A Dutch couple who are social media ambassadors for the Lake District were treated to Cumbrian hospitality here – and met Wordsworth for the first time.
Rob and Cobie te Nijenhuis have been visiting the Lakes every summer for 26 years, but until this year they had never been to Wordsworth’s home Rydal Mount.
So when Rydal Mount’s curator Peter Elkington became a friend on Twitter, he decided to invite the couple to see the house, and sample a traditional Cumbrian cream tea.
Rob, a retired banker from Hummelo, is a prolific tweeter and spends much of his time online telling the world of the loveliness of the English Lakes. A passionate fan of fine dining and a good cook, he also posts photos of food from top restaurants. His enthusiasm has won him a strong online following in the Lakes and this summer he and Cobie set out to meet some of their Twitter friends.
“The Lake District is the most beautiful place in the world,” he said. “We love England, but especially the Lakes.”
Rob and Cobie, who works as a commercial publisher, have stayed in Little Langdale every holiday, originally at Wilson Place farm and then at Damson View cottage.
“When we first came over, we headed to Windermere, but it was too crowded. So was Ambleside. At Elterwater there were no vacancies. It was late in the afternoon when we saw the B&B sign in Little Langdale. We never stayed anywhere else after that.”
The couple became friends with the owners, the Birkett family, but in recent years have found an extended family of friends on social media, and this time dined at the Cottage in the Wood at Braithwaite, L’Enclume at Cartmel, and Dodds in Ambleside, before sampling scones and cream at the Rydal Mount tea room.
They were given a tour of the house but confessed to knowing very little about William Wordsworth. “He’s not very well known in the Netherlands. We’ve seen his grave in Grasmere, and we hear he wrote a poem about daffodils,” said Rob.
Peter Elkington said: “We have admired Rob’s enthusiasm for the Lakes, and we were delighted that he accepted our invitation. And now he does know considerably more about our famous poet.”