A honeymoon in the Valley Gardens

We’ve been back in England exactly a fortnight.  In many ways it’s been so easy to slip back into English life.  We’re quite fluent in the language and cultural mores, after all.  In other ways, it’s been a honeymoon, despite our difficulties in re-registering , re-taxing and insuring the car, which continues to be a frustrating, irksome, time-consuming and frankly ridiculous task.

We’re rediscovering sights and experiences with the eyes of a lover, both blind to faults and delighted by characteristics which may one day exasperate rather than charm.

For the time being, we’re discarding the pleasures of French food in favour of a cheeseboard that includes a sharp, crumbly tasty Lancashire or a creamy blue Cropwell Bishop.  When buying vegetables, we have to include handsful of purple sprouting broccoli, still unknown in southern France.  We’ve gone native.

Purple sprouting broccoli at Masham Market
Purple sprouting broccoli at Masham Market

We’re going back to old haunts. For instance, having gone to Harrogate (to try to sort out car insurance, grrr), we found ourselves with an hour or so to spare to visit the Valley Gardens.  This park has always charmed us, and yesterday we fell in love with it all over again.

It was developed for visitors to the spa town as an attractive place to walk as part of their exercise regime after taking some of the many waters on offer.  36 of  Harrogate’s 88 mineral wells are found within the park, and no two have exactly the same mineral composition.  Back in the later 19th  and early 20th centuries, visitors arrived in their thousands, attracted by the apparently curative powers of these waters. A boating lake, bandstand and tea room were built and still exist, but the Parks Department has chosen to focus on developing spectacular floral displays, formal in character towards the town centre, and becoming increasingly natural as the visitor walks upwards towards the pinewoods.These days, there’s a children’s playground, a skateboard park and visitors can play tennis and crazy golf too.  Somehow, though, these attractions don’t dominate.  The gardens are a place to visit to be at peace with nature, to spend quiet moments with a few friends or your dog, to enjoy the trees and flowers, both formal or less organised displays.  Come and share our walk with us.

14 thoughts on “A honeymoon in the Valley Gardens”

  1. I shouldn’t have worried -you’re still posting beautiful photographs. Harrogate is a town I’ve never visited but is on my wish list. I had thought that now we’re further north we might get there…


    1. Oh do. It’s worth a detour, as is the whole area. Knaresborough, the next door town is quite different in character and also worth exploring. And so on…….


  2. oh Margaret – what a lovely area to live in – I already have fallen deeply inlove with all the flowers you sent, the green space and the architecture……you simply must be happy there – annaxxxxxxxxxxx


  3. how beautiful and serene – you inspire me again to go for a walk in the woods today. good luck with the insurance mess – it will all work out, in time. You do get a lot done in 14 days!


  4. Yes the Valley Gardens are lovely. So is the cheese although I favour Wensleydale which definitely does not taste the same across the chanel. Good luck with the bureaucrats!


    1. No,it doesn’t. Surely, though, you’ve never actually BOUGHT any Wensleydale in France? And the bureaucrats have been taking serious lessons from the French…..


  5. Hello M. and M.! I feel you’re very happy back in Yorkshire! It’s a so pleasant country! You missed England more than we imagined.
    In my new garden here I have tulips and helleborus but only four poor daffodils plants! For next year I’ll put a lot in the border as Enghish do! I’ll plant mauve lilac too it’s my favourite!
    Go on M. writiing about your life and lovely walks there!


    1. Quatre jonquilles! Oui, il te faut un peu plus! Oui, nous sommes heureux de revenir….. mais nous continuons a aimer la France et nos amis. C’est difficile……


  6. Wouldn’t know where to look for Wensleydale in France and I certainly wouldn’t buy it. I took some to demonstrate to expat friends from the south how nice it was!


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