I COULD SIT on this comfortable sofa, enjoying the view until the cows come home.
We’re staying at Ellen Cottage, New Park Farm, at the top left-hand corner of the
Lake District, a few miles north of Bassenthwaite. The bedrooms and bathrooms are
downstairs, so we can sit here looking north-east towards the village of Ireby or
stand at the kitchen sink with a view to the north-west over the Solway Firth to
the misty hills of Scotland beyond.
We never saw the cows come home but the small herd of Friesian (or should that be
Holstein?) bullocks were entertaining to watch and to draw.
Early one morning we saw two bullocks, both almost entirely black, galloping, in
the lolloping way that bullocks do, across the field, slowing down to negotiate the
gully. They were heading for the wire fence at the far side of the field. The herd
of bullocks in the adjacent field wasn’t too far away and the black duo had run all
that way, apparently just to greet their pals over the fence.
They spent most of the time simply grazing. You might think that as they had their
heads down in more-or-less one pose, they’d be easy to draw but in fact they were
moving all the time and you had to make a conscious effort to get back and front
legs in their relative positions.
Today was our best for walking. Starting at Castlerigg stone circle we walked via
Springs Wood to Keswick, where we had sweet potato and fennel soup at the Lakeland
Pedlar, returning via the railway walk in a deep wooded gorge beside the River Greta,
and on the last lap, we were tempted at the Mill Pottery, Goosewell Farm, to buy
a couple of chrome and cobalt glazed stoneware bowls, as speckly as lichen-encrusted
slate walls and as softly grey-green as the surrounding fells.
“We’ve walked all this way and it’s not even Stonehenge!”
Boys in school party arriving at Castlerigg stone circle