My Backyard is a blog about remarkable people and places.

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Seeking out the Thin Places

Seeking out the Thin Places

Posted by admin on Sep 3, 2015

Anyone visiting or living in the Lake District, or any other place of natural beauty for that matter; and who are sensitive and at peace within themselves and their environment will have on occasion sat on a rock, a bench, a tussock; looked out across a valley and in...

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Austerity Chicken with Colin Marshall

Austerity Chicken with Colin Marshall

Posted by admin on Jul 1, 2015

    These are austere times for many families. The ‘tightening of belts’ is squeezing the life out of many of our communities. Minimum wage jobs, zero hours and short-term contracts, flexi-hours; coupled with welfare cuts which has reduced government...

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Divisions

Divisions

Posted by admin on May 25, 2015

      The Solway Firth forms a natural border between England and Scotland. Over ten miles wide at its mouth, it narrows to a patchwork of marshland and estuaries where the rivers Esk and Eden flow into the sea, and which can be forded at low tide...

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Taking it for Granted

Taking it for Granted

Posted by admin on Apr 29, 2015

      You’d have thought that freedom of choice and expression along with access to information, were not just a right, but a basic necessity. Like eating and breathing they are the things that allow us to think and function within society. We take it...

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The Longest Tea break

The Longest Tea break

Posted by admin on Feb 1, 2014

  Seathwaite Tuff is a silica rich white volcanic rock that formed in a crater lake over a hundred million years ago. It appears as a two metre wide seam fifteen hundred feet above ground level in the Langdale and Borrowdale ranges in south Cumbria. It has similar...

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When the lake drops, Neptune rises

When the lake drops, Neptune rises

Posted by admin on Sep 27, 2013

    I met Michael Webster at Dove Cottage around twelve years ago. He and poet Paul Farley recorded the nocturnal noises within the house and using a computer program, transcribed the sounds into individual words for their exhibition and installation called...

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Wrecks

Wrecks

Posted by admin on Sep 20, 2013

“The common people ther do pray for shippes which they sie in danger. They al sit downe upon their knees and hold up their handes and say very devotedly. Lord, send her to us, God send her to us. Seeing them upon their knees, and their hands joined, you do think that...

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High Tides and Shifting Sands

High Tides and Shifting Sands

Posted by admin on Sep 4, 2013

    High Tides and Shifting Sands The tidal bore that emerges from the Lune Deeps at the mouth of Morecambe Bay is said to run faster than a galloping horse, flooding the channels that cut through the sand silently and rapidly in minutes. It’s deceptive and...

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Of Sorcery . . .

Of Sorcery . . .

Posted by admin on Aug 27, 2013

Of Sorcery… It was on a Lammas night, When corn rigs are bonie, Beneath the moon’s unclouded light, I held away to Annie: The time flew by, wi tentless heed, Till ‘tween the late and early; Wi’ sma’ persuasion she agreed To see me thro’...

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Now you see it…?

Now you see it…?

Posted by admin on Aug 20, 2013

Pareidolia is a Greek word for the psychological condition that causes us to see faces in objects. The phenomena originates from an inbuilt survival instinct, activated at birth that allows us to recognise the human face in a fraction of a second and determine that...

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The Italian Job

The Italian Job

Posted by admin on Aug 14, 2013

The twisted road that snakes itself over the pass isn’t for the faint hearted. Impassable for much of the winter it’s a gravity-defying ascent that tests your engine and your nerve as you make your way up and over the summit. From there the valley of Eskdale with its...

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The Lost World of Langdale

The Lost World of Langdale

Posted by admin on Aug 6, 2013

He said he’d show me dinosaurs, but with visibility down to just a few feet, there could’ve been brontosaurus having a garden party and we wouldn’t have known anything about it… Leo Walmsley lives at the Old Dungeon Ghyll: a climbers’ bar and hotel in Great Langdale....

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A Brief History of the Alehouse

A Brief History of the Alehouse

Posted by admin on Aug 1, 2013

  ‘You can’t sit there.’ I’d just got a pint at the Corporation and was about to sit down in the corner chair. ‘Why not?’ I said a bit perplexed. ‘That’s Albert’s seat’ ‘There’s no-one here’ I said pointing to the empty bar. ‘Never mind about that, and less of...

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A Subterranean World

A Subterranean World

Posted by admin on Jul 23, 2013

    If from the public way you turn your steps Uip the tumultuous brook of Greenhead Gill.   No habitation there is seen but such As journey thither find themselves alone With a few sheep, with rocks and stones, and kites That overhead are sailing in...

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A long way from Kingston

A long way from Kingston

Posted by admin on Jul 16, 2013

Our taste for exotic and alternative food isn’t new. Curry was a popular dish in this country in the late eighteenth / early nineteenth century: the first vegetarian restaurants also opened around that time, but it didn’t last; going out of fashion in the Victorian...

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Michael and the Great Feast

Michael and the Great Feast

Posted by admin on Jul 10, 2013

      Michael Mitchell studied history at Southampton University, before moving to Grasmere in 1993, where he helps manage the Wordsworth gift shop and works in finance. His interests are vernacular architecture, classic rail journeys and social...

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Statistically Speaking

Statistically Speaking

Posted by admin on Jul 4, 2013

http://markwardpoet.co.uk/backyard/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/TEMPUS_F_AMENDED-Converted.mov.m4v Over 40% of the houses in Grasmere are holiday homes, most of which sit empty through the Winter, In Elterwater it’s around 85%: no longer a living village, just obstacles...

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Even the cows love it

Even the cows love it

Posted by admin on Jun 27, 2013

    Each generation makes the landscape its own. We are all of us simply temporary managers of the places we inherit or buy – It’s all ephemeral. For years now, farmers have been having a hard time. Victims of supermarket price wars and government...

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Dem bones, dem bones . . .

Dem bones, dem bones . . .

Posted by admin on Jun 16, 2013

  The searchlight followed her, and a shudder ran through all who saw her, for lashed to the helm was a corpse, with drooping head, which swung horribly to and fro at each motion of the ship. No other form could be seen on deck at all. A great awe came on all as...

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Bachelors Buttons and Alfred’s Cakes

Bachelors Buttons and Alfred’s Cakes

Posted by admin on Jun 16, 2013

Sally Hall plays the clarinet: she’s also my boss who works as the Senior Guide at Dove Cottage where she deals with the day to day running of the house and gardens – where we often find ourselves working alongside each other.. I tend to the grass, trees, paths and...

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The Cloths of Gold

The Cloths of Gold

Posted by admin on Jun 4, 2013

  Traditionally the Lake District’s economy was sustained by farming and heavy industry. Wool, heavy metals, slate, coal and graphite were processed here and exported around the country and beyond, but these days, for the most part, tourism has replaced these...

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A Sorry End

A Sorry End

Posted by admin on May 29, 2013

    John Dixon was a publisher, author and historian who, in the spirit of notable Blackburn writers Alfred Wainwright and Jessica Lofthouse created a series of historic walks through the Lancashire countryside that have engaged and delighted countless people...

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Blackburn Blues

Blackburn Blues

Posted by admin on May 15, 2013

I’ve just returned from Blackburn: my hometown and a place we’ll revisit a number of times over the course of this blog. My parents, grandparents and generations of my family lie in its cemeteries.  Tim and Jules, my eldest and younger brothers live there along with a...

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The only thing missing were the Grizzlies

The only thing missing were the Grizzlies

Posted by admin on May 10, 2013

    Catherine Kay is the Education Officer at the Wordsworth Trust. She read Romantic literature at St Andrews and has an extensive knowledge along with a love and passion for her subject. Away from the museum she immerses herself in popular culture; reads...

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Dorothy and the President

Dorothy and the President

Posted by admin on May 8, 2013

    Pamela Woof is a scholar and author, President of the Wordsworth Trust and widow of Dr Robert Woof whose energy and vision helped create one of the world’s great literary museums here in Grasmere. She’s also one of the brightest people I know; and...

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Golden Wonder winds the church clock and puts up the flag.

Golden Wonder winds the church clock and puts up the flag.

Posted by admin on May 2, 2013

For me one of the things quintessentially British is the parish church: as communal hubs for millennia they, even in our secular age, link us to the past in a way that few other things can, and while I’m not particularly religious I appreciate their importance and...

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A Right Royal Bird

A Right Royal Bird

Posted by admin on Apr 23, 2013

Rick Martin is a Romany gypsy who blends his own fine teas and hires out rowing boats from his lakeside kiosk Faeryland, which is set in a sheltered inlet beyond the village. It is the most picturesque of places and I’ve wiled away many an idle moment there. The bay...

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Cairistiona’s Rock and Wildlife on Ulva

Cairistiona’s Rock and Wildlife on Ulva

Posted by admin on Apr 17, 2013

Annalie Talent studied literature, writes poetry and works on the education programmes at the Ashmolean and Jane Austen’s house at Chawton. Her interests are eighteenth/early nineteenth century paintings and ceramics and photographing wildlife (mainly sheep). We’ve...

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In Search of the Golden Eagle with Mountain Man

In Search of the Golden Eagle with Mountain Man

Posted by admin on Apr 4, 2013

“In Search of the Golden Eagle” with Mountain Man Stewart Reekie, (mountain man) is a dry stone waller, a climber and keen bird watcher. Most of his days are spent out on the fells and it’s fair to say he knows these mountains better than most: so when he...

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Making Black Pudding

Making Black Pudding

Posted by admin on Apr 3, 2013

Donald Woodburn is a local builder who built the Wordsworth museum here in Grasmere and completed major restoration work on Dove Cottage in the 70s. My job of maintaining Dove Cottage and the grounds has required me to consult with him regularly over the years and his...

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