- About the Author
- On Active Service
We chose midsummer to go up to the Lake District on the assumption it might be warm and sunny. Regular visitors to this part of the world, however, will tell you this is rarely the case. Highly renowned as one of the wettest places in England, we have had very few hot sunny days in the ten years we have been going up there.
Last year we were lucky: The fleeces and kagouls I had packed stayed in the car and I wished I had brought more t-shirts and shorts. This year though the rain began as soon as we reached Birmingham and continued solidly throughout our first day. Having stayed in many hotels and guest houses over the years, we decided to try self-catering this time. It turned out to be a good choice. Our apartment was in a converted attic above a row of shops overlooking the village green. Tastefully decorated in shades of beige and cream, its wooden-beamed gable-roof lent it quirkiness and character. High up in our attic retreat, snug and cosy, with plenty to eat and a supply of good books, we could look down on the holidaymakers below in their hats and waterproofs as they wandered around disconsolately in the rain, trying to find something to do.
We always stay in Grasmere, home of William Wordsworth. It was the Wordsworth connection that first brought us up here. We have long been fascinated by Wordsworth and Coleridge, not just their literary output, but their friendship and the lives they led. Nether Stowey, where they both lived for a while, is close by to our home in Somerset and we often walk on the Quantocks, inspiration for much of their early work.
We took our usual stroll through the village to Dove Cottage, wondering how Wordsworth would feel if he could see the numerous visitors inspired to come to this small village just because of him. The Japanese in particular seem to love it here, staying in the palatial Wordsworth hotel, where they can eat “Wordsworth Chicken and Leek pie”, which we can only hope takes its name from the hotel, rather than from the great man himself!
The weather forecast that had promised us rain the entire week turned out to be wrong and we had two unexpectedly fine days mid-week. The temperature might have been cooler than it should be for late June, but the sun came out and we had two lovely long walks around Rydal Water and Grasmere. We are not serious walkers, the type who don waterproofs and carry on regardless of the rain, so the following two days we were back in our little apartment reading our books and, in my case, doing the odd bit of writing!
Bethany Askew is the author of five novels:
The Time Before, The World Within, Out of Step, Counting the Days and Poppy’s Seed.
She has also written a short story, The Night of the Storm, and she writes poetry.
Future projects include a new short story, this one for the young adult market, and another full-length novel.
In her spare time she enjoys reading, music, theatre, walking, Pilates, dancing and voluntary work.
Bethany is married and lives in Somerset.