Saturday, July 4, 2015


Hamlet of Cockermouth, Cumbria  photo by Mary M Payne

To get to Cumbria to the Wool Fest we chose the newly privatized British rail system owned by Virgin group of Richard Branson. 

 The trains were comfortable but crowded and we had to juggle seats since we hadn't purchased a reservation in advance ... and the ticket wasn't cheap.  (the price for the return trip was about a100 pounds for 2nd class...pricey as compared to French subsidized train fares).    

But the voyage was ideal for getting a look at the stunning natural beauty of the Lake District....fields of sheep; ancient stone walls; skies of soft cerulean lashed with whipped clouds, (not a pale or periwinkle blue sky as we see in Nice). 

From Penrith we called for a taxi and so arrived at the ancient town of Cockermouth. 

Cockermouth, originally a market town retains a medieval layout   enlarged in the 18th and 19th century and largely restored after 2009 to the  modern hamlet of today.  It is a beautiful village-like town of  around 9000 souls.  

One of the first things one notices is that the sky is never quite dark at night.  We are so far North that there often is the effect of the Northern Lights.  I awakened in the night to see the sky lighter than when I had retired.   It was a bit of a thrill for this southern "girl". 

Peering in at the Castle owned by Lady Egremont until her death in 2013.

Neat, small terraced houses in Cockermouth, photo by Mary M Payne

Crown Street of Cockermouth, photo Mary M Payne

A "Georgian gem" town,  Cockermouth, Cumbria    Photo by Mary M Payne

Christ Church, 1865,  Cockermouth photo by Mary M Payne

The suggestive sexy moniker of Cockermouth derives from the name of the River Cocker as it flows into the River Derwent. 

 We walked along the banks of these gentle seeming rivers one day to see the mouth where they actually converge.  That day yielded up a Constable sky and a path festooned with wild daisies and well kept gardens.  Note the height of the walls.  
Convergence of the two rivers: Cocker and Derwent.  Photo by Mary M Payne

Stone bench along the Rivers in Cockermouth, Cumbria  photo by Mary M Payne

The meeting of the mighty....?  Cockermouth  photo by Mary M Payne

Daisy like flowers grow wild everywhere in Cumbria,  Photo by Mary M Payne

 I mention the walls because the biggest fear for the residents seems to be the tendency of the Rivers Cocker and Derwent to overflow their banks.  
 The last big flood took place on 19 November 2009 and murals and wall markings in shops serve as reminders of the devastation and the actual height the water had attained.   The photos of merchandise and debris floating down the main streets tells the real story of the cost of damage to the town.  Since that time, more barriers have been erected in an effort to thwart Mother Nature.

River Cocker flowing through Cockermouth,  the restaurant on the left is called The Honest Lawyer,  photo by Mary M Payne

This is the charming facade of my friend's home never touched by the flood. 

This beckoning "porte de jaune" is the country home of my friends. There I passed an exceptional three days .    The house is called Tardis after a reference to the popular British TV series, Dr Who.   

The wall on the left is deceiving . When you get inside the house there is more space than you expected. ..... just as the interior of the Tardis Spacecraft is much bigger than one expected.  

Dr Who reference for the Cockermouth house. 

The house is charming inside with lots of personal touches and a well conceived garden....... but I will try not to pry.   I must say though that it boasts a third floor den with three walls of book shelves.  I know a lot of folks that would love to move right in,  Monsieur included. 

 English kitchen in Cockermouth... photo by Mary M Payne

Garden Visitor

My shadow on a corner of the garden behind the house with the yellow door,  

Gigantic red poppies are a favorite in by Mary M Payne
Night sky...only the clouds are dark.  Cockermouth, England  photo by Mary M Payne

Maybe tomorrow I will wax poetic about the Wordsworth House or the Quince and Medlar Restaurant, not to be missed in Cockermouth. 

No comments:

Post a Comment