Grey skies and shiny wet pathways and puddles in Grasmere today!
We began with tea and Harriet’s banana cake, looking at the map and the lovely photographs we had taken of the amazing cloud scapes of last Friday on Orton Scar. Harriet read the poem created by everyone’s responses – utterly beautiful. The group were spell bound. Then out through the rain and across to meet Jeff with a quick glimpse at Uta’s blue sky – strange and incongruous on a day like today!
Jeff had lots to share with the group. Dorothy’s journals and letters regularly make reference to the weather. Mary was surprised that Jeff wasn’t wearing special gloves and he explained that special gloves can damage fragile and aged paper much more easily than clean hands and carfeul handling! Dorothy’s journals are stored in tiny made to measure boxes.
John read out a passage about a particularly wet day with real drama and expression, much to everyone’s delight. Jeff read out the journal entry which describes the moment on one of the Wordsworth’s walks which inspired the Daffodils poem. We all tried to remember it, and did really well, some of us remembering they were golden daffodils, others remembering that they were dancing daffodils – we were all correct as Wordsworth altered it several times!
Geoff unveiled the most recent aquisition to Wordsworth Trust’s collection, a painting by Matthias Read of Ouse Bridge, painted in 1720 and said to be the first image ever painted of the Lake District.
Joan remembered a beautiful fragment of poetry by Wordsworth – she spoke the words aloud… ” and the sky never before so beautiful, sank down into my heart and held me like a dream.” Jeff managed to find the poem online. The lines are from Prelude and Jeff was able to show us the handwritten manuscript of the poem, although we couldn’t find the lines that Joan remembered.
We finished our session with Jeff with the opening lines to Resolution and Independence – ‘There was a roaring in the wind all night; the rain came heavily and fell in floods…’ words that seemed to describe the weather today perfectly! It felt very special to be in a room so filled with words and stories that celebrate the life of Wordsworth and protect an incredible legacy of writing. Beautiful language seemed to fill the air, a feeling of being very close to the landscape, aware of weather and its dramatic and poetic impact.
Back outside in the rain, we had a quick look at Uta’s blue sky before heading back to the car park sheltering under big umbrella’s!