Sunday, March 09, 2008

excursions

I only went on two excursions this time, but they were both wonderful, albeit in very different ways. The first was to Blackwell, the Arts and Crafts house. I don't think I have ever been in a place that gave me so much aesthetic pleasure. Everything about it was so simply yet perfectly designed, from the interior ornamentation to the placement of the trees on the grounds. The online tour really doesn't give an adequate idea of how truly attractive this house is. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures of the inside of the house for "copyright reasons." I have no idea what this means. Is the house somehow copyrighted? The designer is long since dead, so what exactly is under copyright, and who holds said copyright? I was irritated by this. In fact, I was tempted to take a couple of pictures anyway, but there were always so many people about that I didn't think I could do it without getting caught.

The other excursion I went on was "Molly's Mystery Tour," which apparently is a tradition at the Winter School. Here's how it works: everyone piles into a van, which Richard drives. Molly sits in the front seat, and tells Richard where to go. Everyone else hangs on for dear life. No one, including Richard, knows where the Tour is going to go until it gets there. This time it went up and down the fells, down various sketchy-looking lanes, and through several closed gates (which someone had to get out and open). Some of the terrain was very steep, very unpaved, and very lacking in guardrails. At one point, I remarked to the woman in the seat next to me that I supposed we were all going to die. I was sitting at the very back of the van, so I couldn't hear most of Molly's commentary, but she said something about "this is the route that Hartley Coleridge walked when he [something I didn't catch]."

Along the way, we stopped at St. John's in the Vale,


Castlerigg stone circle,


and a pub (not pictured). It was blowing a gale at Castlerigg, with lots of mist and rain on the fells - very Romantic.

When we finally came out somewhere in a village with paved roads, I looked back at the road we had just been on, and saw a sign next to it that proclaimed "unsuitable for motor vehicles."

6 comments:

Heidi said...

Hee. I love it when you describe things as Romantic with a capital R. No one but a literarian would have a clue...
Probably someone bought copyright to any and all photography of the house. Shame, isn't it? Or maybe it has something to do with Blackwell publishers...

Heidi said...

Haha. Molly's Magical Mystery Tour... did you listen to the Beatles while you were hurrying along, just to set the mood? :)

Octavia said...

You know, I have the most awful time trying to tell people outside my field what it is that I do, because when I say I'm specializing in "Romantic novels," they get this funny look on their faces, and I know they're thinking of, like, Harlequin novels. And I myself have been led astray at least once by the library catalog when I searched for the keywords "romantic" and "novel."

Octavia said...

I left my iPod at home this time, but you'd better believe that "Magical Mystery Tour" was playing repeatedly in my head for about three days.

Natalie* said...

disclaimer - this is nicole's sister natalie, just FYI - Can I just say that your photo of Castlerigg totally brought back great memories for me - we were especially unruly undergrads and actually CLIMBED upon that very rigg - SO inappropriate.

Octavia said...

@ natalie*: Meh. I don't think anyone cares if you climb on that one. In fact, last summer I personally witnessed a leading Romanticism scholar standing on one of the stones at Long Meg (another Cumbrian stone circle). There are so many stone circles in GB, I don't think either the fussy neo-Druid people or the historical register people have time to keep track of them all.

That's really cool that you've been to Castlerigg, though. I'm assuming you were in a study abroad program; was it Lit or something else?