Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Holidays and sad thoughts

We were in England for our holidays, and for the first week, we were in the Lake District (as Thimbleanna rightly guessed). We stayed in this house. The landscape consists of towering mountains, glittering lakes liberally supplied with (when we were there) misty rain. That’s why it has lakes, of course. And waterfalls. It’s dramatically beautiful, and as Wordsworth put it,

"The sounding cataract
Haunted me like a passion: the tall rock,
The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,
Their colours and their forms, were then to me
An appetite; a feeling and a love,
That had no need of a remoter charm,
By thought supplied, nor any interest
Unborrowed from the eye."

I have loved these lines (from “Tintern Abbey”) since I was an intense teenager myself.

This was the view from our house.

This is Blackwell, the most interesting Arts and Crafts house I've ever seen.

We went on a cruise on Lake Windermere.

This is the Hardnott Pass. It may look tame enough, but click on the picture to see how far below us that next car is. These are single-track roads, and it was raining hard. Luckily we didn't meet anything coming in the opposite direction. It wouldn't be that much fun to have to back down the hill to find a passing place.

For the second week, we went to the Cotswolds area, which has a much gentler landscape – sweet hillocks and impossibly pretty villages. The sun shone from time to time, though not enough for my mother, who likes it to be hot. We stayed in this barn conversion.

This was the view from the garden. The fields were usually filled with sheep, who woke us every morning with their dawn chorus. "Meh!"

This is nearby Broadway. So picturesque.

And Dumbleton, the nearest village to where we were staying.

Hidcote Manor Garden. I wanted to roll it up and take it home.

Here's another view. Hidcote is made up of "garden rooms". My plot at home is rather small to try this sort of design, alas.

It was all good, but really it all seems dust and ashes because my son-in-law has been ill for a long time with depression and though he occasionally improves, he doesn’t seem able to sustain this long enough to be able to lead a normal existence. He is such a lovely boy and incredibly talented in so many ways. It seems so unfair. Of course, no one ever said life would be fair but this doesn't feel very comforting.


  1. You have just taken me on the most Gorgeous Trip I love it Thank you for sharing with us Tell your son in law to think positive he can beat this with lots of love from his family .
    Hugs Mary.

  2. Lovely pics of those romantic looking houses & buildings.
    Horrible depression. In some ways there is not much progress. Has he considered a more sunny climate?

  3. Should that be Sunnier? It doesnt sound right...
    One of my friends has a father who is depressed badly, but when he comes to Australia for holidays he is always happy.

  4. Oh Isabelle, I'm so sorry to hear that your SIL isn't getting better.

    Your photos are beautiful -- we loved both the Cotswolds and the Lake District on our last visit. Thanks for the lovely memories.

  5. Such a worry for you. With all the new whiz kids on the block for treating depression isn't there a medication that might help him? I've heard they can make an enormous difference....
    That Dumbleton cottage---so picturesque!

  6. Though it must be hard on everyone, it does sound like your SIL has good support.

  7. You know, Meggie may be on to something with the climate thing. And given the fact that our sumemr has been horrendous so far, it may be worth thinking about. I really hope he gets well soon.

    Lovely photos! My father's family came from the Lake District.And excuse me, my friend, but the Cotswolds are not far from where I live!

  8. Beautiful pictures Isabelle. Sorry to hear SIL is not so good. From where I am sitting I can't really offer anything but sympathy and a virtual hug. (I know "virtual hug" is sort of icky but you know what I mean)

  9. My thoughts are with you, Mr Life and your daughter and son in law.

    And what a coincidence that I came to your post immediately following Stephanie's post at in which she quotes Wordsworth and visits Tintern Abbey.

    Lovely lovely.

  10. Thank you for sharing your beautiful holiday with me.
    I am sure you know how much I love looking at these places.
    And grand poetry also, what more can I wish for.

    It seems everyone has tried everything for this depressed lad. It's heartbreaking. What do Doctors say? What does Dr Son say? Would he prescribe medicine, I think there is such a range you have to try more than one kind, they are all different.


    I do hope you didn't worry all that time you were wandering those fine hills and dales! You do need time off worrying!

    * large hug * (includes the cats)

  11. You do take lovely photographs. I feel for you and your daughter and your son-in-law.

  12. What a shame, and so hard not to get down in the hole with him, isn't it? I guess you worry about your daughter too.

    And I was going to make a crack about how we used to like to visit Broadway when we lived in Gloucs and you could have given my regards to it...

  13. I'm catching up on various people's posts. This post is like a slice of heaven, so wholesome and cozy. I hope you had a wonderful holiday, and I hope that the feelings it gave you will stay for a good long time.

    Depression ... chronic depression is a beast. Sometimes it isn't one thing or another which makes it better, but the cumulative effect of many things: sunlight, exercise, medication, diet, therapy, ruling out medical issues. Unfortunately, tackling those things in a systematic manner requires energy, which can be darned hard to come by when one is depressed. Catch-22.

  14. beautiful scenes, the sheep are sweet...i remember cows and sheep outside our B&B somewhere near york (not the lake district but same country at least)....prayers for your sil and daughter!!