Good morning! Welcome to "Morning Musings".

Musings: to meditate, think, contemplate, deliberate, ponder, reflect, ruminate, reverie, daydream, introspection, dream, preoccupation, brood, cogitate.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

A Year With Beatrix Potter & Friends - March

Jemima Puddle-duck, when we last saw her, was waddling down the lane wearing Tom Kitten's hat. . . .

I thought she'd be ready this month to take us on our tour of the Lake District, but it turns out there's been an uproar at Hill Top Farm and Jemima was last seen running around the farmyard telling the tale of what has happened.  It seems Tom Kitten has gone missing!  It is baking day and Mrs. Tabitha Twitchet intended to shut her kittens in the cupboard to keep them out of trouble, only she could not find Tom--only Moppet and Mittens. . . .


So now the house is being turned upside down looking for him.  Meanwhile, Moppet and Mittens have escaped the cupboard and have gotten into the dough. . . .
When they heard a knock on the door Moppet jumped into a barrel of flour. . . .

And Mittens hid in an empty jar. . . .

It was their neighbor, Mrs. Ribby, at the door. . . .

She set down her basket and commenced to help look for Tom and his sisters because Mrs. Twitchet has just discovered Moppet and Mittens missing, too! When Moppet is found in the barrel of flour she begins to cry that she has seen an old rat woman (Anna Maria) steal some of the dough. . . .
When they found Mittens in the dairy she told them she'd seen an old rat man (Samuel Whiskers) steal some butter and then he'd come back for the rolling pin. . . .

That explains the roly-poly noise they heard coming from above.  They sent for John Joiner immediately to cut through the floor boards where they'd heard the sound. . . .

You can read the entire story HERE to find out what has happened to Tom Kitten.

I have decided to draw one of Beatrix's pen and ink drawings so that I could paint the scene according to my own imagination.  This is where the old rat woman has come downstairs by way of the skirting-board and window shutter to the kitchen. . . .
This my drawing. . . .

And my watercolor of it. . . .

During the month I practiced drawing most of the scenes in my journal.  Here is a collage of some of them. . . .



You can watch The Tale of Samuel Whiskers below along with the opening and closing scenes of Hill Top Farm and Near Sawrey. . . .

                          

When Beatrix first wrote this story and had it published in 1908 it was called Roly-Poly Pudding.  It was a little larger than the "little books" that had been published so far, much longer, and had more pen and ink drawings than color illustrations.  It would be republished later in the smaller size and retitled.  The story began as a picture letter to Winifred Warne, a niece of Norman's, in which she shows Anna Maria and Samuel Whiskers redecorating their hidey-hole with the wallpaper the rats had torn off the wall of one of her closets!  The story is dedicated to Beatrix's pet rat, Sammy, whom she called thief because of his pilfering habits.  Hill Top was overrun with rats when she first bought it.  She wrote Millie, Norman's sister, "I never saw such a place for hide & seek, & funny cupboards & closets."  One of my readers, Podso, sent me this lovely book. . . .


It is the kind of book that has flaps and extra materials like letters in envelopes--the kind you take your time exploring.  Here is the page with  Beatrix's letter to Millie. . . .


In "The Tale of Samuel Whiskers" Beatrix put all sorts of hiding places for Tom Kitten and his sisters as well as for the rats.  The book shows other details throughout Hill Top house, as well as the village.  Beatrix drew herself at the end of Smithy Lane as the rats ran off to Farmer Potatoes's, whom she modeled after one of her neighbors.  I collected the above information from one of my favorite books,  "The Ultimate Peter Rabbit - A Visual Gide to the World of Beatrix Potter" by DK.  You can get a peek inside by clicking on the link. . . .


I've been rereading Susan Wittig Albert's "The Tale of Hill Top Farm," the first in her Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter series.  This first book is particularly delightful because it takes you through the village, introduces you to the many villagers, including the animals that have their own story, much like Beatrix's stories.  There is a delightful website to go along with the series that can be found HERE.  I love that Ms. Albert includes a map of Near Sawrey with each book and a list of characters.  The website has additional information about Beatrix Potter and her books.  I read it when it first came out in 2005 and drove down to the Rockville Library where she and Linda Lear were holding a book signing.  She had only brought paperback copies to sell so when the newspaper reporter wanted to take their photo she asked to borrow my copy for the photo. . . .

I'm enjoying reading it even more this time around because of all the research I've done on Near Sawrey for these posts and the videos that introduce the animated stories showing Hill Top and the village.  Because Google Maps now has a street view feature I've been able to virtually walk down Smithy and Stoney Lanes, find Hill Top and Castle Cottage as well as other landmarks in the village.  If you have not used the Street View feature I will point out some things in the snapshot I took of the screen from the above link (highlighted in blue). . . .
The way you navigate is you put your cursor on the road and click.  This will advance you along the road.  If you want to see what's off to the side, there is a circle on the right-hand side with arrows (see the red arrow?).  Click on the right to look right, on the left to look left.  The map in the lower left-hand side of the screen shows you where you are on the map.  This view is looking westward as you enter Near Sawrey after leaving Far Sawrey a ½ mile before.  As you approach Hill Top you'll see a wide green gate on the left.  This is the lane up to the farm.  A little further you'll see a smaller white gate.  This is the foot-path entrance.  Just past that you enter the village.  If you use the toggle circle to the left you'll see Tower Bank Arms.  Using my map and Susan Wittig Albert's map you can see where the various cottages are located and be on the lookout for them as you "virtually walk" through the village.  Enjoy exploring!


.•*¨`*•. ☆ .•*¨`*•
Take Joy!  

28 comments:

  1. Cathy, this is delightful post! Your watercolor is beautiful! Your colors and shading is just lovely. You must feel good about your progress. Thank you for taking me back to Near Sawrey! This is an extraordinary area of England. I will never forget it! ♥

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    1. Thank you! You've actually been to Near Sawrey so my little virtual tour hardly compares.

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    2. Loved the virtual tour & your drawings!

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  2. Thanks for the idea of the virtual tour. I've done that other places--even to see a house where I'm going for the first time so I'll recognize it. Your drawing/water color is lovely. I like seeing it in color through your eyes. Even your wood detail is so good!

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    1. Thank you, Dotsie. And thank you again for the book!

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  3. Dearest Cathy,
    I am always so happy and delighted to see how great your art is coming along!! I sure enjoyed the virtual tour too!! They are always fun!! :-)
    I really enjoyed seeing the picture of Susan Wittig Albert, for I am a great fan!! I have so many of her books, she is one of my favorite authors! (have you read A Wilder Rose)? When I first saw her Hill Top series I didn't think I would like or care for them, but when I finally picked up the The Tale of Hill Top book, I could not put it down, and then kept going from there with the series and others!!! I Love her writing!! She is a great researcher, and also such creative mind! (I am looking to read Loving Eleanor next) :-)

    Have a wonderful day dear, sending warmth, love and many blessings,xx oo Linnie

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    1. Thank you, Linnie. I've not read any of her other books, but I'll take a look at A Wilder Rose. Thank you, too, for your warmth and love that surrounds you in all you do.

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  4. What a wonderful post, loved your water colour and your collage of little sketches are a real delight.

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    1. Thank you! I'm loving drawing Beatrix's little characters.

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  5. Dear Cathy, Your diligent practice is certainly uncovering the gift within you! Your watercolor is quite lovely. While I've been to Hilltop, it was now a long time ago, so I quite enjoy this new visiting. As always, you are the best travel guide!

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    1. Thank you, Elaine. Uncovering is exactly what I felt I needed to do for years. I always said I couldn't draw, yet I felt I could if I'd just remove whatever it was that was blocking it.

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  6. Great post. Google Maps and the whole virtual tour thing is amazing, isn't it? It certainly is to this "mature" citizen who did not grow up with all these wonders. I "Google-tour" places I want to visit often - Boston, Cape Cod, Washington DC, northern California towns like Monterey, Seaside, Sausalito etc. And your drawings are really coming along. That practice stuff really works, huh? LOL. Seriously, I think you & Ken should take a page from Susan B's book and do your own tour of the Beatrix-Potter/English countryside. I'm guessing you'd be loving it - times 100. You're the kind of visitor that museums, historical sites etc pray to get, someone who's genuinely interested and excited to be there, and that makes all their hard work and attention to detail so worth it. No one would get more out of it than you. Maybe in a few years? And when you could take Olivia too, who'll be reading by then and really able to absorb/remember a lot. 🐰

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    1. By the time this year is over I'll either feel I've been there, or will be wanting to go for real so badly I'll be able to leave Gabriel for a month--for that's how long I'd need to stay to see everything I'd want to experience.

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    2. "Aunt" Janet is available - if and when Gabriel might need a temporary Mom. And I'll come to Maryland - because you, Mrs Schultz, have been a one-woman tourism force [unpaid] for the State of Maryland - and there are jillions of places I'd like to see there. Maybe some of them even accept adorable Westies? :>)

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    3. Well, Janet, I just may take you up on that! I have a cat, too, you know. How do you feel about cats? I told my husband about your offer and he said that you were welcomed to come down anytime for a visit. 😊 He loves that I have friends like you through my web journals. You are, indeed, welcomed to come for a visit anytime! You don't have to wait until we finally make that long-dreamed for trip to England. That might not happen for another 3 years and I wouldn't want to hold you to your offer for that long!

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    4. How nice of you both! If you won't be going for a while, that's good because before I could actually do it, I'm gonna need to have my knees attended to - the right one anyway. It's been getting worse and I'm procrastinating right now. Mostly because it doesn't bother me much in the Summer, or in dry weather. Only when it's cold and/or rainy. It definitely has its good days, when I get to thinking I won't need surgery. And then its bad days, when I'm pretty sure I will. However, I am an experienced housesitter, have "sat" many times. The last time about 5 years ago when one of my brothers took his family to Cape May, NJ. Before Hurricane Sandy. Only one cat to watch, and my brother only lives 2 miles from me so I didn't stay overnight at all. Just checked on everything each day, gathered mail, fed & watered indoor plants/outdoor garden, trash barrel, newspaper. And the kitty of course. Whenever I'm over at my brother's for anything now, my niece calls Marley "Aunt Janet's boyfriend" because he always comes around and climbs into my lap. Although the Whisker Lickins chicken liver treats in my tote bag might spur his memory - LOL.

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    5. Janet, I understand your reluctance because I understand the recovery time is longer than one would wish! But I also have heard how wonderful it is to have the pain-free mobility restored. I wish you great success with it when you decide to move forward.

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  7. Hi Cathy, I loved reading about Beatrix Potter. She's one of my favorite authors. Your watercolor is truly amazing; such beautiful colors and shading. Have a great week, Pat xx

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    1. Thank you, Pat, for thinking my watercolor is amazing. 😊 I'm continually amazing I can do anything that resembles a real thing!

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  8. Lovely as always... I think the BBC did such a beautiful job on the series of stories, don’t you, with the especially appropriate music.

    And your drawing/paintings are really progressing! I am so impressed!

    I think it was in Linda J. Lear's book about Potter (Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature) where I read that Susan (I must address these ladies by their first names, having read so much of their writing I feel like I know them!) Albert had much of her inspiration for the animals from that much neglected book "The Fairy Caravan" I was lucky enough to get an eBook copy, and have read it many times, and was completely blown away; it is a real book, or rather chapter book, and I wish she had written more of them it is simply a wonderful book full of the local character and people that Beatrix knew. I felt closer to Beatrix Potter in those books than any of the others.
    I'm very much an armchair traveler as well, and have enjoyed going about Near and Far Sawrey via Google Maps. Also there is a good website maintained by the current owners of Buckle Yeat, (http://buckleyeat.blogspot.com/) which has become a guest house, as have The Tower Bank Arms and Belle Green. They (the owners of Buckle Yeat) love taking walks and have beautiful pictures of the surrounding area...I feel I know Wilfin Beck as much as my own backyard! The little village near Hill Top looks very much as it did in Beatrix's day, although some nice improvements (like a play area for children the locals have built and provided.)
    Gosh, I could go on forever. If you are still able to travel DO go, and bring back pictures and memories for the rest of us!

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    1. Thank you, Erin. I love the opening and closing of these videos because of they are filmed at Hill Top. The song I've loved for years as I'm a fan of Miriam Stockley. I've "explored" all the Inns and B&Bs in Near Sawrey. If we were to go there we might just stay in one a night just to get the feel of the whole village.

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  9. Jemma and her friends have been busy this month with all of them rushing around! Your painting is a delight. I enjoyed the virtual google map tour too. Have you come across this game called https://geoguessr.com/. It takes you to a google map somewhere in the world and you have to guess where it is. It is fun but can be addictive! Sarah x

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    1. Thank you, Sarah. I am not familiar with the Geoguessr game, but it sounds like something I should stay away from! 😊

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  10. Cathy, You are really coming along artistically, especially nice job on the flower pots. I have all of the above books, I especially love the one that is "interactive".I smile at the writing of Susan Whittig, and enjoy the way she includes the thoughts and conversation Potter's beloved animal characters. She also writes a series of Victorian and Edwardian Mysteries under the name of Robin Paige, I just read "Death at Bishops Keep". Enjoyed the road tour, I take those often. I've enjoyed the last BP book you recommended, it was really interesting to read the sometimes conflicting views of those who met Beatrix.

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    1. Thank you, Jeri. I appreciate your feedback! I'm glad you enjoyed the BP book. You should see if your library has BP Letters. During WWII she writes a lot about what's going on there with the bombing and how she felt about it all. She had strong opinions about a lot of things.

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  11. This is such a lovely post, and I love all the images, too!

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    1. Thank you, Linda. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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