Cumbrian couplets, Hostel Haiku, Borrowdale Ballads, Lake District Limericks, Keswick Kennings, Derwent Water Diamante, Ashness Acrostics, or even a Barrow House Horatian Ode: does anyone have a poem to share? Here is our attempt at a red squirrel Limerick:
There was a red squirrel called Fay
Who built a beautiful dray
But one day she found
Her nuts on the ground
And a cheeky, quick flash of rude grey
We hope you enjoy reading our newsletter, with stories of a parlour maid who worked at Barrow House from 1927, a new exhibition at Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, and some more poetry!
In September we welcomed two more groups from the Fleetwood Maritime and Nautical Campus of Blackpool and The Fylde College.
The students did lots of adventurous activities with Glaramara Activity Centre and Plattyplus, and we tried to keep them well-fed and watered! This included a formal mess-style dinner on their final night, with table service, smart uniform, speeches, a guest of honour, a decanter of Vimto acting as Port, sparkling grape juice in place of wine, and traditional rules (no swearing and no conversations about politics). Everyone seemed to have a good time in the good ship Barrow House!
At the beginning of October, as we were sitting in the sunshine at High Lodore Farm cafe, I recalled a poem that I’d seen last year: October Day by Edwin Morgan. Later on I looked it up and realised that it was National Poetry Day: there was definitely something poetic in the air! Here it is:
Get the sun out, get it shining
It’s only October and only a tenth of the leaves are yellowing
Prod a few white clouds out of their beds and get them billowing
We can sit a while and not batten down the hatches for a gale following
We can clink a glass and swirl the wine and still not rush the swallowing
We can sit in a moodless clear afternoon until the late light spreads it hallowing over everything
And then we must bring the day to rest with ease, recollections, far thoughts, love, and dallying
Inspired by this poem, we decided to make a self-led poetry activity for October half term, loosely based on the theme of an October day in the Lake District. We invited everyone to write a poem (with some guidance notes available for writing different types of poetry), which they could then tie between laminated leaf flaps and hang on a tree in the grounds, ready for others to find. We were delighted with the results! This can actually be an ongoing activity, with a shift in the theme to match each month, so please feel free to contribute or ask for guidance on writing different types of poetry.
In the late 1920s and early 1930s the resident proprietor at Barrow House was Mr Joseph Glaiyser, who ran the house as a guest house and youth hostel during the summer months. Now, thanks to a visit from Judith Vincent (nee Stanley), the daughter of one of the parlour maids, we have copies of some of the letters, photographs, and documents from that time.
Elsie Stanley (nee Corbett), the young parlour maid who started working at Barrow House at about the age of 20, was born and brought up near Newcastle, but Keswick gradually became the centre of her life, meeting her future husband William Stanley at the Keswick Convention, and raising Judith and her sister Margaret in the town. In fact, William was a local Keswick boy who worked for the joiners company that we use today (F&W Green) and the work bench that he used is still going strong!
Judith moved away from Keswick in 1969, but she is still a Keswick Reminder subscriber and when she saw an article about us earlier this year she got in touch. We then had a wonderful visit from Judith and her husband during half-term, providing us with more information about Elsie, Joseph Glaiyser, and the running of the house.
Judith showed us some of the correspondence between Joseph Glaiyser and Elsie, and a record of the parlour maid duties, some of which are similar to our tasks today. She also had a copy of a Barrow House pamphlet, advertising its facilities as a youth hostel. This clearly states, in capital letters, ‘No intoxicants’!
We have been very lucky to have had such great volunteers this year, and in the past month we have really enjoyed the company of Giulia Mazzoleni (Italy), Kinga Anheuer (Hungary), Felicia Buggenthin (Germany), and Ted Ferguson (UK). Here are some words from Felicia, who left us at the end of October:
'I had a great time in Cumbria! Keswick is a lovely market town with loads of nice cafes, pubs and little shops, a cosy cinema and also a very good theatre. Kinga and I usually cycled to work, but sometimes we travelled by boat: a pretty ride and a new experience for me (even though I grew up on the Baltic Sea). The boat can also take you to the bottom of Cat Bells: from the peak you have a really nice view over the lake. There are loads of paths for walking or jogging around the lake, and one Saturday Kinga and I joined in with the Keswick parkrun, along a pretty path on the old railway.
I also really enjoyed visiting neighbouring towns and places like Buttermere (a really nice walk around the lake there), Grasmere (if you like good cakes visit Baldry’s cafe) or Windermere (with the nice Wray Castle nearby) and also a day trip to Manchester, which is not too far away by train. Anyway, there is a lots to see in Cumbria so one visit can’t possibly be enough.'
Yes, we hope to see you here again Felicia!
Kinga is actually staying on with us until the end of November, and so we look forward to including a piece of her writing in the next newsletter.
At the beginning of October a group of friends came to stay at the hostel, with plans to walk up Blencathra via Sharp Edge. They were very pleasant, modern men, with email addresses, cars, and mobile phones, but after breakfast they seemed to go back in time, to the 1950s and to a certain character in particular: Alfred Wainwright, the author of the Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells.
Alfred Wainwright, as many of you may know, travelled by bus from Blackburn, and then later Kendal, to go fell-walking in his spare time. He was a very talented draughtsman, and he found an outlet for his love of drawing and walking in the guide books that he wrote. The Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells, compiled between 1952 and 1966, were handwritten and hand-drawn, and Wainwright described them as a ‘labour of love’.
The clothing that Wainwright wore, and the equipment that he used, have recently been on display at Keswick Museum, but here at the hostel we were treated to our own costumed display of Wainwright look-a-likes! Pete Warwick and his friends spent the day dressed up as Alfred Wainwright, just for fun, and they managed to go up Sharp Edge, even leaving enough energy for a game of football back at the hostel, Wainwright’s favourite game!
If you would like to find out more about Alfred Wainwright, you can go to the AW Society website: http://www.wainwright.org.uk/about_aw.html
The new exhibition at Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, which opens on 12th November, commemorates the life of Tom Price, an explorer, educator, artist, and writer, who taught at Workington Grammar School and took part in a South Georgia Survey (the Price Glacier was named after him), a ski traverse of the Alps, a canoe traverse of Canada, and several other expeditions.
The exhibition brings together a unique collection of items representing his life, including his Antarctic expedition sleeping bag and stove, which usually reside at the South Georgia Museum in Grytviken.
After teaching at Workington Grammar School, Tom became warden at Eskdale Outward Bound Centre, and he wrote many highly regarded essays about outdoor education. He lived in Threlkeld in his later years, and died in 2013 at the age of 94.
We hope you are able to visit the exhibition, which runs to 6th February 2016. For more information, please see the Keswick Museum and Art Gallery website: http://keswickmuseum.org.uk/whats-on/event/inspiring-adventure-antarctic-explorer-lifetime-adventurer-tom-price/