Jennie Massie was born in Maryport Cottage hospital in 1943. After living in Blennerhasset for some years her family moved to Newcastle, where she grew up. However, Jennie had already fallen in love with West Cumbria and managed to spend much of her time with her aunt Mabel in Caldbeck.
Her aunt was a great botanist and Jennie recalls their trips onto the fells in search of the rarer plants to be found there. She remembers her aunt’s talent for climbing, which she passed on to her niece. She tells of the herds of fell ponies that roamed the Caldbeck fells.
When Jennie was in her mid-teens her aunt died and she moved her Cumbrian base to her Uncle Wilson Barrow’s farm at Loweswater. Here she recollects the traditions of hill farming, the colours of the hayfield and the concerns of farmers about the effects of the new fertilizers on the fish in the local rivers.
Jennie now lives in Troutbeck, where she still keeps bees and observes the effect that the loss of flowers in the meadows has had on her hives.
“…the fell ponies? Yes I remember them coming down through the village in a great gang and snatching mouthfuls out of gardens and people rushing out and shaking tea towels at them, “Git away! Git away!” Chasing them off. They all went clattering back up the hill.”