They say that nostalgia is no longer what it used to be but I've never found that to be the case. Waking up each morning and opening the curtains to discover the first rays of sunlight on the grass, watching the squirrels run across the branches of the oak tree outside the kitchen, seeing the hawthorn break or reading in the shadow of the apple tree in blossom, it felt as if I was discovering these places for the first time and had never experienced the spring before. Growing up, the landscape around me appeared tired and familiar and I took its beauty for granted; perhaps it's because of the miserable, wet spring of last year which robbed me of this magic or because I live in a city but I finally realised how much these places mean to me, that they awaken something deep inside that cannot be fully expressed. Some nights when I was awake, I would look down at the garden, silent in the moonlight and wish I could go outside to explore just like the character in Tom Midnight Garden, one of my favourite childhood books.
I returned to the Cromford Canal, the grandeur of Kedleston Hall and Lea Gardens with its stunning rhododendren whose rich colours suggest more Mexico than England and where I wandered further and further into woodland. Most wonderful of all though were the bluebell woods, a spot known only to a few where I've been going since my childhood. As a girl I gathered masses of dandelion clocks, blowing the seeds away into the breeze and I could follow in the traces of my own footsteps along the path into the woods with my eyes closed because I know it so well. Yet nothing really prepares you for the delicate perfume of those special flowers, impossible to describe or the sight of the blue carpet rolled out in front of you.
Dear readers, I'm so sorry for being away for so long and want to thank you all for the lovely comments and messages I've received. Somehow being back in Derbyshire made me want to go exploring, rather than sit in front of the computer so I hope you can forgive me. I'm also hopelessly out of touch with others blogs and have missed reading you so I'll be taking some time this week to catch up. Take care.
Beneath the apple tree
Oscar, enjoying the evening sun
In the bluebell woods
The wonderful flowers at Lea gardens
In the grounds of Kedleston Hall
The hawthorn in bloom
One of the nicest things was also having plenty of time for breakfast every day. Lecia posted this recipe for baked oatmeal on her beautiful blog (from Heidi Swanson's new book which I ordered yesterday). I used fresh blueberries and found it to be one of the most delicious and comforting breakfasts I've ever had.