Saturday, April 12, 2008

the teasmade of buttermere

It was my husband’s idea to spend the Easter holidays in the lake district. I’m afraid being away is why I haven’t been terribly frequent in updating the blog; It's the damp you see, although on the plus side I can now grow watercress on my laptop. it's not been an easy holiday and the indignities faced in this expedition were only heightened by watching a Melvyn Bragg documentary on the little television in the room about great northern literature which didn't mention Strife in the North even once, although I suppose the time the presenter spent plugging his own book meant that broadcast minutes were at a premium.

The children soon found lots to do so there I found myself alone, one afternoon, just me and the teasmade. I gazed at my bedside companion and it was like looking back into the past to a simpler time, that smooth white procelein skin, that round innocently smiling face, those small delicate hands, that temprement at once compliant and willing to please yet also with a way of letting off steam that was most pleasing to behold . It was no wonder that people came from all over the land to gaze on such elegant and simple beauty whilst the rain beat ceaselessly on the panes, rain that, as Coleridge wrote in his journal on 12th February 1752, could dilute your laudenham just by opening the curtains and looking out of the window.

Suddenly Milly and Tilly burst into the room and the rural idyll vanished before the rudely re-emerging modern day. ‘How’s the sailing going girls?’ I asked. ‘Did the pirates make you walk the plank? You’re all wet!’ Milly shook her head. ‘Tilly dropped the health and safety risk assessment’ she explained, ‘it was heavy it went right through the bottom of the boat’. I smiled. ‘better drowned that duffers, eh girls!’ I laughed. ‘Mummy’, begain Milly, ‘We’re not actually in Swallows and Amazons you know’. ‘Oh’, I queried, ‘why ever not?’ Milly looked serious. 'It's too sad, all those children are going to reach adulthood at the end of the thirties and then be killed in the war’. She explained. ‘We might as well cut out the middle man and play Atonement!’. I sighed. ‘Well’ I said, ‘that’s spoiled the ending of that book for anyone that reads my blog!’ I growled. ‘Well anyway’, said Milly, ‘if we pretended our names were Roger and Titty and Nancy imagine the kind of childish innuendo you’d make out of that in your stupid blog’.

The children left leaving a damp patch, well, at least somebody has messed up the hotel room this holiday I thought, and I looked out at the lake and wondered if my daughter was talking things far to seriously, Imagine Arthur Ransome conjuring up the dark clouds of the thirties I thought. I mean, where is the worldwide financial crisis, the Olympic Games being used as propaganda and the comfortable and fortunate desperately trying to pretend it won’t happen to them? I closed the curtains to shut out the periscope that I was sure had just surfaced near the ice cream van on the jetty, put the kettle on and went back to watching Look North through my Claude glass.

13 comments:

aims said...

Darling - where on earth was hubby? To leave you all alone with a damp patch created by children! That is almost too much to bear for anyone!!

I personally thought it was a shame that you closed the curtains on that periscope. Perhaps someone was searching for you?!

Potty Mummy said...

I do hope you left the damp patch for the maid to clear up though Rilly. Anything else would be very non-U...

mutterings and meanderings said...

Oh Rilly, how fabulously) bleak .. looks like bestersellerdom this way comes darling...

Semaj Mahgih said...

'It's too sad, all those children are going to reach adulthood at the end of the thirties and then be killed in the war’.

She was so right.

I Beatrice said...

Skipping Swallows and Amazons to go straight to Atonement .... I'm lost in awe of today's young, who have a street wisdom we could never have dreamt of, in our oh-so-idiotically-cocooned youth!

Is this a good thing or a bad I ask myself? And haven't yet come up with an answer.

Good to see you back on such sparkling form though, Rilly.

Calamity Jane said...

I used to have a Swallows & Amazons story on on an LP. Now that's going back a bit.

Expatmum said...

I still say it's TEASMAID, as in the gal that makes your tea, but this debate's been done if I remember correctly.
And oh god, I have a couple of days in the Lakes this July - the wet season!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm writing a feature for a national broadsheet on the boom in blogging mums. I love your blog and wondered if you would be interested in talking to me. tamsink@blueyonder.co.uk

Mopsa said...

Rilly - fame beckons! A broadsheet no less! I think you have a delicious smattering of the red tops about you too though...

Mopsa said...

Shit! Forgot to add that I don't believe for a moment that you ARE a mum....

Frog in the Field said...

Rilly, are you a secret agent?
Is MFI hunting you down oh, I mean MI5.
I hated the Lake District when I went there years ago, too damp, too many walkers, too many camping shops. The tea rooms were all full of steaming people in soaked clothing, very wise staying in your room.

Anonymous said...

Put a kiddies in a movie and it instantly becomes a family classic. Even when close cousin to Steven King - ferouscious characterization of cold-heartedness. Granite came to mind. Plot flaw: We are not privy to inquisition of said taken advantage of, young girl. Blank! A total blank! In order to manipulate plot, in a Godly manner. McEwen is a master at it. Look at Cement Garden or On Chesil Beach! Each includes material about incest. Each is a passive-agressive missle into the weird and useless world of childhood. The child characters in each of his books, or when they are included as part of the mix, have virtually no voice, no spine, no soul. What morons, the police were in their questioning! Anways, the whole entire story crumbled in a heap and was tainted for me in ridiculousness.

But the Lake District! Is it not marvelous? I've visited six times! Gave someone a blow job whilst gazing upon the mountaineering of the 'Old Man'. Love the gingerbread in Grasmere and the very idea of faultering my footsteps on the rejenertated soil of Wordsworth and Coleridge. Two poetic junkies of the cool brand.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Said article in DT by Tamsin Kelly (anonymous) has got me blogging...so the blame's on her!

You musn't have talked though as she has you down as "two men"...or does she mean "toon" as in "Toon Army"? Could you be a whole regiment of fit Georgie blokes...now there's a thought!