Following in the Footsteps of Joseph Hardman: Day THREE

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Day Three began with the map, looking at images of everyone’s faces collaged alongside that of Joseph Hardman mapping the last weeks’ route, immediately connecting with previous experiences, a recognition of involvement, engagement. As the taxi arrives, we are looking at the map and the image of Mr Hardman’s portrait dotted across the route from Kendal to Bowness, the images of Mrs Hardman feeding the birds at Bowness and Delia at Esthwaite and know that we are ultimately heading to Hawkshead, one of Mr Hardman’s favourite places to have afternoon tea.

Every moment stimulates conversation. The taxi driver, anxious about time, headed along the A591 and Joyce was very quick to notice – ‘this isn’t the Crook road!’ she called from the back! Recollections from Annette as we inched our way through busy traffic in Windermere. “I had a yen to live in Windermere, but I’m glad I didn’t. Too busy, far too busy!” The contours of the fells connected with her. A feeling that she knew them, she’d walked them. ‘I knew every inch of these hills.’ And observing the trees returning her to an enduring friendship with German friends who ‘loved our English trees!’

Across the ferry, Joyce was out of the taxi taking photographs. And then up the winding road into Beatrix Potter country! And then a sharp left turn and downhill along a narrow single track road which felt like a real adventure. Discovering the lake at Esthwaite was a delight. After the busy traffic at Windermere it was a haven of tranquillity, with the group really enjoying the atmosphere, the light on the lake, the hills beyond. We had a quick recap on how to use the ipads after much hilarity over Jack’s skill at taking lovely details of his thumbs! The group gathered together to watch Annette feeding ducks, birds and swans, and some beautiful photographs were taken of the ducks on the water. We posed with the parasol and then a final photograph of the whole group before heading to Hawkshead.

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We arrived in the town square, immediately making a note of the old building, now locked and boarded, with a railing up to what would have been one of Joseph Hardman’s favourite haunts to eat in. We had arranged a table at Poppi Red Café where, in celebration of Mr Hardman’s love of tea and cake, we discussed our favourite recipes. Leaving Annette and Julie in the café, the rest of the group went up to the church to enjoy the spectacular views of the surrounding hills. Back in the taxi, we drove along the other side of Esthwaite, looking across to where we taken our photographs, and then took the Crook road back to Kendal.

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Arriving back at Abbot Hall we made a circle of our feet returning to the place we started our adventure three weeks ago.

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