“There is no wealth but life.” — John Ruskin

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA That is what the coaster in my little room at Brantwood Lodge said and you may believe it. It is a message we would do well to heed in these days when big corporates and governments put wealth above wellbeing, wealth above even the health of the planet. Natural Philosopher, John Ruskin was a wealthy man but he put forward many of the welfare proposals we have in the UK because he believed the society of his day was too busy making goods and wasting people and he believed in human dignity and potential. He would surely be appalled and fascinated by our world! And I am sure that he would have loved to see the electron-microscope evidence and computer algorithms that prove that “every stone is a mountain in miniature.” Ruskin 1819 – 1900 was interested in everything to the point of nervous exhaution — politics, poetry, art, architecture, music, hear Ruskin’s Rocks played by Dame Evelyn Glennie , shells, botany and all living creatures. He was a nineteenth century renaissance man. But you can read all about Ruskin in lots of elsewheres 🙂

It was my privilege last week to share in a writing retreat in the beautiful setting of Ruskin’s home, Brantwood House at Conniston water in Cumbria.

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Resident Poet Geraldine Green and Pippa Little did us proud with writing prompts and feedback. Good food, good company, good harmony and good weather conspired to make a memorable stay. If ever you get the chance to go there (and there are many courses every year and not just for writers) do!

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The Lake district is a tourist honeypot. The roads are narrowOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand the scenery is more breathtaking than my poor pictures allow but you may get some idea…

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShe’s a beauty! isn’t she? OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Sue and me had a lovely afternoon on the Steam Yacht Gondola — a stunningly restored vessel run by volunteers. You could eat a fried egg off the engine plates 😉

I am totally besotted with this lovely boat. She runs on compressed recycled paper bales.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA She offers gorgeous views of the Lake and mountains
Stop off at The Bluebird Cafe for a bite

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or three 😉 Or order a picnic basket for on the boat. Cream tea anyone?
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Discover Swallows and Amazon’s Island and Wild Cat Island and the place where Donald Campbell met his death in Bluebird.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA If it’s not so nice a day as we got, you can sit in the greatest comfort! And Skipper Jack might even let you steer the boat. Sue couldn’t resist 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA or hoot the whistle.

Besotted I remain. I want to go on her again!

There is so much to see and do at Brantwood! Some walked the fells, some took to the lake either to swim or sail, some simply sat and contemplated the silence and we all enjoyed the house and the course because what could be more inspiring than to write in a schoolroom where rainbows just happen? or you could have a Turner in your bedroom? or bathe in Ruskin’s bath?

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