We’re back. Just in time for That Meaningful Vote. Let’s not go there. Instead, let’s focus on something that England is undoubtedly good at: mid-winter hope.
It’s been quite a treat to stare out of our kitchen window these last two days. We have three lilac trees, one purple, one mauve and one white, which put on a spectacular and perfumed performance for one week only in May. Two mornings ago, there was not a bud in sight. By the evening, tight little green buds had appeared. Yesterday they were bigger. Today they’ve revealed their colours. Tomorrow they’ll be out. Then we go on holiday ….. and miss the rest.
Here’s what these hot few days in early May have produced in the garden. A few early flowers: narcissi , primroses still survive – just.
Naked trees have suddenly unfurled tender young leaves. Blossom blossoms. Bluebells and dandelions and poinsettia have appeared. The first wisteria flowers shyly peek from behind their delicate leaves. Spring has sprung.
And here is some May time music: Thomas Morley’s ‘Now is the month of maying’, sung by the Beaumont Singers.
Originality has gone out of the window as I enter Day Twelve of the Great Coughing Virus. I’ve found some pictures from last year’s much more clement spring. This is a walk round and about the awakening garden, exactly a year ago.
This week’s WordPress photo challenge is ‘Awakening’. Click on any image to view full size.
The WordPress photo challenge this week is ‘Beloved’.
I don’t think the humans in my life whom I love would be happy for me to plaster their images all over the blogosphere. I have no pets, beloved or otherwise. So I’ll have to look a little further.
Here’s a little miscellany of images, beloved images:
- The Yorkshire Dales, whose rolling hills, bisected by ancient drystone walls I missed so much during our years in France.
- The Pyrenees, from their richly flowered springtime meadows through to winter, when their rocky slopes are covered in deep snow, and which I now miss every single day. I’ll miss the shared picnics on our walks together, when our French friends pooled resources, and we ate everybody’s offerings of home-cured sausage, local cheeses, bread, home-baked cakes together with wine and somebody’s grandfather’s very special eau de vie.
- Springtime daffodils. Every year I go into deep mourning when they wither, die and finally become untidy heaps of dying leaves. I’m happier now as they thrust their sheathed stems through the hard soil, promising to flower soon- but not quite yet.
- There are books: I need a pile beside my bed to get me through the night.
- A single, perfect cup of coffee from Bean and Bud in Harrogate.
- Skeins of geese flying overhead mark the seasons here, and I love their haunting, raucous cries.
- And so on….
I’ll end though with this. I wasn’t beloved of this elephant in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu, who was only doing his job when I visited him ten years ago on my Indian Adventure. But I felt beloved and very special when he raised his trunk and brought it down upon my shoulder – his very distinctive way of blessing me.
Click on any image to see a slideshow of the photos, full-size.
On New Year’s Day, I excitedly posted a photo of the earliest snowdrops of the year, spotted that very morning. If I’d known that this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge was to be ‘Growth’, I might just have held back.
As it is, I now realise just how special those early hardy little shoots are. That little patch of snowdrops I showed you was alone, quite alone on a sea of bare earth, creeping ivy and a few shriveled Autumn leaves.
Let’s fast forward maybe four weeks. This is what the garden and surrounding woodlands will look like after all the hundreds and thousands of local snowdrops have grown, pushing themselves forth through the chilly frozen earth. Our annual miracle.
February 2017. All the local snowdrops have arrived.
Click on any image to view full size.
The weekly photo challenge posed by WordPress is taking a week off. I don’t have to. I thought I’d add to the piles of photos clogging up the internet showing snow. Snow in the garden, out by the lake, up a mountain, shutting down the motorways, whitening city streets ….
We woke up this morning to bitter cold. Minus One Celsius. This will make my American and Canadian readers laugh. Look at this post from my blogging friend Kerry. Where she wakes up it’s -32, and steam is rising from the frozen lake. She’d better not read this. Where she is, nobody ventures out, not even – especially not even – the cats.
This is snowy weather British style. Just a couple of inches. Just enough to snarl up the transport system and fill the airwaves with ‘Is your journey really necessary?’ type warnings. It’ll probably be gone tomorrow.
Click on any image to view full size.
PS. Happy New Year!
… but it ought to be. Both are – or were – spa towns. Both attracted a better class of visitor keen to cure ailments by drinking and bathing in the health-giving waters. In my opinion, Harrogate should have won hands down in attracting visitor numbers. Its sulphurous waters, reminiscent of bad eggs, are truly horrible, and must therefore do you good. The waters of Baden-Baden are without taste, though hot. No pain, no gain.
Baden-Baden welcomed visitors to this splendid railway station, now a concert hall.
Harrogate has the Pump Rooms and the Turkish Baths. Baden-Baden’s two thermal baths are extensively elegant affairs. After taking the cure, Harrogate can offer the Promenade in the Valley Gardens, while visitors to the German city can enjoy their promenade at the Trinkhalle.