. We have had some wonderful reviews which you can read here.

Here then are a few photos taken yesterday on a short stroll- from White Moss along the River Rothay to Grasmere weir, turn right through Penny Rock Woods, walk a short stretch along the road to Bannerigg, go up through Banneringg Wood and back along the old road to White Moss. 45 minutes of beauty.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Huge reductions for a week in October in our Grasmere cottage

We have made huge reductions for October weeks 8-15 October and 15- 22 October.
Originally these weeks were £790, but as we still have two weeks available and it is getting quite close, we are now offering these weeks at the great price of £590. October is actually a very, very popular time to visit the lakes, and usually we would expect to be fully booked. For some odd reason we’re not fully booked! So if you can get away you have the chance to take advantage of this huge reduction and book peak weeks at low season rates.
If you look around this website you’ll see pictures of the cottage, with it’s new cosy log burning stove, perfect for the autumn evenings after a day in the crisp autumn air. The leaves are already beginning to turn slightly, and by early October the autumn colours will be looking good.
October is the time that discerning visitors come to the Lakes for a last break before the shorter days set in. Here are some autumn photos I’ve taken in past years to give you a hint of the glory of the Lakes in October.The little light spot on the hillside in the middle picture is Brockstone. All these photos are taken on walks which you can do from the door .
Please contact us if you think you can take advantage of this reduction in price and enjoy a week at our beautiful cottage at a wonderful time of year for a special rate.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Exciting Times in Grasmere coming up

You may think of Grasmere as a sleepy rural backwater, but for the next 10 days those of us who are lucky enough to live here will be hosting visitors from around the world to a series of great events.

On Sunday, 28 August the world famous Grasmere Sports and Show has its big day. Fell races, wrestling, hound trails, stalls, demos, a band..... a full day's entertainment . It's been going for over 150 years. Don't miss Grasmere Sports this Sunday!

The following weekend sees the return of the Grasmere Guzzler Beer Festival, now in its 10th year. Held at Tweedies, Dale Lodge, this free event is a huge draw. There are lots of wonderful craft beers and ciders, great live music, good food and a wonderful atmosphere. Starting on Friday Saturday 2 September, until Sunday 4 September ( by which time many of the beers will have been drunk dry) this is a great event. We love it! Check out their Facebook Page here  for more information.

As if that wasn't enough, the next day, Monday 5 September, sees the Tour Of Britain Cycle race head into Grasmere, where there is a sprint finish. This is around 2pm, so get into the village in good time to enjoy this top event. There will be 3 Team GB Olympic Medallists zooming though if you can spot them- Sir Bradley Wiggins, Owain Doull and Mark Cavenidish, along with other top road race stars from around the world.

So there you have it- 3 great events coming to Grasmere very soon.

PS- there is one smaller event which also promises to be an interesting evening. On Wednesday 31 August, Jenn Ashworth comes to the Tithe Barn , Grasmere ( opposite the church) at 8pm to talk about and read from her latest novel, Fell. This is what the Guardian says about this book- pretty impressive. Organised by Sam Reads famous bookshop, Grasmere  this is a free event , well worth a visit if you can make it.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Our Grasmere holiday cottage gets a superb review.

Our Grasmere holiday cottage, Brockstone, has just been given a really superb review. Thank you very much kind guests! The review is posted on the HomeAway website, but here it is for you to read.

Beautiful cottage in stunning location

  • *****
     5 of 5
We have rented many cottages over the years, but have to say that this was the most special yet. The cottage itself, recently renovated, was perfect with all the facilities one could want: a very well equipped kitchen, lovely sitting room with wood burning stove; two very comfortable bedrooms; plenty of hot water and efficient heating (that we turned on for the one day when the not so warm English summer walk had left us feeling a bit chilly!).
Then there are the views: sitting on the terrace in front of the house looking over Loughrigg Fell and down to Rydal Water was truly inspiring. No wonder Wordsworth spent so much of his time here...
The location is great: turning right out of the cottage for a 15 minute walk into Grasmere; or left down to Rydal, and a quick few minutes straight down to White Moss. It did mean that we could leave the car behind on several occasions as we set out to explore, including lovely walks around Grasmere Lakeand Rydal Water, and up to Buckstones Jump for a (quick) dip.
The cottage's owners, Sue and Peter, couldn't have been more welcoming and helpful with suggestions and tips for making the week all the more enjoyable. All in all, a quite wonderful week in an incredibly special spot "
Excellent! Thank you!
Following on from the last blog "who reads my blog", I was amazaed to see than on one day this week this humble blog had received 3,762 views. Inexplicable to me- something must have sparked this off. Or maybe Blogger's stats are wrong. Hey ho, all good fun
Here are another couple of pictures from our Grasmere holiday cottage . The first available date that you could stay here is now 8 October 2016.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Who reads my blog?

Who reads my blog? The surprising answer this week is that people in Saudi Arabia have been reading my Lake District blog in their hundreds. I've no idea why, and it seems like a one day spike, but thank you Saudi readers.

News from the Lakes is that this summer has seen an influx of visitors, with many of the shops, hotels and tourist attractions reporting high volumes of trade. After the desolation of Storm Desmond this is very welcome, and it's a credit to all those who have spread the message that the Lake District and the whole of Cumbria is open for business and looking forward to welcoming visitors.

If you haven't visited the Lakes for a few years you would notice some changes. The landscape obviously remains the same, but there are subtle changes in the towns and villages. Our son, (who grew up here) was recently visiting from London, and commented on the plethora of excellent new caf├ęs, delicatessens featuring wonderful local produce, bars with local craft beers, shops selling proper local crafts ( not tat or tut), musical events, theatre and a general good buzz about the area.

If you have a week free from 27 August, you can still book to stay at Brockstone, our Grasmere cottage with amazing views. This week has bee reduced from £890 to £790 for last minute bookings. The added bonus is that you would be able to visit Grasmere Sports on Sunday, 28 August. 

 The ground floor of the cottage has been completely refurbished this year- here are a few taster pictures.

and the kitchen is new too

If you can't fit a break in in August, our next available dates are from 8 October. October half term and New Year are already booked, but we have other dates free throughout the winter, when we are happy to offer short breaks rather than the usual one week stay.

Is Brockstone Cottage the most perfect Lake District Holiday Cottage? Amazing views, traditional cottage, away from neighbours yet within a mile of Grasmere village , all modern conveniences, yet still retaining the special characteristics of a 200 year old cottage................ ? We think it's pretty special, and so do our guests.

We were delighted when the lovely guests who stayed last week told us "we have stayed in many cottage over the years, and Brockstone is without doubt the best we have ever stayed in"

You can find Brockstone Grasmere Cottage on Facebook, and on the HomeAway website (you won't now find us on Holiday Lettings/Trip Advisor as they are very keen to persuade guests to book via their site and charge them extra for that- we don't like that policy so we've pulled out)

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Lots to look forward to in the Lakes this Summer

We've got lots to look forward to in the Lakes this summer. Storm Desmond is gone but not forgotten, making us even more grateful to have our traditional summer events to look forward to. Back in December's dark days, it was hard to imagine that life would return to the normal , but here we are in July feeling optimistic. (We'll ignore all the political rumblings and upheavals and concentrate on the things close to hand.)

First up, this coming Thursday, 28 July , is Ambleside Sports, held a mile down the road from White Moss, in Rydal Park. Guests staying at our Grasmere holiday cottage, Brockstone Grasmere Cottage can amble along the Coffin Route from the door of the cottage to the Sports field. It takes about 20 minutes, along the old path, taking in the views of Rydal Water and the Lakeland Fells.

Brockstone Cottage overlooking  Rydal Water
Ambleside Sports is a great day out for all the family, whatever the weather. See hound trails, Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling, Fell Running, Races, Cycling and much more.

At the end of the week the Lake District Summer Music Festival begins. Amazing music held in beautiful venues around the Lakes from 30 July -12 August 2016. Watch the promotional video and get your diary out. LDSM video

Our cottage is already fully booked for these weeks, but we do have last minute availability for the week beginning Saturday 27 August. We've reduced the rate from £890 to £790. Here's the link to our ad on HomeAway, and this is the link to our Brockstone Grasmere Cottage website, which is written by me, so not extremely slick, but hopefully informative.

I'll be writing more about Lakeland Summer events, so please come back to visit again.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Brockstone Cottage - a new look for our Lakes cottage with amazing views

The lounge, kitchen and dining area of Brockstone Cottage have been refurbished. Here are a couple of photos of the new look lounge.

We've removed the existing fireplace, taken out lots of bricks that had been inserted over the years, and gone back to the original fireplace. There's a huge slate lintel, which has a couple of holes drilled in it. We're not sure exactly how these were used in the past, but lots of old  Lakeland fireplaces have them.

We now have a beautiful log burning stove. Cosy. You can see the new curtains, carpet and furniture too.

The back of the lounge has been opened up to reveal a couple of windows onto the banking. These were previously hidden by a stud partition. We love these windows. We're also very happy with our new sofas.

The original  window seat is still a lovely feature, and the seating arrangement now makes the most of the beautiful views.

We'll be writing more and showing more pics in the next few days. We still have 1 week available in the school holidays from 27 August . After that, our next available dates are from mid October.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

The A591 road from Grasmere to Keswick has reopened

We can't let today pass without a blog post, as this is a Red Letter, Super Duper day for all of us who live in the Lakes, and for the many visitors who come to this most beautiful area every year.

Closed since Storm Desmond on 5 December 2015, this vital link road has been sorely missed.

These photos from the twitter feed of Highways England show the before and after of our road, with the area that became known as "The Gap" shown on the left.

The happy picture below is from the Grasmere Village Facebook page

Grasmere school children campaigned very effectively to make their voices heard, and they were there to cut the tape at the official opening, today, Wednesday 11 May 2016, at 8.30 am.

Oh Happy Day!

Tuesday, 12 April 2016


I've just spent many gruelling hours trying to clear a bed in the garden of crocosmia (montbretia) corms. They've burrowed a long way from their original site. It's back breaking work, but it has to be done. The bed will look so much better this summer when the lilies, iris and other plants in there are not being strangled. There will be space to add more interesting plants too , replacing the long leaved short flowering thugs ( I really don't like crocosmia).

I was therefore surprised last night, listening to the Archers , to hear Jill offerring Bert some crocosmia for his newly replanted garden- and Bert was pleased to get them! I'm assuming that as his garden was flooded, he's looking for something to fill spaces fast. He's an old hand and that he must know they need a firm hand in future years.Personally, I woouldn't wish them on anybody. Still, it makes a change to hear a normal Ambridge type (ie dull) conversation in the midst of all the drama.

In case you don't know what crocosmia, (aka montbretia) look like- here's a pic. It's true, they can look good for a time, and their leaves are useful in flower arrangements, but unless you've got lots of space and are prepared to hunt them down when they stray, I'd give them a wide berth.

PS I'll forgive Jill anything if Anna Tregorran can help Helen.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

From the Lakes to Leicester Square.

Here's a change from my usual blog topics.

Our son, Nick Dixon has been making a career in stand up comedy for the last few years. Last weekend he was supporting Tom Stade at Leicester Square Theatre. Was he terrified? Not at all.

We don't know how he does it but we're very proud of him. Here's a review of Tom Stade's show from today's The Times.  

You can only access this online if you are a Times subscriber, so in case you're not, I've cut and pasted it for you.

His agents are Comedy Store Management  and he'll be supporting Tom Stade at Leicester Square again this weekend, and the weekend after he's on the Best In Stand Up show at The Comedy Store, London. 

Tom Stade at the Leicester Square Theatre, WC2
Clive Davis
April 5 2016, 5:00pm,
The Times

If you read a transcript of Tom Stade’s monologues, you might easily conclude that his material is a little ho-hum. Doesn’t every other stand-up make jokes about Marks & Spencer and daytime television schedules?

What gives his performance an extra charge is the manic energy. A Canadian who has long made his home in this country, he swaggers and staggers around the stage like a dude who has spent too much time propping up the bar in some godforsaken town in deepest Nevada.

The f-word flies in all directions, yet he can be a sentimental, almost self-pitying soul too. You can never quite be sure whether he is squaring up for a fist-fight or going to pull out a photo of his mother.

At the centre of his latest show, You’re Welcome!, is an account of a less than earth-shattering stand-up gig at Glastonbury. Expecting to find the spirit of peace and love wafting over the West Country meadows, Stade was duly confronted with the realities of the festival industry. Surprise, surprise, most of the people had come to hear rock dinosaurs rather than a comic they may have glimpsed on Live at the Apollo.

It didn’t really matter that he soon wandered off in other directions. While there was nothing out of the ordinary about his thoughts on jay-walking or immigration, that dissolute sandpaper voice carried you along.

The bouts of audience interaction were a shrewd mix of bluster and bonhomie. And there was a hugely engaging support act from the soft-spoken Nick Dixon, providing everyman glimpses of London life from the vantage point of a cheerless bedsit and a seat on the Tube. Naturally, the capital was not seen at its best. A refugee from the Lake District, Dixon cheerfully and effortlessly rubbed our noses in the grime.
Box office: 020 7734 2222, to April 9, then touring.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Spring in the Lakes - a great time to visit

Easter came early this year, leaving us with an eight week break before the May school holiday week. April and May are wonderful months in which to visit the Lakes.

As the daffodils fade and the bluebells come out, the days get longer and a day's walk can go on into the evening. The rhododendrons and azaleas burst into flower . In my garden the early azaleas have a few flowers, and soon there will be a riot of colour. Here are some pictures taken around the White Moss area in past years.

Pretty pink
Clashing colours looking lovely
Bright and beautiful
Here's a real oldie in our White Moss garden.

If you love gardens as much as I do, April and May are probably the best time to visit the Lakes. For lots more information, take a look at Cumbria Tourism's Guide to the Gardens of the Lakes.

My personal favourites are Rydal Hall Gardens , just 1/2 mile away from White Moss House and our Grasmere holiday cottage Brockstone Grasmere cottage ,  and the wonderful Holehird Gardens at Windermere  run by the Lakeland Horticultural Society. Both these gardens are free to enter ( donations very welcome).

I'm amazed that after the floods and the very, very wet winter experienced by many , the gardens are bouncing back so well.

Cumbria is open! Now is a great time to visit. The Lakes are ready to welcome you. We're looking good.

Finishing off with one more rhododendron, taken on the start of the coffin route from Grasmere to Rydal, just a few yards from Brockstone Grasmere cottage.

Looking amazing in May, Heugh Folds garden