Isel on a Sunday Afternoon

One of the benefits of looking for a property to buy is that we visit places we’ve never had cause to visit before.

One Sunday afternoon, Best Beloved and I tootled along the western edge of the Lake District National Park, seeing what we could see.

There were lovely views across West Cumbria toward the Irish Sea, the Solway Firth and Scotland.  Along the feet of the fells were hidden hamlets, quiet rural views, and winding waterways.

Our northernmost stop for the day was the Church of St. Michael and All Angels in Isel. The sign states that the present church dates from c1130, and is built on a Pre-Norman site.

It isn’t a grand building, but it is a welcoming one.

Settled into the curving bank of the River Derwent, the church is surrounded by impressive sandstone monuments and gravestones.

A beautiful resting place for generations of local families.

Swallows nest in the porch and swoop about catching insects.  The body of believers at St. Michael & All Angels have kindly provided benches for resting and reflecting, and watching the swallows.

Just to the north and a little further downriver, Isel Hall dominates the ridge above.

Known for its c1400 Pele Tower and sunken gardens, the hall is a private home and has very limited opening times.

Victorian renovations didn’t destroy the clean Norman simplicity of Isel’s church.  Nor have recent floods caused irreparable damage.

We’ll have to plan a second visit to Isel, in the spring.

Rumour is that the graveyard will be covered in bright, twirling daffodils. A sight to see.


Herdy Girl



Bumblebee Rescue

Best Beloved and I often find struggling bumblebees on garden pathways and the lawn. They may be exhausted by flying in the wind, have worked too hard without rest or refreshment, they may be sick, or even too cold. (If their wings are ragged, they may simply be very old.)

The quickest way to revive a struggling bumblebee is with a sugary solution. (Never a honey solution, though. Bees can catch viruses if they eat honey from other hives.)

While enjoying a lovely spot of tea outside at Syke Farm Tearoom, BB and I took note of a large bumblebee’s drunken descent to our table. When it landed, it remained immobile.

Emergency rations were called for. A handy sugar cube with a couple of drops of water was quickly administered.

Ms. Bumble liked it.

She liked it very much!

Why do we think she’s a female? Well, she’s a White-tailed Bumblebee. White-tailed queens and workers have a pure white tail and two lemon-yellow bands. The males have more yellow hair on the abdomen, and yellow tufts on the head and face. Males have longer antennae, too.

When she’d lapped up her fill, Ms. Bumble took it upon herself to make friends with BB.

She climbed up and had a bit of a walkabout on his hand.

So comfortable and full was she, that a nap was in order. She found a warm spot, folded down her antennae and nodded off.

Absolutely adorable.

Luckily, we had plenty of time to sit in the sun and relax with Ms. Bumble before she buzzed off to the autumnal blooms of Syke Farm.

BB, the Bumblebee Whisperer.  He has me charmed, too.


Herdy Girl

P.S. We cleaned up the sugary puddle before leaving.

Focusing on…


Beautiful, exhausting, endearing, numbing, wonderous, uncertain, inspiring, ugly, finite.

And so much more.

We can walk in the midst of loveliness, and forget to enjoy it. Not see it. Or not even bother to walk.

How foolish. Wasteful even.

One Herdy Girl, and a faithful, happy dog – just taking a brisk morning walk.

Refocusing, recalculating, recalibrating.

I remember my dad teaching me that when riding a bicycle, we tend to drive toward where we’re focusing.  Same with a life.

This Herdy Girl needed nudging, needed to stop navel-gazing, needed to mind where she was steering.

As paraphrased by E. Peterson, “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”

My focus today? Gratefulness, companionship, faith, health.

What have you been focusing on?


Herdy Girl

What’s the Buzz?

Observant followers will have noted that there have been no Herdy Girl posts for three weeks.

There’s a simple explanation. (Though, in the midst of things, it feels complicated.) The beautiful place we’ve come to call home has been put up for auction; the hammer falls tomorrow.

It was a shock.

And now we’ve less than two months to buzz around and find a new place to live.  Thus the lack of posts.

Before you ask why we are not going to bid on the property ourselves, let me show you the specific Lake District location.

That arrow? It is pointing to our not-for-much-longer abode. Stunning, isn’t it?

Who wouldn’t want to live in a postcard view? That’s why we forewent jumping on the property ladder and risked renting here by Crummock Water, in spite of flooding and an old house with all sorts of issues.

That said, a property such as this is well beyond our current budget, especially when you factor in the difficulty of getting any sort of mortgage for a house that floods.

All that said – It has been worth it.

The caring community of Buttermere, Loweswater and Lorton have made it doubly so.  (When they heard of our plight, a call went out for any options to keep us in the community. My heart swells thinking about it. I love these people, and this place.)

As getting on the property ladder is a huge endeavour, this Herdy Girl will be heading back into full-time employment, as well.

It’s a lot of change. Thank God Best Beloved and I have got each other.

We are determined to maintain a positive attitude, to remember to live in the moment, and to remind one another that God’s got this.

Like bees in the blossoms, we will draw from this beauty some sustenance, some sweetness. And I will share what I glean with you here on Herdy Girl.

If you’re a praying person, please remember us in your prayers – both for the right home and the right job for this next chapter. If you are not a praying person, please hope for the best for BB and I as we travel a new, and possibly bumpy, patch of road.

Bee happy.


Herdy Girl