In like a lion, out like a lamb

‘March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb’.  Weather lore goes back centuries and even today many of these sayings have some degree of accuracy.  The trouble with March is that it doesn’t follow the transition from lion to lamb, or winter to spring, in a gradual, measured way.  Each of its 31 days could be a fraction of a degree warmer, and the wind that little bit calmer, perhaps with a slightly more noticeable change on 21st as a token gesture to mark the first day of spring.  But no, March keeps us guessing.  A few days of fine weather followed by days of cold wind, frost, and, like today, a sprinkling of snow.  If she’s feeling particularity mischievous, March will give all those things, and more, in a single hour.

Charles Dickens describes it particularly well in his quote on the back of today’s postcard.

St Giles', CauldwellSt. Giles’ Church, Caldwell, South Derbyshire

St Giles', Cauldwell, back

Lent Lilies and Dove Cottage, Grasmere

The first day of Lent, so it is appropriate to mention Lent lilies. Until recently I didn’t know that’s what daffodils are also called (thank you BBC Gardeners World). The native or wild daffodil is also known as the Lent lily because it generally comes into bloom and dies away between Ash Wednesday and Easter.

High on the list of places to visit in the Lake District is Dove Cottage, near Grasmere.

Dove Cottage 6x4

Dove Cottage

Dove Cottage was the home of William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy from 1799 to 1808. He married Mary in 1802 and she and her sister moved into the cottage. Wordsworth’s intention was to have a time of ‘plain living but high thinking’. Three children arrived in four years so in a small cottage with four adults and three babies how ‘much plain living and high thinking’ was possible is anyone’s guess. He did however write much of his poetry during that period.

A tenuous link to ‘postcards’ is that in 1813 Wordsworth became postmaster and distributor of stamps for Westmorland at a salary of £400 a year. Postcards didn’t come along until many years after that but had they been around in Wordsworth’s time this is what he may have sent…Daffodils backDaffodils by Wordsworth

Little did he know that it would become one of the nation’s favourite poems.

Daffodils

Rabbits, rabbits, rabbits…

The first of the month. Did you remember to say rabbits as soon as you got up?  No neither did I.  In fact, in over 800 firsts of the month in my lifetime I don’t think I ever said it!  I recall being told about this strange superstition as a child, and it cropping up in the odd conversations, but that’s all.  Anyway, enough rabbiting on.  It is just a way of introducing this post about Hilltop Farm, the home of Beatrix Potter, author of Peter Rabbit.

Hilltop Farm 2


stamp 3We visited the farm in October 2016 and we could see why this provided so much inspiration for her tales of Peter Rabbit and friends, still enjoyed around the world today.  When she died in 1943, she left Hill Top Farm to the National Trust, and it is now open to the public as a museum. However, for us her greatest legacy is the gift of 15 other farms to the National Trust which cover large areas of the Lake District which can be accessed and enjoyed by all.

Hilltop Farm 3

In the garden it was easy to imaging Peter Rabbit enjoying a tasty snack of carrots until the sudden appearance of Mr McGregor.

Hilltop Farm 4

National Trust Hill Top Farm