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

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A Year With Beatrix Potter & Friends - September


Today Jemima will lead the way around Esthwaite Water to the west and head north to Hawkshead as she tells us the Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse.  You will recognize the archway below in Hawkshead from Beatrix's drawing in today's story.  The interior drawings were of Dr. and Mrs. Bolton's house.  Dr. Bolton played golf with Mr. Heelis on a course they had built in Sawrey for their own use, and Mrs. Bolton received vegetables from Sawrey each week and sent back laundry.  That is a bag of golf clubs Johnny Town-Mouse is carrying on the book's cover photo.  The house-maid who discovers Timmy Willie in the basket is Mrs. Rogerson who worked for the Potter family when they stayed at Ees Wyke. . . .
credit:  Waymarking.com
Here's our map so you can keep track of where we are. . . .

Hawkshead is where William Heelis, Beatrix's husband, had his law office.  The building is now used as a museum of Beatrix's paintings. . . .
credit: visitcumbria.com
We're ready, Jemima.  Lead the way. . . .











The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse
As Told by Jemima Puddle-Duck

Quack!  Quack!  Good morning everyone!  We have a bit of a waddle up to Hawkshead, which will give me plenty of time to tell you about my friend, Timmy Willie’s visit to Hawkshead last summer.  Quack!  Of course, he had not planned to go to town.  He was merely eating the peas he found in a hamper by the garden gate, which like Peter Rabbit’s lettuces, had a soporific effect. . . .


Timmy Willie woke up as he bounced about in the hamper.  Soon he found himself in Hawkshead being carried into the kitchen where the cook screamed bloody murder (pardon my language--QUACK!) upon seeing little Timmy Willie. . . . 



It was all that he could do to escape to the newest hole. . . .



…where he landed on a dining table surrounded by mice with long tails wearing white ties. . . .


In no time at all they put him at ease and he joined their dinner party. . . .



Finally, the youngsters returned from getting the dessert after much noise upstairs, laughing as they exclaimed they’d been chased by the cat which caused Timmy Willie some consternation. . . . 
   

When offered the softest pillow to sleep on, Timmy Willie was sure it smelt of cat and elected to sleep under the fender, safe, albeit uncomfortable. . . .


He was feeling quite miserable the next day.  After a few days Johnny Town-Mouse noticed Timmy Willie was getting thinner and questioned him.  He inquired about where he’d come from.  Timmy Willie told him about his peaceful nest in a sunny bank and all the other lovely things. . . .


They were interrupted by the cat and took refuge in the coal cellar where Johnny Town-Mouse suggested Timmy Willie should return home.  This is when Timmy Willie learned that the hamper was returned, empty, to the farm every Saturday. . . .


So Timmy Willie told all his new friends goodbye and climbed back into the hamper for his ride home. . . .

Johnny Town-Mouse had half-promised to visit Timmy Willie in the country, but as the winter came and went, and Timmy Willie had almost forgotten about his visit to town, who should come walking up his path--none other than Johnny Town-Mouse, carrying his tail to keep it out of the mud. . . .


Feeling rather contrary Johnny Town-Mouse noted that it was a little damp as they sat down to herb pudding. . . .

When Timmy Willie went to fetch more milk, Johnny Town-Mouse was startled by a frightful noise.  It is only a cow, Timmy Willie assured him—nothing to be worried about unless they lie down on you, of course. . . .

When Johnny Town-Mouse was startled by another loud noise Timmy Willie had to explain about the lawn-mower. . . .


Despite all these things Timmy Willie was sure Johnny Town-Mouse would never want to live in the city again.  Why just look at the plentiful food for a little mouse. . . .



Johnny Town-Mouse, however, was not convinced and returned to the city in the next hamper. . . .



Quack!  Ms. Potter said it best:  “One place suits one person, another place suits another person.  For my part I prefer to live in the country, like Timmy Willie.". . . .



Beatrix's 1918 story is based on the Aesop fable, "TheTown Mouse and the Country Mouse."  In her tale the order of the visits between the town mouse and the country mouse are reversed.  This would be the last story for her to paint her illustrations due to her failing eyesight.  She ends the story stating her own preference--country over city.  In 1942 she said, "It sometimes happens that a town child is more alive to the fresh beauty of the country than a child who is country born.  My brother and I were born in London. . .But our descent -- our interest and our joy were in the north country."  You can read more about the background of this story here.

You can listen to Beatrix's version here. . . .

                  

Or you can watch an animated version here. . . .

                   

This is Johnny Town-Mouse's solo in the Royal Ballet performance in the film The Tales of Beatrix Potter . . . .

                   


My practice drawings this month. . . .



This is Beatrix's illustration that I will paint. . . .


I sketched it. . . .

Then painted it. . . .
The way I explain why my mouse's fur does not look like Beatrix's mouse's fur is that my mouse got caught in the rain before he could take shelter under the leaf.

Peter Rabbit's Little Guide to Life shares the lesson learned from today's story. . . .

"A well-mannered host puts his dinner guests at ease, acquaints newcomers with the rest of the company and encourages civil conversation.  Courteous guests should eschew making controversial statements and asking inappropriate questions.  Do not, for example, suggest that field mice are superior to urban rodents."

Did you notice which of Beatrix's illustrations was depicted in the first photo above?

Do you have a preference for the city or the country?

.•*¨`*•. ☆ .•*¨`*•
Take Joy!

12 comments:

  1. My preference would be for the Country. A beautiful post, so uplifting.

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    1. Thank you! I prefer the country, too.

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  2. Loved your painted illustration & his rained on coat looks great!

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    1. Thank you, Sandy. So, which do you prefer? City or country?

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  3. I'm a country mouse living in a kind of city mouse environment. It's more that way than we we first built our home so we've adapted to the changes. I love the life lessons throughout Beatrix Potter's little books. Also her thoughts on appreciation of country life if born in the city. I imagine Miss Potter got her inspiration from William Heelis' law office. We visited this quaint little office full of her illustrations. I also remember going down the street in front of that office by mistake! No traffic allowed. Opps! Those crazy Americans. ♥

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    1. Google maps wouldn't let me go down the street either! Our house feels like it could be in the country--until you notice the traffic noise in the distance and exit our driveway. So on a quiet Sunday morning I can walk about in my woods and open area and pretend I'm a country mouse!

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  4. I forgot to mention how I like the rain soaked mouse you have drawn and water colored! That would be just what he would look like on this rain soaked day. ♥

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    1. Thanks, Martha Ellen! ☔️ Our whole region is getting a good soaking.

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  5. I hadn't heard of this story until your post today, Cathy. But of course, it's Beatrix - so it's too cute for color TV! I just LOVE the way she illustrated her stories. When I was little I used to PORE over my Peter Rabbit books, especially before I could read because I was trying so hard to figure out what was actually going on, and I loved seeing all her animals dressed in "human" clothes, going about their business. I seem to remember looking around outside, expecting to find animals wearing clothes there too. Being by the lake, we had a lot of ducks especially, and of course all our neighborhood pets. I probably asked why they didn't too. LOL. As to your city-country question, definitely a country girl here! Maybe growing up with a Great Lake as my actual backyard pretty much guarantees that, I'm not sure. But then again BOTH my parents were city kids, and my Dad would definitely put himself in the Country column too. He was happy-as-a-clam when he finally got his 9 country acres, with farms in every direction around us. But I think my Mom might say that she was a city girl. She loved all that the city had to offer in the way of shopping, concerts, restaurants etc, and once she became an empty nester, she & a little group of her girlfriends went to New York City every year in December for a weekend. The Christmas lights, the big Radio City Music Hall show, a little shopping on Fifth Avenue. Yep, I think Mom would probably say City Girl. But I love country air, country green & country quiet. PS - another wonderful painting this month. It must be fun practicing "your lesson" when you have such cute "models." 💛

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    1. Thank you, Janet. I AM enjoying sketching Beatrix's characters. Great practice for my own animal stories.

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  6. I was thinking this tale has the feel of an Aesop's Fable about it, and then you told us!
    I am definitely a country mouse, born and bred, although I live in a city ~ but thankfully a city only in name, granted by Royal Charter, and not in size, for it is quite the little village, nestled in the Welsh countryside, as you know. I do not think I could cope with city life at all.
    Your little mouse is quite adorable indeed, sheltering under his big leaf with a delightful strawberry on which to feast.

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    1. Thank you Deborah. Gardeners must live in the country in order to feel fully alive. Visits to the city, for me, can only be tolerated for short periods--like Timmy Willie's visit!

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