Summer sounds of the night

Blenheim Lodge Guest House is quietly situated on a hill top, away from the traffic and busy streets of Bowness-on-Windermere. It is a mere 5-minute walk from our B&B into the town centre; but what a difference it makes in terms of noise pollution. Sitting by my window in the quiet of the night, I noticed an intrusion of sound that seemed to chorus for a few moments before dying off: it was the sound of toads croaking.

I haven’t heard toads croaking since my girlhood in Singapore. We used to visit my maternal grandparents every Saturday night, and I inevitably spent much of my time in their garden playing with my sister, brother and cousins. It was a very large garden by Singapore standards, and was laid to lawn with a number of fruit trees around its perimeter, thereby attracting those insects which toads love to gulp down.

The loud croaking of toads in the garden was comforting in a routine kind of way. It was the sound that accompanied our play in the garden; our conversations and games on the verandah where we sat to cool off and eat our food at times; and, finally, it was the sound that bid us goodnight when we left our grandparents for home after yet another enjoyable visit. Thus, hearing the ‘ribbit, ribbit’ of toads tonight has brought back some pleasant memories.

But there are other natural sounds in the night too that we hear at Blenheim Lodge. Dogs bark as others of their kind go past their territories. One of them, a collie that lives at the far end of a cul de sac can be particularly vocal. In the summer, if and when the farmer brings his herd of cows or flock of sheep to pasture in the fells behind our guest house, we may hear contented moos and baaing in the late evening. One other sound that I enjoy hearing is the hooting of owls at the back of our house.

Sounds in the night always seem amplified when it is particularly dark outside, with no stars or moon to light the way. When I still myself and relax, sometimes this very quietness seems to grow its own sound, and I experience a sort of buzzing in my ears that is not quite a physical noise. It is the same sound I knew as a child in Singapore, as I sat up late at night trying to concentrate on my studies because I had a test the next day.

The Lake District may be very different from the sultry climes of Singapore, and each place has its own native species of flora and fauna to cultivate and protect. However, the sounds of a quiet night seem to me to be basically similar: a rendition of sounds natural to their environment that makes a place feel homely and more special for all that! And last but not least, I do love the sound of silence we get at Blenheim Lodge. It is most conducive to a good night’s sleep!

Blenheim Lodge, a beautifully refurbished guesthouse in Windermere.

Where I live now: Blenheim Lodge, nestling against woodlands and boasting panoramic Lake Windermere views, only a 5-minute walk to the village centre and pier.

‘Blenheim Lodge . . . panoramic Lake views, peace and tranquillity, nestled against acres of beautiful fields and woodlands, in the heart of the English Lake District National Park.’

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Phone: 00 44 (0)15394 43440

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