Monday 30 August 2021

Lakes and mountains

Photos from a week in the beautiful Lake District. The dog and I are exhausted as usual after this sort of thing. He has to run around trying to keep his pack together and panicking in case he is left behind somewhere. I have to make my own bodyweight in sandwiches every day and then climb mountains. 

The biggest boy is loving landscape photography at the moment and wanted to photograph things at sunrise and sunset. Sunrise is early you know. He is also of the opinion that sleep is a waste of holiday. So he is up even earlier, tramping the hills in the darkness. I joined in once or twice, photographing the Castlerigg Stone Circle at sunrise and the view from Cat Bells at sunset. 

The Stone Circle dates from 3000 BC and is probably one of the earliest in the country. I love trying to imagine the scenes here over the years. 

Not that long ago the Lake District probably still felt pretty wild and inaccessible before cars really took hold. These days in August it is pretty packed and commercial to be honest, but off the beaten track it is breathtakingly beautiful. In fact, it's not that difficult to get away from people provided you avoid the most popular spots. 

I am now in a bit of a post-holiday slump, moping around being generally dismal. No doubt I shall pull myself out of it all soon enough. Somehow it has rather upset my equilibrium though. Work has been a bit overwhelming lately, and a break from it all has left me feeling a bit questioning and wondering how to structure things to fit in the stuff that I want to do. That's the trouble with a holiday, it starts all the thinking and assessing. I need to just get on with things and stop the whole navel-gazing. 

The year ahead will probably have quite a lot going on. The eldest will turn 18 soon and also take his A levels. The middle boy will have GCSEs. Then there are university applications to think about, about which I know almost nothing, so there will have to be a bit of research there I think. How to choose??? How high to aim??? Who will do his laundry??? Oh, I am all of a dither about it all. I think I need a very calming hobby, something I can disappear into and re-emerge later in a state of complete zen calm. Axe throwing maybe, or street luge. Or maybe just a bit of knitting. All tranquil at your end?


  1. Oh happy sigh. I have been scrolling through your photos, loving the moody skies and muted greens. And the sunsets and sunrises. Perfect. Maybe you should take up sunrise photography, always uplifting on a good day. Fascinated by the stone circle. Just read Alice Roberts, Ancestors; a brilliant read even for a layman.
    The joy of exams with two children at once. Good luck is all I can say, I remember it well. Hopefully their school is helpful about uni stuff. There is so much advice around, it’s hard to choose. An interesting year ahead I guess. Hope you get a little bit of down time soon. B x

  2. What stunning photos! It sounds like an idyllic holiday - early rises and sandwich overload notwithstanding! Exams - yuk. I would recommend stocking up on chocolate and alcohol. For you, of course, as I think they are probably more stressful for the parents! There was some talk of them changing the system so that pupils only apply to uni once they have their grades. I doubt it will be in time for next year though. I found the open days quite stressful too! Definitely the year to take up a relaxing hobby. Maybe you could learn to 'Gove Dance'?! xx

  3. Lovely post and pictures, with plenty to smile at as usual. I'd avoid axe throwing and street luge if I were you and stick to knitting or reading a good book.
    All calm here thankfully, just as I prefer it. xx

  4. So lovely to see the sunrise photos, thank you for getting up so early for those! All is quiet here now boy 3 has started back at school. The very last time we have a "first school day of the year" since he will be doing his "leaving" exams and going to "college" (=uni) next, like your older boy. Yes, I also advise lots of wine and chocolate when the time comes, though the wine I kept as a celebration once the exams were done, because there was too much driving in between. School buses don't keep to an exam timetable.
    And knitting. Having two doing exams at the same time can be a bonus, at least they are not the only one studying while the others are ALL enjoying themselves and maybe there is a sense of solidarity(?)

  5. absolutely stunning photos....oh, they make my heartspace just a bit achy...the Lake District being from whence my lovely Nanna hailed. Did I use 'whence' correctly there? No idea.

    I can't even imagine the whirlwind of A levels and GCSEs and uni applications -- we live a very quiet, sheltered life it seems and I'm fine with that. Eldest is finishing last year of high school classes this year...but is undecided at what comes next. No rush, I say..especially as the Life Skills (laundry? doesn't it just magically return clean and folded?) are a bit sparse. :)

    I've always found holidays a bit unsettling...they give one a glimpse of just how far off course one may have wandered. xo

  6. Love your blog, as a mum of three lads, now all flown, reading your blog brings back beautiful memories. Great photos. Well done you for getting up early and supporting the eldest on his quest. Next transition to Uni another part of the motherhood journey, never easy, but as always achieving your long term goal of independence. Enjoy it through their eyes. But start the washing and cooking training early :) Xx

  7. I am loving your photographs, the Lake District at its core. I haven't visited for a long time but seeing your photos, I really want to. Trouble is we have so many beautiful places here in Scotland, and less busy ones, too. Holiday decisions! I understand how you feel after your holiday, it is so difficult to get going again, like jumping onto a driving train.

    As for your oldest, an exciting year. Both my oldest explored universities and courses all on their own, never went to an open day and used National Student Surveys to help them narrow down options. Sam is doing a sandwich degree, which is fantastic, having a one year work placement after third year, then going back to uni for a final year (Most courses are four years in Scotland). He is loving it. He does his own laundry and I am sure your oldest will manage that, too :-)

    Happy weekend when it comes! Cxx

  8. It looks beautiful, and such wonderful photos. We don't live all that far from the Lake District yet do you know, I've never been. We were going to arrange a trip when the pandemic struck. Something to look forward to in the future though.

  9. I loved your beautiful pictures too, and the ethereal, unearthly quality of mist and half-light. I can imagine how it must have called to that little innermost part of you that has struggled with stressful work schedules, housework, offspring wrangling,(and a bit more stress thrown in for good measure), and offered a tantalising glimpse into the other side of living; the quiet, the peaceful, the serene, that seems always just out of reach in our modern, frenetic lives. And in my experience, its singing gets louder, the older you get.

    Maybe that's the real purpose of a holiday, to remind you that there are other things worth having and seeking out, that often get put on the back burner while you're caught up in the melee of keeping all your plates spinning, with one eye on everybody else's, sweeping up the smashed ones that you couldn't quite get to in time, and of course, doing the washing up with your other foot.

    Never mind trying to get on with things, and stopping dreaming. Give your dreams a special place all of their own, that you remember and revisit as often as you can. It might not be possible to give them free rein right now, and the demands of bringing up children, setting them on the path to their own adulthood and responsibilities, and keeping home and yourself more or less together, have voracious appetites. But. Don't lose sight of how you could shape your life in the future, and how you would dream of living as this stage of your life goes by. You might not get it all, but the really important bits, those little nuggets of what would matter most, they're worth striving for, and not lying forgotten at the bottom of the pile of Everyday Stuff. And I'm also a big believer in not working every hour that God sends, just because you can, or someone asked you to. You do need a bit of time just to breathe - and breathing is vastly under-rated sometimes, but its still essential.

    Do your best, work hard when you have to, but rest well in between. Put a nice, plump armchair, with plenty of cushions, (and one for the dog), in that place where you stash your dreams, and retire to there often, if only briefly, and continue to flick through them at will. You never know what the future might bring, and you'll be ready !

  10. Glorious photos. The Lake District is one of the most beautiful places on earth.