Come with me. Come with me into the walled garden. It doesn’t belong to us – it’s our landlord’s. But it’s his joy, and his joy to share it with us. We can see it – look – from our kitchen window.
So whenever the weather’s on our side, as it is today, that’s where we’ll be.
Where shall we sit? Here? Right in the centre, where there’s space for friends as well?
Maybe here at the side.
Or tucked away at the very back.
Here there is utter peace: the flowers and shrubs, the main events changing now from high summer to autumn: the bees, fuzzing and humming in the background: the background birds – perhaps a skein of geese will fly squawking overhead on their way to our local nature reserve, then onward, onward to their winter residence.
It’s our magical place. It’s where all thoughts of the dire state that our country is in are banished, and we live in the moment.
We’ll still be able to get our weekly bunch of flowers come the Revolution (Brexit). We shan’t need to worry about just-in-time-deliveries via the Dutch flower trade. We’ll carry on just as we are, strolling to The Secret Garden, just outside Ripon, to choose a bunch of just-picked seasonal blooms.
On Saturdays, as you arrive there, you’ll find a somewhat retro caravan – this one.
Look inside, and there are jugs and buckets crammed with bunches of flowers chosen and gathered by the Secret Garden’s owner, Victoria Ramshaw. Every bunch includes a mix of varieties that complement and enhance each other. Every bunch was picked the previous day and plunged into water overnight to be ready to arrange, tied with raffia and presented in a twist of brown paper. Pick one up… then another …. it’s hard to choose….
Now you’ll need to go and pay. Wander up the garden to Victoria’s hut, and enjoy a chat with her. Listen to the River Laver as it tumbles and jostles alongside. Watch the butterflies and listen to the bees. Spend time looking at the flowers. Enjoy the moment, even though the garden’s now just past its best and a bit end-of-termish. Take your flowers home, and as you look at them, you’ll remember the pleasure you had choosing them, and taking a few moments out from the daily round.
It sure beats cramming a bunch of chrysanthemums into your trolley as you do your weekly shop.
In this most dreadful of weeks for British politics, I think we all need a distraction. Just now, this is it. Back in France, one of the regular pleasures of our late summer was a visit to Le Jardin Extraordinaire, open for just a few days every year as the holiday period drew to an end. Let’s go there now, courtesy of a post I wrote in 2013 …..
September 4th, 2013
Le Jardin Extraordinaire, 2013 version
Le Jardin Extraordinaire is always comfortingly familiar, yet always surprising. If you’ve been once, you’ll go again, on this one weekend of the year, to enjoy strolling round this very special wild, yet bewitchingly tamed garden. The members and volunteers of Artchoum have been working for months to create this space, just for your pleasure.
You’ll want to explore the riverside walk and exclaim at the enchanted place they’ve created with stones, trees and flower petals. You’ll go on to wander through the leafy tunnels and arches tumbling with gourds. Then you’ll amble off into the woods, where more fantastical experiences await you.
You’ll go in through a flower-filled meadow…
… then this …
…don’t forget to glance upwards.
Who’s this in the water?
An enchanted river.
A flower garden in the river.
Arches in the river.
Doorman at the river’s edge.
Last glimpse of the riverside walk.
A tunnel of gourds, topped by a sunflower.
Wandering through the gourd tunnel.
..and a little further..
… and further still …
Etched gourd in the garden.
Shower bath anyone?
View past a woven sculpture.
Look among the trees….
View from the top.
Bison on the hill.
Bison close up.
Bison’s stamping ground.
…. and their puppets…
Storks at the refreshment area.
People come from miles around to explore, smile and wonder at this very special place. But although you won’t be alone, there’s a relaxing feeling of space and of peace too. You’ll go away refreshed, invigorated and joyful.
Click on any image to view full size.
An entry for Jo’s Monday Walk. It’s an old walk Jo. But sometimes the old ones are the best. And I hadn’t ‘met’ you then.
It will come as no surprise to regular readers that we’ve been on another demo: a Flash Demo – one of the many that sprung up around the country as a direct and horrified response to Boris Johnson’s decision to ask the Queen to Prorogue Parliament: here’s an explanation.
If you’re reading this on Saturday, we’ll be in York, demonstrating again, alongside thousands of other in Leeds, and cities all over the country.
On Thursday, we heard from politicians from different parties, cooperating to fight together. We heard from campaigners. We heard from those from mainland Europe who’d chosen Britain as their home. We heard from individuals terrified of the effect of No Deal on their own health or that of a loved one, dependent on prescription drugs. And best of all we heard from children, some still in primary school: informed, passionate, articulate speeches. Those children, still a long way from voting age, are our future.
This time, these rallies aren’t about Brexit. Not really. They’re about our Democracy.
Here are photos.
Shaffaq Mohammed, Yorkshire & Humber MEP (LibDem)
Louise Houghton, South and West Yorkshire for Europe.
11 year old Laura.
A very impassioned 10 year old.
But I’ll leave you with this one, snapped through the window of a barbers’ shop in Leeds. You might not like the language. Gotta approve the sentiments.