The Beatrix Potter House, ‘Hilltop‘, located in the Lake District, is indeed found atop a large hill.

I wanted to rent bikes to explore the heralded north country. And the family indulged me for a day. Auntie joined us. Three adult bikes, one child tag-along, and a trailer for the boys.

‘Have you ever fancied the view from the saddle but never fancied the burn in your legs? Do you want the hills to come to you in an almost effortless fashion while the beautiful lakeland scenery unfolds before you?’ Why, yes! We decided to hire the advertised electric bicycles for the trek to Hilltop.

But, even with the battery’s help, pulling an extra 100 pounds of boy, lunches, and trailer behind me, was a challenge.

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I was shaking and clammy, and only part way up the hill, when it started raining – a proper drenching. All part of a British holiday, right?

I just kept pedaling! L was cheering from the protection of the covered trailer, ‘Go Mum!’ And, ‘Keep ridin’ it, Rach!”

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Bryant and E were no less comfortable than I.

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And Auntie was on the camera.

Despite the rain and cold, the struggle and the sweat, our memory of Hilltop remains a sweet experience.

At one point during the ride, I could see the light of the sun to my right, and I dared a glance. I cried. Maybe it was the burning in my thighs or the rain dripping down my face, but just as likely it was the grandeur of the view. I noted in my memory, and later in my journal, the magnificence of the Lake District.

“Believe there is a great power silently working all things for good” (Beatrix Potter, 1866-1943).

I imagined that I too could write beautiful stories with so much ‘good’ to inspire.

And Miss Potter’s sweet farmhouse on the hill was serene – mouseholes and all. The children spoke so reverently in the home and the gardens, sensing something beautiful about the property, as well.

Her desire to preserve the farms in the area is a fascinating tale, in and of itself – but for another day.

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Not long after we arrived atop the hill, we started a much easier descent back to the ferry. We stopped to enjoy meat pasties and hot chocolate in Sawrey Village, paid the 40 pence to take the children to the restrooms, and then boarded a train at Windermere for home.

We returned to our London flat late. And settled ourselves for a well-deserved rest. Sometime in the middle of the night, both boys found their way into our bed. Before Matthew’s death, Bryant and I adhered to strict bed boundaries. We were not unmerciful, but if the children needed us, we would cuddle them in their own bed, not ours. Those first few months after we lost Matthew, Bryant and I needed to hold the children, as much as they wanted to be held. And our bed has, ever since, been open for visits from our sleepy-eyed ankle-biters.

 

The following December, E had a brilliant idea for Autie’s Christmas gift:

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“So she will never forget our adventures in the Lake District!”