Visiting Wordsworth House in disguise

The Tour of Britain cycle race came to Cumbria in September.  Much was made of this event in all the towns and villages on the route of the race.  There were bright yellow bicycles in many places around the county.  The one at Wordsworth House featured in a post by my blogging friend, Fletch the Perchcrow.

Hubby and I did not go to Wordsworth House and Garden in disguise.  The house was wearing its temporary livery of white with green spots in honour of the cycle race.  I had seen pictures on Twitter and thought it looked dreadful.  Full scale it was not quite as bad as I thought.  I am happy to relate that passing through the town a few days later We saw it had been restored to its usual shade of terracotta (which can just be seen on one wall above and to the left of the shop).

Wordsworth House in disguise
Wordsworth House in disguise

I really have mixed feelings about the recent trend to change things for the duration of a local event.  Penrith station was in disguise in late July and early August while a music festival was taking place nearby.  Kendal Calling is an annual festival, which began outside Kendal.  Having moved to a location some distance from Kendal, its name is unchanged.  So they changed all the signs at Penrith station!  My photo was taken the day after the festival ended.

Penrith Station in disguise
Penrith Station in disguise

A charming young festival-goer sat next to me on the train south from “Kenrith” to Lancaster.  It was obvious from his appearance that Glastonbury does not have a monopoly on mud!

Our reason for visiting Wordsworth House and Garden rather than any other location on this particular day was that a guided tour had been advertised on Twitter.  The weather was unsettled so a tour of a house was more attractive than a walk by a lake.

Our guide was Gillian Powell.  Quite a large group of people listened attentively to her talks in four rooms of the house.  We learned much about the early life of the poet, William Wordsworth.  The house might have been demolished.  How it had been saved unfurnished was an interesting story.

The expression, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!” took on a new meaning for me.  There were four separate fires along one wall of the kitchen.

At the end of the tour Gillian Powell recommended a book about the Wordsworths.  The author is Hunter Davies and I am currently part way through his book, William Wordsworth, which I later found in the local library.

I also took her up on the invitation to play the modern harpsichord.  This time I found a piece of music, which I really enjoy playing.  Another volunteer, whose name badge I failed to read, showed us the workings under the lid of the instrument.  Hubby was fascinated, not having seen this before.  (I have seen and played a spinet, which is another keyboard instrument with plucked strings.)

It was good to see Alex Morgan, who helps Fletch with his blog.  (She is the author of a very readable novel, Tandem.)

The weather improved and it was fine for our quick visit to the garden.   There was still plenty of colour, but the lady scarecrow had vanished.  Wordsworth House is a place, which becomes more interesting, the more one learns about its background.  The guided tours and short talks, such as I mentioned in an earlier post, really help to bring history to life.

It is also family-friendly with clothes for children (and adults) to disguise themselves as time-travellers.