Exhibition tribute to Wordsworth’s Daffodils

A major exhibition by a Japanese artist will be staged in the Lake District to mark the 200th anniversary of William Wordsworth’s Daffodils, said to be the world’s most famous poem.

The work of Hideyuki Sobue on the theme of “I wandered” will be shown at Rydal Mount, the house near Ambleside where Wordsworth lived for most of his life, and from where he published the definitive version of the poem that begins with those words.

The exhibition will open on April 11, following a private reception at Rydal Mount, still owned by the poet’s descendants. The poet Gary Boswell will read some of his own work written in tribute to Wordsworth. The exhibition will run for two months.

Hideyuki, who now lives in the Lake District, is a great admirer of Wordsworth’s work. He and Gary Boswell worked together on a collaborative project at Rydal Mount ten years ago, in an attempt “to trace back to the poet’s spirituality and creativity from the perspective of our contemporary society”. The new exhibition takes the Daffodils poem and the opening words “I wandered” as its inspiration.

Hideyuki was born in Japan and brought up in a children’s home for orphans. He studied art at Osaka University and then moved to England and was elected a member of the Lakes Artists Society in 2008. He has had exhibitions in London and throughout the UK.

Award-winning poet, journalist and writer Gary Boswell has held a number of “writer in residences” and was poet in residence for the 2010 World Cup.

Daffodils has captured the hearts of poetry lovers across the world. It has been recited simultaneously by 150,000 schoolchildren, won an American TV talent show when read by a young contestant, and translated into many languages. A version in Chinese calligraphy written on a six-foot high scroll was presented to Rydal Mount recently by a lecturer at Shandong Jiaotong University in China.

The poem was set to music in a song, I wandered lonely as a cloud, recorded by American folk glitter queen Judy Polan in 1996, and performed at Rydal Mount when she visited England.

The Wordsworth family hopes that the anniversary will rekindle interest in what they call “this wonderful poem”.

The poet’s great great great great grandson Christopher Wordsworth said of the appeal of Daffodils: “The poem has deceptively simple language which delivers a profound message.”

Meanwhile, schoolchildren across Cumbria have been writing poems of their own on the theme “I wandered” and their efforts will be judged by the Wordsworth family. The annual Wordsworth Young Poet award will be made at the end of March.

The inspiration for the poem came from a walk Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy took through the woods beyond Gowbarrow at Ullswater and came across a “belt” of wild daffodils blowing in the wind from the lake.

Rydal Mount is still owned by the Wordsworth family and open to visitors daily, with limited opening hours in winter. http://www.rydalmount.co.uk/opening/

The house is a treasure trove of Wordsworth memorabilia. The gardens are being restored according to plans made by the poet. Below the house is Dora’s Field , which Wordsworth planted with daffodils in memory of his eldest daughter, who died from tuberculosis in 1847.

Wordsworth wrote several earlier versions of Daffodils but the version we know today is this final one published in 1815.

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Help local athlete gain international recognition for Cumbria in triathlon

chris striding edge

Ambleside extreme athlete Chris Stirling is urgently looking for financial backers to help him take up an elite place in one of the world’s toughest triathlons.

Chris, 33, who works at the Climbers Shop in Ambleside, has been invited to take part in the Norseman Xtreme in Norway this summer, a point to point race that starts by jumping off a ferry into a fjord and ends on a mountain summit.

But he has to raise funds to provide a back-up vehicle and crew for the race. He currently has a Talentbacker online fundraising campaign but he is short of £800 and unless the full target is reached, he won’t receive any of the pledges.

Chris was last year’s winner of the Wasdale triathlon, recognised as the world’s toughest at the half “iron man” distance. He finished second in the Celtman, the Scottish extreme triathlon, half an hour inside the previous course record.

Originally from Portishead, Bristol, Chris moved to the Lakes 10 years ago to live and train in the mountains. He has a background in climbing, mountaineering and fell running, and decided to start racing in 2012, triathlon and fell running. He  represented Northern Ireland in mountain running events in 2013 and again this year.

He said: “I am very happy and honoured to make this list of international athletes. Norseman was part of my original inspiration for taking up triathlon in 2012 so you could say this is a dream come true. It certainly feels that way.

He added: “Friends and supporters have been really generous in their sponsorship and we need a final push now to reach the total I need for the back-up crew. If everyone interested in sport who lives in the Lakes committed just a small sum, we would hit the target.”

Donors can contribute online at (www.talentbacker.com/talents/view/chris-stirling) or donations can be left at the Climbers’ Shop in Ambleside.

Chris is training seven days a week, often two or three sessions a day, with the help of local runners, cyclists and swimmers.

The Love District: the new way to love the Lakes

Valentine’s weekend sees the launch of a new designer range for home decor for those who love the Lake District.

The Love District is a new label from award-winning Fidget Design in Windermere which celebrates the history, culture and landscape of the Cumbrian fells and lakes.

It includes a distinctive “Lakeland bookends” wallpaper, with matching aprons and tea towels, along with cushions and other home décor fabrics.

The designs were created by Fidget’s Alison Tordoff who came up with all the quirky and tongue-in-cheek Lakes-related book titles and authors. The wallpaper was made originally as a prototype for Windermere’s Cedar Manor Hotel, which has won awards for design excellence.

The book titles depicted include Windermere Char Char, Fifty Shades of Grey Wool, The Secret Life of a Dry Stone Waller, Skinny Dipping for Beginners by Dawn Plunger,  and Wordsworth and the Railways by Bill Halt. Cushions are decorated with outlines of the Lakeland fells.

“The ideas for this new label were inspired by Cumbria and the Lakes,” said Alison, who has won international awards for her hotel designs, and is a former Cumbrian Businesswoman of the Year.

“I am passionate about the Lake District and its rich culture of art, history and literature, as well as the landscape.”

Items from the Love District range can be bought from the website, http://www.thelovedistrict.com. The range will eventually include design-led gifts and home accessories including fine china mugs.

Holiday cottages to let for a good cause

Two lovely holiday cottages in the Lakes are available, in return for a donation to charity.

They are being let by Mater Amabilis church in Ambleside who support a parish in Turkana, Northern Kenya, and want to raise some money to buy another fishing boat to help the community become more self-sufficient.

The first cottage, near Ambleside, is available Mon-Thurs, as the owners live there at weekends,  for a minimum donation of £50 a night. It’s a beautifully modernised traditional cottage about a mile from the village, and a mile from the Drunken Duck Inn. It has central heating and a woodburner, two double bedrooms, modern kitchen and bathroom, Sky TV and free wifi. Wonderful views, and lovely walks from the door.

The second is at Chapel Stile in Great Langdale and sleeps four comfortably, though there are beds for six. It has terrific views up the valley, two double beds (one in an attic) and a bunk room.  This one is to let for short breaks or full weeks, but not during school holidays. Both are available to careful and conscientious visitors who will leave the place as clean as they found it. You have to bring your own sheets, pillowcases, towels and tea-towels, but duvets and pillows are provided.

Email eileen@cumbriapr.co.uk for further details.

Literary lunch at the Old Stamp House to mark Wordsworth anniversary

A literary lunch is to be held in Ambleside to mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of William Wordsworth’s Daffodils, one of the world’s most famous poems.

The celebration will be at the award-winning Old Stamp House restaurant, which is based in the building where the poet once worked as a civil servant.

The guest speaker is the eminent historian and literary biographer, Juliet Barker, who has published two books about Wordsworth.

The event, on Wednesday April 22 – the day before the anniversary of Wordsworth’s death – has been organised by Peter and Marian Elkington, the curators of Rydal Mount, the house near Ambleside where the poet lived for 37 years, and from where he published the final and definitive version of Daffodils in 1815.

Chef Ryan Blackburn, an admirer of Wordsworth’s work, is creating a Cumbrian-themed three course meal for the occasion. It is hoped that literary lunches hosted by Rydal Mount at the Old Stamp House might become regular events.

Bookings for the lunch, which costs £22.50 for three courses with coffee, should be made directly to the restaurant by calling 015394 32775. Numbers are strictly limited and early booking is advisable.

The Old Stamp House is where Wordsworth worked as the Distributor of Stamps for Westmorland, from 1813, the year that he and his family moved to Rydal Mount, until he started to earn enough money from his writing.

Peter Elkington said: “We are thrilled that Juliet Barker is joining us for this very special celebration. She will talk about Wordsworth’s life and work, and no one is better placed to reveal the elusive private man behind the public image.”

Daffodils has captured the hearts of poetry lovers across the world. It has been recited simultaneously by 150,000 schoolchildren, won an American TV talent show when read by a young contestant, and translated into many languages. A version in Chinese calligraphy written on a six-foot high scroll was presented to Rydal Mount recently by a lecturer at Shandong Jiaotong University in China.

The poem was set to music in a song, I wandered lonely as a cloud, recorded by American folk glitter queen Judy Polan in 1996.

The poet’s great great great great grandson Christopher Wordsworth said of the appeal of Daffodils: “The poem has deceptively simple language which delivers a profound message.”

The inspiration for the poem came from a walk Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy took through the woods beyond Gowbarrow at Ullswater and came across a “belt” of wild daffodils blowing in the wind from the lake.

Rydal Mount is still owned by the Wordsworth family and open to visitors daily. The house is a treasure trove of Wordsworth memorabilia. The gardens are being restored according to plans made by the poet. Below the house is Dora’s Field , which Wordsworth planted with daffodils in memory of his eldest daughter, who died from tuberculosis in 1847.

Juliet Barker is the author of Wordsworth, A Life (2000) and Wordsworth, A Life in Letters (2002). She lives in Yorkshire, and is a former curator and librarian of the Bronte Parsonage Museum, and author of a number of books about the Brontes.

The Old Stamp House was launched last year by Ryan Blackburn, formerly of Holbeck Ghyll and The Cottage in the Wood, and a Cumbrian Chef of the Year winner. He and his brother Craig source local ingredients from top Cumbrian suppliers.

  • Wordsworth wrote several earlier versions of Daffodils but the version we know today is this final one published in 1815.

http://www.rydalmount.co.uk/opening/