Thursday, October 01, 2015


It's many years since we last visited Dove cottage and the Wordsworth museum.  Friends had kindly given us Art Fund cards recently, allowing us free entry to all sorts of interesting places, so we planned visits on the damp mornings we had.

On our guided tour of the little house we were struck again by the stone flags and pegged mats downstairs, while upstairs it was all more genteel. A woman in our tour group felt that Dorothy had had a raw deal: why had she not inherited money, or been allowed to live independently?  One thinks of households in Jane Austen's novels where single women had different expectations to today.  Did Dorothy really think it drudgery to copy out Wordsworth's poems?

In the gift-shop, a gruesome and inexplicable offering: bags of gummy sweets like false teeth.  The current exhibition features Wordsworth's reactions to Waterloo and Napoleon.  He had visited the battle-fields with Dorothy some five years after the event.  "Little was to be seen, but much was to be felt," she recorded in her journal.

But there, in the exhibition were the teeth.  Apparently, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the main source of false teeth was the battle-field.  Teeth pulled from the corpses at Waterloo supplied dentists for years to come.  The toothless preferred the teeth of "ploughboys" who had died for their country to those of disinterred criminals.  Pretty macabre, eh?

From a base outside Grasmere we were able to walk along Loughrigg terraces and then climb up on to Loughrigg Fell, the first of several climbs offering wonderful views.

Dunmail Raise, rising out of Grasmere.

Mixed woodland, just beginning its turn to autumn colours.

The unmistakable Langdale Pikes.

1 comment:

knitski said...

Now that tooth story is rather strange. However, I totally get it! What wonderful walking you had!