What the poet planted: William Wordsworth’s garden at Dove Cottage

How apt that this year is a milestone for the poet Wordsworth. It is the 250th anniversary of his birth. Since then, he has been hailed as a pioneering ecologist and is a trailblazer for lovers of nature and country life. Jonathan Bate’s new book on him is even called Radical Wordsworth, claiming that he changed the world. I doubt that, especially having read it.

He is, however, a perfect poet for times of social distancing. He lived in a social bubble with his sister, then also with his wife and children. He self-isolated on long walks in wild, remote landscapes. He seldom broke the six-person limit during his early to middle years. In this voluntary lockdown, he produced most of his greatest poetry.

His poetry on natural landscape and his changing relationship to it too are masterpieces, from “Tintern Abbey” to the unsurpassed “Prelude”. Yet he grew to appreciate gardened landscapes too. In 1805 he wrote to his patron, Sir George Beaumont, after a tour in Scotland, that “painters and poets have had the credit of being reckoned the fathers of English gardening”.

By “gardening” he meant landscape gardening. The Lake District and its peaks, the rolling vistas of Devon, the steep Monmouthshire hills round Tintern Abbey are classic Wordsworth territories, but he also became an authority on man-made landscapes. What about gardens as we understand them, plots of flowers and vegetables?

William Wordsworth, ‘a perfect poet for times of social distancing’
William Wordsworth, ‘a perfect poet for times of social distancing’ © Corbis via Getty Images

In 1806 Beaumont invited Wordsworth to make a winter garden at Hall Farm, Coleorton in Leicestershire. The garden is gone but the long letter survives in which he set out his plans. He specified evergreen trees round a small glade with a central pond in which two fish, silver and gold if possible, would be the “mute inhabitants”, contrasting with the blue sky and green grass.

It sounds rather limited, but he had none of the lovely winter-flowering plants that we now grow from China. He wrote of obeying the “control of good sense . . . to assist Nature in moving the affections”. That movement is a theme in his poetry too.

In later life, he planned plantings at Rydal Mount, his home on Lake Windermere. The modern garden there claims to trace back to his taste, but by then he had a steady income and was less dependent on his own labour. In his hard, early years, did he ever work in a productive start-up, a vegetable garden off which he had to live?

The prime site here is little Dove Cottage in Grasmere, overlooking the Lake District’s road to Keswick. In December 1799, Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy moved in. In 1802 Wordsworth married Mary and fathered three of his five children in the house.

He worked in the small garden with his brother John but, in 1805, John died in a shipwreck. Even so, it was at Dove Cottage that Wordsworth finished his first full text of

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Kate and William host a very famous face in their garden

From Red Online

There are few people who are as instantly recognisable as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, but Kate and William have hosted one such famous face in their garden at Kensington Palace.

Last night, the Cambridges shared three new photos via their Kensington Royal Instagram account.

The pictures captured Kate, William and their three children – Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis – spending time with true national treasure, Sir David Attenborough, in the grounds of their London home.

The first photo is particularly sweet because Charlotte’s reaction to meeting Sir David is just as we imagine ours would be. She is holding her hands to her face and looking incredibly star struck!

While George is playing with a fossilised giant tooth from an extinct shark – a gift from the 94-year-old naturalist and conservationist who excavated the fossil while in Malta in the 1960s.

As the caption explained, Sir David dropped by to watch a special screening of David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet with William. The new Netflix film (out on 4th October) charts his life’s work and the devastating changes to the natural world he has witnessed.

In fact, in the third photo, you can see the pair watching the film on a large cinema screen with red-draped curtains – having swapped director-style personalised chairs. They did so in order to adhere to social distancing measures.

‘The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to share new photographs of their family with @DavidAttenborough,’ the caption reads.

‘The photographs were taken earlier this week in the gardens of Kensington Palace, after The Duke and Sir David attended an outdoor screening of Sir David’s upcoming feature film 🎞️ David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet.

‘With a shared passion for protecting the natural world, they continue to support one another in their missions to tackle some of the biggest environmental challenges our planet faces.’

Just this week Sir David joined Instagram, quickly amassing 4.2 million followers. So far he has posted four times, including sharing the photo with the Duke.

Prince William has met and worked with Sir David on many occasions, including at the World Economic Forum in Davos last year where the Duke interviewed him about the need to act fast to save our world.

Kate revealed recently that George, Charlotte and Louis are huge fans of his TV shows.

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Democrats threaten to impeach William Barr over John Durham Russia probe

Democrats are turning up the heat on William Barr, accusing the attorney general of trying to influence the November presidential election and threatening impeachment after he gave a fiery speech last week lambasting career federal prosecutors.

The chairs of four House committees urged the Justice Department’s internal watchdog to open an “emergency” investigation into whether Mr. Barr is using U.S. Attorney John Durham’s Russia probe as part of an effort to taint the presidential election.

In a letter Friday to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, the four lawmakers said Mr. Barr’s comments and actions could be damaging “to public confidence in the integrity of the DOJ and our democratic process.”

“Attorney General Barr has signaled repeatedly that he is likely to allow DOJ to take prosecutorial actions, make public disclosures, and even issue reports before the presidential election in November,” the lawmakers wrote. “Such actions clearly appear intended to benefit President Trump politically.”

The letter arrived the same day Rep. Steve Cohen, Tennessee Democrat, authored a scathing op-ed calling for Mr. Barr’s impeachment and a day after Democratic senators pleaded for Mr. Horowitz to intervene.

A Justice Department spokeswoman and a spokeswoman for the inspector general’s office declined to comment.

Democrats were rankled by Mr. Barr’s speech marking Constitution Day last week at Hillsdale College, a school with conservative ties.

Mr. Barr accused his Justice Department prosecutors of acting as “headhunters.” He also compared them to preschoolers, decried them as part of the “permanent bureaucracy” and suggested they should be reined in by politically appointed leaders.

The next day, the Democrats launched a three-pronged assault on Mr. Barr. They targeted the Durham probe in particular.

The Durham probe has been digging into the origins of the Russia collusion probe since May 2019 and veered into a criminal investigation five months later. Democrats now worry that Mr. Durham’s team is cooking up an “October surprise” for the presidential race.

Mr. Barr’s political opponents say his public comments about the investigation could violate Justice Department policy if Mr. Durham releases a report or brings indictment within 60 days of Election Day.

Mr. Barr in 2018 authored a report saying politically charged prosecutorial and law enforcement actions must be avoided within 60 to 90 days of Election Day, but Democrats contend Mr. Barr has changed his mind. They cite an interview the attorney general had earlier this year with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

“You don’t indict candidates or perhaps someone that’s sufficiently close to a candidate, that it’s essentially the same, you know, within a certain number of days before an election. But you know, as I say, I don’t think any of the people whose actions are under review by Durham fall into that category,” he said in the interview.

Democrats fear Mr. Barr will try to skirt Justice Department rules by having Mr. Durham issue a report instead of filing criminal charges.

“With potentially devastating consequences for our democracy, Attorney General Barr appears to have changed his position and

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Sneak a Peek at Kate Middleton & Prince William in the Kitchen Together

Kate Middleton and Prince William are quite the pair in the kitchen! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge paid a visit to a famous East London bakery, Beigel Bake, in an effort to highlight businesses supporting their local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a video shared to Instagram Wednesday, William and Kate can be seen wearing red aprons while donning face masks helping the bagel shop with their morning routine.

Beigel Bake, opened in 1977, is a family-run business serving thousands of bagels every day. Before the pandemic, the bakery was open 24-hours — but after having to furlough many of its employees had to cut back the shop’s hours of operation.

The co-owner of the Brick Lane eatery, Amnon Cohen, told the Jewish Chronicle that the royal couple was really nice and that they weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. And Amnon’s son, who also works at the bakery added: “they were very informal, colloquial speaking which was great to see and it was nice to see them out and about.”

The Duke and Duchess appeared to have a real knack for bagel-making. “They were really good,” Cohen’s son continued. They had a light touch.” One of the employees even joked, “you’re after my job.” According to the JC, the bakery was forced to furlough most of its staff earlier in the pandemic after reducing opening hours, but months later, more than half of workers are back.

And the bagel shop was very appreciative of the royals’ help. “We can’t thank @kensingtonroyal enough for their gratitude,” involvement and kindness. We feel truly blessed by all the support during COVID-19 and happy we can provide that Beigel fix ‼️”

Before you go, click here to see photos of Kate Middleton doing regular mom things.

Launch Gallery: All the Best Photos of the Royal Family From the Past 20 Years

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RSA murderer William Bell takes action against Corrections after losing kitchen job amid hostage allegation

William Bell during his court appearances for the RSA murders, in 2001.

Stuff

William Bell during his court appearances for the RSA murders, in 2001.

Triple murderer William Bell is taking legal action against Corrections after allegations that he planned to kidnap a female prison staffer saw him lose his kitchen job.

Bell is serving New Zealand’s longest minimum non-parole period, 30 years, on a life sentence for the murders of William Absolum, Wayne Johnson and Mary Hobson, and the attempted murder of Susan Couch, during an aggravated robbery of the Mount Wellington Panmure RSA in 2001.

Bell had been working towards an NCEA qualification in Auckland Prison’s new state-of-the-art kitchen when he was moved from the role. Stuff understands a former prisoner called Crimestoppers alleging Bell had plotted to take a hostage.

Corrections’ suspicions were further raised after an officer found a note in Bell’s cell with reference to a remote-controlled toy helicopter.

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Bell denies the allegations. Police wouldn’t confirm whether the allegation was the subject of a criminal investigation citing privacy reasons.

Corrections confirmed Bell had been moved to a different type of employment within the prison – understood to be the laundry – but said of the allegation, “there has been no threat to the wider security of the prison and no threat to public safety at any time”.

It’s understood Bell was classed as a low-medium security prisoner but that rating was increased to maximum before being dropped again by Corrections.

Bell filed an application in the High Court at Auckland for a judicial review of the rating before it was reduced, but it’s understood Bell is continuing with the legal action as Corrections hasn’t reinstated him in the kitchen.

The matter will be in court on Monday and Bell will appear remotely. The court has appointed an amicus curiae to assist him.

Up to 50 Auckland Prison inmates work in the kitchen cooking for other inmates, and can work towards gaining an NCEA qualification in hospitality and catering. They work under Corrections staff supervision in the new, modern kitchen, built under the $300m upgrade of the prison, which was finished in 2018.

Bell’s mother, Georgina Tahana, said Bell was extremely disappointed after losing a job he loved. Security classifications can inform parole reports, and the types of rehabilitation programmes available to inmates.

“He was trying, and he was motivated. He was so proud. He was really, really enjoying what he was doing. He would say, ‘so what are you having for lunch, what’s for dinner, here’s what you can do’. I know what it’s like when you want to do something and you want to make a good job of it. I don’t know why (Corrections) did this,” she said.

A security classification is given to prisoners serving a sentence of more than three months, and is meant to convey an escape risk,

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