Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"Our Friends In The North"

* See end of post re above snap.

I DO SO love November! But I seem to be the only person I know who does.
I love huddling in scarf hat gloves coat while air nibbles my cheeks, brightens my eyes, makes me walk fast(er), hands snug in pockets, comfy-socked feet twinkling in muddy shoes.....Hmm, slight exagerration: I've got muddy shoes, but as for twinkling feet...
BUT November in rural northern England really stuns me. It must be instinctive, primitive stuff... (!): I was supposed to be born on Christmas Eve but couldn't wait, appearing far too early and in the wrong month. Legend says my pregnant mother fell off her bike, therefore hastening my arrival but I like to think it was just November calling. And so for always, I've loved gunmetal skies, bare sculptured trees, the sheer crazy blueness of November mornings....and I love her dark pink-laced skies, when white clouds lilt in blackness. I could go on but you'll be glad I won't!

We've just had 2 w/ends with 2 lots of Friends in the North.
The 1st w/end was with ex neighbours/old friends known donkeys yrs. They've left our little city and now have a friendly cottage in a grey stoned Cumbrian village. It's not a manicured, glossy village; it has its own rather worn face, etched with lines...and sometimes it's smiling, other times a bit weary....And a storybook stream trickles through this village, ducks quack in the lane, and there's a dusty church ( with yews and plane trees guarding its people) echoing the dignity of centuries with its history, its churchyard.... and each time we visit our friends, a friendly pleasantly-scruffy pub welcomes us with tasty beef baps, excellent beers. This place is the home of genuine country people and it's got " no sides" ( as my mother would say) and we love it....
While there, we visited Larch Cottage Nurseries nr Melkinthorpe( see http://www.larchcottage.co.uk/ and you'll see why we liked it. )
We also made a return trip to The Theatre By The Lake at Keswick ( see http://www.theatrebythelake.com/) where we enjoyed Alan Bennett's " The Lady in the van". This is a super theatre, worth a visit ( or several) if you're in/nr the Lakes. It opened in 1999 and in 2007, broke all previous box office records playing to over 55000 people. It operates without deficit, has a far smaller proportion of public funding than comparable theatres, but it's sensible in recognising that nobody in the crazy Arts world can afford to sit back nowadays and snooooze...
Our 2nd w/end was to more old friends, this time in Coniston. They've featured before in m'blog coz like our other friends, we all go back a long way. Last w/end included a trip across the lake from our friends' place, to a craft fair at Brantwood (home of Victorian artist writer social reformer John Ruskin, see http://www.brantwood.org.uk/) and also a Sunday morning trek to Cestrian folk now living in a centuries old watermill several miles from Conistion.
The Lakes were at her loveliest. But that's November for you...
** The snap is Coniston Lake (late pm/early eve) taken last Saturday from the gardens of Brantwood.
Thanks to G.C. once again..


Blogger Debs said...

That is such a beautiful photo.

I love November too, it's January and February that I'm not so keen on, as by then I'm looking forward to a little sun and some heat.

6:13 pm  
Blogger Bee said...

We've had absolutely stunning skies for the past two evenings -- red last night, and pinky-purple tonight. You've made November sound so appealing! Perhaps cold wet rain will grow on me. :)

BTW, the northern riches you describe always make me want to race up the motorway for a visit!

10:11 pm  
Blogger Isabelle said...

I would love November, I think, if I weren't so busy. Here in Edinburgh, it's hardly light - at least in late November - when I go into work and nearly dark when I come out. And I know it's only going to get worse for a while. I never have time to go out at lunch time.

But when I'm retired... kicking through the leaves at the Botanic Gardens, sitting by the fire with a book... yup. I'll like it then.

Lovely evocative writing, anyway. We were in the Lakes in the summer and I love that area so much.

10:12 pm  
Blogger elizabethm said...

What a beautiful photo and lovely blog - you may have gathered from mine that I am not a November fan but you might even persuade me to think again, maybe.
I love the lakes too, especially the northern ones, not too busy, not at all manicured, a bit like my bit of Wales, slightly forgotten, intensely itself.

10:22 pm  
Blogger Sarah Laurence said...

Now I see why you love November. Gorgeous photo! Thanks.

10:36 pm  
Blogger Kay said...

I was born in June which is mid-winter over here so I have a soft spot for the cold weather and winters (altho if pushed, prefer autumn ...)
I LOVE dressing up in winter gear. Thanks for this, I thoroughly enjoyed the peek you've provided at a beautiful wintry scene through words and picture.

10:33 am  
Blogger Lucy said...

I think the autumn colours are best in November, brightest before the end, and I love the whirling leaves.

I wish I knew Cumbria better...

10:33 am  
Blogger Fern said...

Hi Jan,
Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog a little while ago, I haven't been able to be online much recently but am just catching up now.
I know very well all the places you mention in your post and love your description of the Cumbrian village.
We are going to see A Christmas Carol at the Theatre by the Lake next month.

1:30 pm  
Blogger herhimnbryn said...

Sounds grand.
Nov. here is usually ramping up for the searing heat of summer. This yr. though we have rain and chilly nights, perfect.

Gorgeous image.

9:14 pm  
Blogger Catherine said...

I've just had a lovely November holiday too, but I think our November weather is rather different to yours!

5:24 am  
Blogger Jon M said...

Sounds like a cultural and picturesque kind of time! I like November and December, as it gets colder and darker. Makes you appreciate log fires and those warm (if not necessarily dry) Summer days!

8:18 pm  
Blogger Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Your description of November is so beautiful, I think I'll love it now forever too! (Even though on this side of the world it's hot, humid and sunny - and frequently very windy.)

1:50 pm  
Blogger Jan said...

And yet another glorious sky as I write, folks!
Thanks Debs.

Yes, worth a zzzzoooom up!

But what a treat to live in Edinburgh!
Good hearing from you.

I know exactly what you mean when you compare those places...
Intensely Itself: what a lovely expression!

Thanks SArah and coming from painter like you, that's praise indeed!
I hope the "snapper" ( GC) sees this!

I bet it's far from winter now...

Brightest before the end...another thought to play with!
I imagine Brittany is very lovely now?

Yes, I saw Christmas Carol advertised.
We were there at the very end of the theatre's Summer Seson(!)...despite it being NOvember!!

Searing heat seems a very long way...

Hope you had a great holiday Catherine.

Just read about your visit down south and your w/end there.
It sounds great.
And good to see Geraldine McCraugrean again.
I thought she spoke such brilliant sense at Chester Lit Fest.

I love imagining all these contrasting worlds!!

5:02 pm  
Blogger apprentice said...

Lovely post Jan and that looks like a fabulous nursery to visit.

We lose 4 mins of daylight each day here up until the solstice.

For camra work the light is all but gone by 3pm.

2:01 pm  
Blogger Jan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:02 pm  
Blogger Jan said...

So I imagine you make early leaps out of bed when snapping during the winter!
I must be crazy but I love darkening afternoons, light quenching, sky blackening...

9:02 pm  

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