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A Room with a View: The Samling, Cumbria

Arts & Collections have gathered five recommendations for the places to stay that offer the best “room with a view”. Surprisingly or not, the UK’s Lake District has made it to the list, with The Samling in Windermere.

To quote a bit from the description: “Built in the 1780s, The Samling is a large manor house set in 67-acres of estate grounds, among which there are several stone cottages… There are just 11 rooms in the hotel; only five are in the main house, and the rest are suites in the cottages. All are named after the local dialect for counting sheep – Yan (one), Tyan (two), Tethera (three), and so on… Breakfast in bed is a house speciality, so unless you ask otherwise it will automatically be brought to your bedside.” Furthermore, you can explore the environs on foot, horseback or bike, particularly Troutbeck and Hawkshead, as well as Grasmere and Kentmere. If you cannot walk back to the hotel, the staff will pick you up; and you can indulge in a seasonal menu, an impressive wine list, and the most delicious tea in a drawing room. The staff note that The Samling is a hotel in the country, not a stuffy country-house hotel, hence you are expecting a much warmer and relaxed welcome.

For booking details, visit Arts & Collections. I’d love to stay in their dark-blue bedroom.

Last time I visited Lake District was in January 2006. With my ex-family I stopped in Windermere; we had a meal, made some purchases, and drove back to Manchester. I cannot claim to have been all over the Lake District, but I did visit a few places, if always by car. It is true, however, that Windermere and Grasmere are among the most beautiful spots on the Lakeland map. I highly recommend that you visit them, and if you can stay at The Samling, I am sure it will be one of the most memorable trips. And hopefully, to entice you even more, below is a slideshow of my photos taken between 2002 and 2006. Note: they were all shot on film, I didn’t yet have a digital camera then.


Kodak Is No More, But Photos Are Still There

The sad news about Kodak just shows how easy it is to get swept by “everything going fine” and not to notice that the world has changed and gone in a completely different direction. Anyway, the photos are there, and The Guardian called for our Kodak moments to share. Before 2007 all my photos were taken by Kodak and Konica cameras, and even today I still don’t own an SLC. I blogged some of the photos previously, but it’s such a good opportunity to remind myself – and you – about the times when I had to wait before the photos were printed and then I had to scan them. It was a pain, but knowing it’s no more is sad.

Rastorguevo 51. Rastorguevo 6

Rastorguevo is, strictly speaking, a small village that people pass as they travel by Aeroexpress on their way to the Domodedovo Airport. It’s only 10 minutes of train travel away from where I live, and 2000s saw the reconstruction of the monastery and the church. My mother and I used to go there on weekends when I was a little girl, we’d usually visit two shops, one that sold everything, from stationery through clothes to furniture; and another that was a village-format version of B&Q.

View a full Rastorguevo set.

2. Dubrovsky

Dubrovsky 9Dubrovsky is another small village easily accessible from my district by bus. The Gardening Institute is located there, and the river is quite popular. Naturally, people used to go there for swimming and sunbathing. Sadly, as our visit there in October 2010 showed, things have changed dramatically. The Institute has practically closed, and on the opposite bank of the river sprung a quasi-elite settlement, and cars are driving up and down the sloppy roads all the time.

View a full Dubrovsky set.


Big Ben: A Study
Big Ben
St Dunstan's Church
St. Dunstan’s Church


St Paul's Cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral
Cleopatra's Needle
Cleopatra’s Needle


Bond St. A View from the Charing Cross Arcade
Bond St

4. My first visit to London occurred in April 2004, and I will never forget those two weeks. This isn’t the moment to recap how I felt and what I did. Maybe, had I visited London during my first ever visit to England, my attitude would be different. I look at these pictures, and I see they’re not the usual touristy type of photos. Apparently, the moments of living and walking in London in those April days, especially during Easter, are still very vivid. These are also the photos I’m glad to call mine because they are good – and given the technology that produced them, they certainly say something about me and my aptitude as a photographer.

View a full London 2004 set.


The View from the Millenium Bridge
London and the Thames from the Millenium Bridge

5.Last time I went to London with a Kodak camera was in March 2005. It looks like I didn’t scan all the photos, as there were definitely some from The Globe theatre. Anyway, during all my visits I rarely photographed the Thames, so this is a “rare” photo taken from the Millenium Bridge.

View a full London 2005 set.

6. And finally, the Lake District. I do actually miss England, and I’d happily go to visit Lakeland. There was a flying visit to Carlisle in 2010, and I visited Shap Wells in 2004, but in all my visits there (by car) I never went further than Windermere and Grasmere. I’d gladly go to Keswick.

View a full Lake District set.


Lake District 56

Lake District 6

Lake District 30

Lake District 48

Lake District 60

Lake District 26


Lake District 33

Autumn Signs (Guillaume Apollinaire)

Autumn in Lake District
Autumn in Lake District, Cumbria

I am bound to the King of the Sign of Autumn
Parting I love the fruits I detest the flowers
I regret every one of the kisses that I’ve given
Such a bitter walnut tells his grief to the showers
My Autumn eternal O my spiritual season
The hands of lost lovers juggle with your sun
A spouse follows me it’s my fatal shadow
The doves take flight this evening their last one.

Je suis soumis au Chef du Signe de l’Automne
Partant j’aime les fruits je déteste les fleurs
Je regrette chacun des baisers que je donne
Tel un noyer gaulé dit au vent ses douleurs
Mon Automne éternelle ô ma saison mentale
Les mains des amantes d’antan jonchent ton sol
Une épouse me suit c’est mon ombre fatale
Les colombes ce soir prennent leur dernier vol.

Guillaume Apollinaire, Alcools.

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