Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Peter Rabbit - re-imagining a timeless classic

My childhood came flooding back. Fond memories of mum and dad reading the Tales of Beatrix Potter to me as I listened in wonder at the adventures of Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddleduck, Squirrel Nutkin and all their friends. I remember always hoping Peter would escape from Mr McGreggor even though I had heard the story a hundred times before. 
Benjamin, Peter & Lily
Sitting in Zeffirellis cinema in Ambleside over 30 years later the magic was still there. Peter Rabbit has been made into a BBC series for CBeebies but, whilst it is aimed at children, I simply love it! I was lucky enough to be invited to the premier to watch the first three episodes. The animation is superb and the scenery is developed from over 3,000 photos taken of the local area so you can see Esthwaite Water come alive and even Peter Rabbit’s burrow is based on the roots of a real tree near Sawrey. 

As Peter and his friends Benjamin and Lily dodge danger, make new friends, escape wily foxes, get into mischief and have adventure and fun in the process, you can’t help but get swept up in the imagination of it all.  Even the episode titles intrigue you with “The Tale of the Radish Robber” and “The Tale of the Greedy Fox”. Lily is not in the original Potter books but is a welcome addition with her pink dress and sense of bravery and alongside her are the old favourites including Mrs Tiggiwinkle, Jemima Puddleduck, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail.

Beatrix Potter was inspired by the beauty and majesty of the Lake District and it is clear in this animation that the writers and creators have been equally inspired. The CBeebies series will ensure a whole new generation fall in love with this beautiful place and the colourful characters Potter brought to life. I rather suspect it will capture the hearts of a lot of older generations too – I for one am going to be glued to it!

Peter Rabbit is a co-production between Silvergate Media, Penguin UK and CBeebies. The executive producers are Sarah Legg for CBeebies and Paula Rosenthal for Silvergate Media. The new animation was directed by David McCamley from Brown Bag Productions and the writers are Nick Ostler and Mark Huckerby.
The new series can be seen on CBeebies from Monday 3 June.

A Peter Rabbit biscuit at the premier
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Thursday, 9 May 2013

A few more natural wonders of the Lake District

To avoid a blog as long as Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” I have been selective and will start with....

Easedale Tarn
Easedale Tarn – a deservedly popular destination reached easily from Grasmere. The last time I was there I came via the summits of Silver Howe and Blea Rigg on a beautiful sunny day. The emerald green grass sloped from the surrounding fells into the crystal blue tarn that glittered in the sunshine and tiny fish swam just beneath the surface. It was a day for paddling so that is just what I did – wading out to a large rock and watching the world go by. Easedale Tarn is all the more worth visiting for the walk alongside....

Sourmilk Gill
Sourmilk Gill – which epitomises all that is right with rainfall as it’s at its best when the cascades are gushing fiercely over the dark rocks and crashing in a cacophony to the water below. The famous waterfalls of Aira Force and Stock Ghyll Force may be beautiful and attract people from far and wide but for me, the cascades of Sour Milk Gill top the bill.

From waterfalls to caves – starting with the Priesthole Cave on the higher slopes of Dove Crag above Brothers Water. It is a cave you can genuinely describe as having “jaws” as the jagged rocks around look like the jaws of a shark. The views across the fells to Ullswater are superb and there is a book for visitors to sign inside (and sometimes even a chocolate bar to provide sustenance as it is a popular place to wild camp). My last visited ended up with me doing a rather elegant but unplanned roly poly but that's another story...
Priesthole cave

Inside Rydal cav

Rydal Caves are at a much lower level and within easy reach of Rydal Water. I found these on a low-level walk about ten years ago and have returned on several occasions, most recently with my mum. The largest cave is the type of cave that fairy tales are written about. It is dark and vast with a pool of water inside that has stepping stones across it and every word and movement echoes. I can’t wait to take my nephews to see them on their next visit.

I am addicted to climbing mountains so once again I had to include one. This time Seathwaite Fell. The lowest fell you can get to from the hamlet of Seathwaite in Borrowdale. Whilst others head to the giddy heights of Scafell Pike or Great Gable from the same destination, much less effort gets you to the summit of Seathwaite with its stunning views across Borrowdale and Derwent Water to Skiddaw and Blencathra and the intimate views of the more adventurous fells that surround it. Never underestimate the lower fells – they can be just as captivating as the higher ones.

The view from Seathwaite Fell
Once again, this is subjective but that is the beauty and joy of the Lake District - there are so many wonderful places to choose from. If you have others then please share them.

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