"We are what we believe we are."
C.S. Lewis

Friday, July 18, 2014


Well hello, how have you all been?
I have to thank my daughter Young Rascal for writing blog posts these last weeks, I got a real kick out of them.  Thanks very much as well to those of you who commented on her posts, she really understood the fun and community in blogging when we would return to our cottage at the end of the day and she was able to read comments on her posts.

We're preparing to leave for Canada tomorrow but I wanted to stop and think about the things that have really provided inspiration this holiday... after all inspiration is the best souvenir of any holiday.

Though British culture is a familiar one to us we still immersed ourself in a culture that is different enough to provide stimulation and constant interest, we have not had a dull moment even though we have been relaxed tourists!

The excitement began the moment we landed at the airport in Manchester.  We were a bit groggy from the overnight flight but we had to instantly adapt to something new and different:
The "Wrong" Side
Steering wheel of our rental car... and then of course it's left lane.
MrBP has done all the driving thank goodness.
In Kirkby Lonsdale, the little village we've called home these last three weeks, there seems to be so much love for the concept of home.  Heart symbols are a theme, you see them on the doors of cottages and hanging in the windows.  The cottages in the village are all very well kept, with lovely paint colours on the doors and windows and gorgeous container gardens, sometimes extending right to the edge of the street.
I found basic things like the eavestrough systems really fascinating, they are all beautiful and decorative:

Everywhere you go there are dogs, the English love their dogs!  They are out for walks in the village and in the country but best of all they are allowed in the pubs!
The dog shower at the local pub.
Wash your boots and dogs and then go on in.
The beautiful container gardens are a riot of colour all over the village.

The people here love to hang out their laundry and on this particular day this resident matched up the washing to the flowers lining the wall of the garden:
Back home we are embarking on a renovation of our house and I've read loads of home magazines these last weeks, but I've also been inspired by the interiors which are colourful and cozy yet speak to the natural world.

Most cottages have a name, our own cottage is named "Honeysuckle", there is a "Pear Cottage" or two in the neighbourhood, a "May Cottage", an "Oak Beam Cottage", and in the nearby village of Ingleton I found "Clod Villa".
Villa of Clods?
It is charming but also speaks, I think, to the general love of home and hearth.

The container gardens spilling onto the streets as well as the love of dogs and walking all tie in to a reverence for the natural world which we have seen and felt on this holiday.

This was a favourite picnic spot for us.
A walk through an enchanting forest leads to a green field.

Ruskin's View
The views, the outlooks are stunning!  We've been able to study Ruskin's View (and then in a brilliant tie-in we were able to view the Ruskin exhibit at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, more on that later) but the views from our own cottage have been equally inspiring.
The view from our bedroom window.

Detailed view.
Notice the magical light!
We've walked miles and miles in the country and I have to say I think the Yorkshire Dales must be some of the most beautiful scenery in the entire world.
MrBP unpacking one of his fabulous picnics.
Our fellow walkers have all been kind and ready for a chat on the trail:

Ingleton Falls
We've spent some time being inspired by Wordsworth, not just his poetry but the way he lived his life.  In the nearby Lake District it's possible to visit both Dove Cottage and his house at Rydal Mount.
Wordsworth's Study at Rydal Mount
Who knew Wordsworth was such a gardener?  It deserves another post entirely.  Again the reverence for the natural world, which is very evident in his work, is on full display in both of the homes he lived in.
A tiny wreath of lavender was hanging at the top of every window at Rydal Mount.
The English have a way with words, well we knew this already but it is also much in evidence on even the most simple of signage:

The trees are so beautiful they literally take your breath away, walking the forest paths we felt the weight of history, and of legend...
MrBP and a tree which seems to have a personality of its own.
Those picnics have been very indulgent.  MrBP was clearly inspired!

Champagne with strawberries and creme fraiche.
We visited cathedrals and museums and I have more details on various sites to tell you about.  I find cathedrals absolute visual feasts:
A detail of the ceiling, the cathedral at Carlisle.
I have something very special in particular to tell you about... my experiences visiting Brora while up in Scotland!
Very excited to be in a gorgeous Brora shop!
As a Brora Super Fan I had the ultimate experience which I will be sharing with you in detail.  Brora invited me and my family to visit their mill in the Scottish Borders where all the magic happens!  It was an exciting, wonderful day and I now understand why every Brora jumper and cardigan is an absolute work of art.
A Brora cashmere pom-pom!
So please stay tuned.  I'll be back next week once I get the family settled into home and spend some time walking Ultimate Rascal, our dog Scout.
I hope you've all been well and having fun these last weeks,


  1. Sounds like you had an amazing trip Dani! I also love seeing the good bits about England that I sometimes forget about while living here...Safe trip home x

    1. Naomi it's been great and I can't wait to come back, we have felt right at home and yet bowled over by the beauty at the same time!

  2. it all looks amazing and I can't wait to hear more! I have not spent much time in England, but what I did, I adored, especially Oxford, so am anxious to hear more about where you stayed! The picnics look perfect and if you are like me - you were obsessed by the lack of bugs! I think of all the things I could do with my house without bugs!

    I am all for house names - I keep wanting to name ours and since it is covered in honeysuckle front and back, did consider calling it Lonicera, since really it is so cottage-like! safe travels home!

    Lovely sneak peek of the Brora visit!

    1. Wendy there are NO BUGS. It is so incredible. No need for screens on the windows even... which gives the cottages that much more charm. I think you should name your house, it is a delightful thing to do. All you need to do is have a plaque made up and you're done.
      The Brora visit was amazing, wait until I tell you all about the details and the hands-on work that goes into creating Brora products. All of the people at the mill were so lovely and friendly too, you would have adored them!

    2. Yes no insects or screens here, I nearly died when I lived in America and a June bug flew into my hair/nest.

    3. Wishing and HopingJuly 18, 2014 at 8:05 PM

      That's it!! No BUGS!
      I'm moving to Scotland!!!
      I'd have my life back if there were no bugs around.
      You would not believe the amount of time spent in this old house of ours looking for and protecting against wood eating, cloth eating and biting insects.
      I am officially an expert in tell-tale signs. And we have screens.
      I don't think it gets cold enough even in the southern parts of Australia to kill them off completely.

      I'm packing my bags!

  3. Hi Dani - you look so happy to be at the mother ship! It's been lovely to follow along your travels courtesy of Young Rascal - she is very talented. I'm looking forward to reading more.

  4. My last rather lengthy comment vanished into thin air. That sounds like a trip of a lifetime especially with MrBp & the charming Young Rascal. We'd love to hear more of the Scottish National Gallery Ruskin exhibit, Brora visit, and whether you may have bumped into anybody we know North of the Border?
    Also my dear Dani, we are long overdue for a pic of Scout aka 'Ultimate Rascal'.

  5. Oh my gosh it sounds wonderful! And not-to-be-forgotten! The photos show everything the world prizes in the English countryside. Thank you.

  6. I've had to google eavestrough, what wonderful new word.

    So lovely, it reminds me of childhood holidays and Kendal Mint cake. Must take a trip down again sometime. It was fab to meet the glorious BP's.

  7. Welcome back Dani,
    Really enjoyed reading Young Rascals posts.Take a bow ...what a lovely daughter you have. So happy for you . The whole post is breathtaking. Can't wait to hear about the visit to the mill . Gosh I hope you got through Customs !

  8. Oh Dani it all looks so magically beautiful!! I can't wait to see and hear more. What a delightful time. I love their signage as well, and how charming to see the word "please" used on a sign!!

  9. It's always a joy to see glorious old Blighty through the eyes of a keen visitor.

    Looking forward to reading more of your adventures!

  10. What a delightful holiday!! Glad you were spoiled a little with the F & M picnics that Mr. BP put together. Youngest Rascal is quite the writer! She really has a great voice and it was a treat reading her posts. There is something wonderful about England...

  11. It sounds beautiful and enchanting....what a lovely post.

  12. Thank you for all the beautiful pictures--so glad to hear you had a lovely time.

  13. Delighted you had a great, well earned vacation. Loved your daughters take on things and looking to hear yours.

  14. YR is a hot ticket! Enjoyed her observations. Have a safe trip back!

  15. Wishing and HopingJuly 18, 2014 at 8:30 PM

    Goodness Dani!
    I am so in awe just reading your post.
    How absolutely, incredibly fantastic.
    You've lived my dream.
    Please, please, please do tell more as you get yourself settled back in.
    Am I sounding like a crazed Anglophile? It's because I am. (sigh)

    It's so hard to get our family out of our continent. We are so isolated here.
    We need to take baby steps (especially with a certain youngster afraid of flying over water), and are attempting (with some luck) New Zealand next year.

    It looks so idyllic. The Brora shopping, the sophisticated picnicking with F&M basket and goodies (cheers for Mr BP), the lovely walks though the picturesque dales. Wordsworth, RUSKIN - (last time I was exposed to Ruskin was at university. Thank you for bringing back memories.) And that gorgeous boot/dog shower! What a novel idea!
    What a magical experience Dani!

    Safe travels back home. I'm sure you will be greeted most appropriately by the furry UR. :)
    And many thanks again to YR - our little gifted reporter for giving us a different perspective on your travels.
    What a breath of fresh air she is for a 12 year old. I'm sure you're all proud of her. Helen :)

  16. Welcome back! Look forward to more photos.

  17. Dani and YR. Great posts. Enjoyed reading about your trip, I've wondered where in the north you were. Mom mom is from Cumbria and came to Canada in early 50s. My sister, mom and I went several years ago and I was overwhelmed with the beauty of the countryside. Friends from Appleby have just left after staying with us here in the Maritimes two weeks. Perhaps you had a chance to visit that beautiful 14th century market town. Thanks for sharing your trip with us!

  18. Yes, the Yorkshire Dales are a slice of heaven, as is the Lake District! :) In June I spent a couple of weeks at my parents place just outside Carlisle, and I visited Wordsworth House is Cockermouth. Wonderful place, and maybe on my next visit I can go to Mount Rydall. The countryside is so beautiful; the gardens are gorgeous; the pubs are wonderful ( :) ); and I get homesick just writing that! Glad you had such a wonderful visit.

  19. Welcome back Dani! Big thanks to Young Rascal for the travel journal posts. The English countryside is so beautiful and I had never thought of it before but you're right, no bugs! I am sure the people at Brora were thrilled to have you visit - can't wait to see more photos!

  20. Looks like you had a wonderful trip! Thanks for the pics.

    Looking forward to the Brora visit recap. I love visiting manufacturing plants!

  21. It looks like you had a fantastic time Dani! I can't wait to read about your visit at the Brora Mill. The picnic seem to have been really delicious and now I can't wait for our break on this island ;-) Take Care

  22. welcome home dani. the views! omg, the views! such a beautiful part of england. i miss it so much!