Tuesday, 19 May 2009

A Sunny Day in May

As the rain blasts against the window and the sheep huddle under the horse chestnut, I thought I’d take us back to the sunshine and optimism of last Monday.

It was one of those rare but sublime days of crystalline light where everything shined with the reflective intensity of a newly scrubbed diamond. It was, quite simply, dazzling. Most of all, it was physically impossible to stay inside. The outside called from the moment I drew open the curtains in the morning.

So after the most cursory attempt at household chores, I was out there, camera in hand, to record the beauty of the hour, and the passage of early Spring into late Spring. Here is what I saw:

Forget-me-nots are a favourite of mine, for their colour, their simplicity and their tenacity.


The acid of euphorbia, the purple and white tulips, the sculptural bud of the allium, and the large leaves of comfrey are set against a mossy dry stone wall.


The view down to the reservoir.


The contrast of shiny dark purple tulips and white sweet scented narcissi in a tub.


Late planted daffodils struggling to keep their pretty heads above the fast-growing loostrife.


'Dingly dell' through which a small stream meanders with run-off water from the hills behind us. It is here that snowdrops flourish in late winter and now the bluebells are just beginning to take over (as the lesser celandine subsides).


This small bright red rhododendron looks a little lost right now, but it was planted to help replace some of the mature ones which we lost (over-zealous chain-saw wielding bloke!) when the dell was cleared (necessary maintenance) in the autumn.


This is the top of Dingly Dell where the stream enters the garden over a stone waterfall. We had the scrubby wild rhododendrons and other undergrowth cleared from around it last autumn and now, during winter, after heavy rains, we can see the torrent from our dining room window.


This is the 'Witch's Face' - can you see it in the stones at the base of the tree trunk? Two slitty eyes, a nose and a crooked mouth. Currently a little cluttered, I'm afraid, by a wood pile which doesn't normally live there and a rather unsightly old petrol can (all part of the autumn cutting and clearing and burning process). This is actually the site of an old fountain. I would love to get it up and running again one day.



This is the very top of the garden which we keep wild, apart from cutting a path through the tall grass. This is also where we have a small vegetable patch, a greenhouse, raspberry canes, blackcurrant bushes, gooseberry bushes and some apple trees. I love it up here.


This is looking back at the main lawn with the cherry blossom and the copper beach looking fresh and splendid at this time of year.


A large tub of tulips adds colour to the terrace and an early-flowering clematis is decorating the wall above.




I suddenly heard a load of bleating and caffuffle, and rushed round to the front of the house, overlooking the lane, just in time to catch sheep rush hour.


You can just see the green bench where I love to have coffee and look at the view. We call it 'Billy's Bench' in memory of N's late father who loved sitting on it on our terrace in Milan, smoking his pipe and contemplating life. I trust he still sits here sometimes now when we are not looking. He was born in Greater Manchester and though he had to move down south after the death of his mother when he was just seven years old, he remained misty eyed about his north-west roots. It is a tragedy that he never lived to know that this is where his eldest son has ended up...


And this is the view that we breathe in.


Having toured the garden, I decided it was time to make a cup of tea, sit on the bench and gird my loins for a phonecall I knew I would find difficult. It started ok, but by the end I was taken over by some hidden and supposedly long buried emotions – the conversation had sparked a load of happy yet painful feelings coming back to me, as I feared it would, and I found myself with tears flowing despite the beauty all around me. To subdue the memories of far away sea shores, oysters, friendship, and simple but complicated love I knew I had to go for a walk – to connect fully with where I am now, the place in which I currently live on that glorious sunny day last week. It felt good to be alone with my thoughts and my camera – simply appreciating the space, the air, the views and nature around me. There is no better tonic than a spring lamb in a green field by a stream on a sunny day in May.












Wherever you may be, if you are having a 'grey day', I hope this may have lifted your spirits a little too.

13 comments:

elizabethm said...

You have a lawn with stripes! I didn't realise you were uber posh like that. Glorious photos. You live in a fabulous place.

Caroline said...

Hello! I've just popped over from Tessa's blog and found your wonderful photographic tour of your garden and beyond. How beautiful - lucky you! Seeing the English countryside like this, at its best, always makes me quite homesick (I currently live in Malaysia)!

Pondside said...

Those lovely photos would be a help on the greyest of days.
Like Elizabethm I was stunned by the stripey lawn - we don't see that much over here! What we do have is a place near town called Dingley Dell. Is that a common placename in your parts?

Faith said...

What a wonderful place you live in. Love the terracotta pot against the stone wall, and the witch's face! I can see her grumpy old thing!

Working mum said...

Thank you. It did. Made me think of the Dingly Dells we knew when I was young. Bluebells are gorgeous, aren't they?

Calico Kate said...

What superb photos, and fantastic views. Beautiful. Fabulous house as well!
CKx

Milla said...

wow Mrs Posh, get you and your garden - and that window!!! WANT! I shoved in some daffodil bulbs I found half rotting in a cupboard in March and they're all flowering away now. Sort of sunny here, the English girl in me says optimistically. Agog to know about phone call now, the village snoop in me says.

pinkfairygran said...

This was lovely and a pleasure to read and look at the photos. I think you are so lucky to be in a fairly isolated and elevated spot, to have the uninterrupted views, the silence must, at times, be deafening. I envy you that as well.

Nutty Gnome said...

Wow - and I though I lived in a wonderful place! It was a great tour and I loved Dingley Dell - there was a Dingley Dell near where I lived in Rotherham as a child ...but it wasn't like yours!!!

I was feeling a bit grey and out of sorts today, but having read your post I feel much better now. Thanks :) (hope you are too!)

Zoë said...

What a fabulous place to live, and what a lovely garden too.

I'd love a dingly dell like yours, I am very fond of woodland spaces with water, and if and when we ever move, it's on my list of must haves!

HER ON THE HILL said...

Hello everyone - and thank you for visiting and for your comments. It is true, I DO live in a beautiful place (if ever it would stop raining for five minutes!)and I am hugely appreciative of that. It was the main reason I was prepared to make the move north 6 years ago.

Elizabeth - oh yes, very posh, don't you know! Blame my husband (the Number Cruncher) for the stripes. His father used to be obsessed, so it's inherited. He's often found out mowing in the dark with a torch on his head! The funniest story is about the lawn mower, but I'll save that for another time...

Caroline - thanks for popping by. Glad I was able to bring you back to Blighty, but apologies for making you homesick!

Pondside - Dingly Dell is just a name I call a wooded dell like this. Have no idea where I got it from. It's just kind of received info...

Faith - delighted you could see the Witch's Face! The thin narrow lips and the pointed little chin...

Working Mum

HER ON THE HILL said...

Hello everyone - and thank you for visiting and for your comments. It is true, I DO live in a beautiful place (if ever it would stop raining for five minutes!)and I am hugely appreciative of that. It was the main reason I was prepared to make the move north 6 years ago.

Elizabeth - oh yes, very posh, don't you know! Blame my husband (the Number Cruncher) for the stripes. His father used to be obsessed, so it's inherited. He's often found out mowing in the dark with a torch on his head! The funniest story is about the lawn mower, but I'll save that for another time...

Caroline - thanks for popping by. Glad I was able to bring you back to Blighty, but apologies for making you homesick!

Pondside - Dingly Dell is just a name I call a wooded dell like this. Have no idea where I got it from. It's just kind of received info...

Faith - delighted you could see the Witch's Face! The thin narrow lips and the pointed little chin...

Working Mum - adore bluebells. When I originally read the house details 'own bluebell wood' rather stood out for me! That, I hasten to add, was, in the great tradition of Estate Agents, A SLIGHT EXAGGERATION!! But I love it all the more for being a little less grand...

CK - thank you so much for your recent visits and kind comments. Good to see you here.

Milla - hey yeah, that's me, Mrs Posh an' all! Not. Am always planting bulbs late. Get tulips in August round here! In fact I plant everything late. I've got some 'early' potatoes chitting which I haven't quite got round to shoving in the ground yet! Trust you to pick up on the phonecall thing - you don't miss a trick, do you girl?! No dust on you.

PFG - thanks for visiting. Indeed, another of the great draws for me of this place was the height and the views. Perspective is all. The peace, yes, that too. So very important for me these days. Although with sheep, cows at every turn, true silence is rare. But the sounds that there are so very natural: birdsong, sheep bleating, cows bellowing. Wonderful.

NG - you DO live in a beautiful place too. I did the tour of yours and it's absolutely lovely. Glad I helped get your spirits up :). And thank you, yes, I feel a lot better too (despite the rain!).

Zoe - hi, thanks for stopping by. I'm with you on woodlands and water. Was in a divine one at Easter down in Sussex where I was brought up and where my parents still are. White anenomes, hazels and a meandering stream. Beautiful. May do a post on it sometime soon. Sadly, our stream, being run-off water, dries up after a dry spell (and usually for most of the summer months - something I never understand since it rains all summer here as well!!).

HER ON THE HILL said...

PS: apologies for double comment - looks a bit self-indulgent! Pressed wrong button before I'd finished replying to you all, then thought I could go back and delete the first unfinished one but for some reason can't. Pathetic. Sorry!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...