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shewhomust

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Where was spring? [Mar. 30th, 2014|03:33 pm]
shewhomust
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The clocks went forward overnight: another sign of spring. But after several days of sharp, cold showers, today we have mist. Whatever happened to spring? A rhetorical question to which I know the answer:

Spring in the orangery


Spring was on Monday. Luckily we didn't miss it, but took the day off and went to Gibside. It was so sunny that I decided to leave my waterproof in the car - and didn't regret it, my jumper was warm enough.

There have been changes since we were last there: the new car park is now open, much closer to the entrance and down by the river. So our exploration of the grounds started with a stiff climb up, past the new ticket kiosk, then through the walled garden, now completely dedicated to garden plots but with not much happening at the moment (that is, a stretch of fallen wall is being repaired, but there's not much growing). The orangery was a blaze of daffodils. We tried to strike down through the meadow to the river, and were rewarded with some dramatic silhouettes of the orangery against the sun, but hit a dead end, and had to retrace our steps to the junction of the paths, and reach the river past the ice house. We had soup for lunch at the café in the stables, which has moved across the courtyard, been spruced up and lost its second-hand books (they will be back, elsewhere in the stables, later in the summer, apparently). We looped round the monument but didn't detour, paid a brief visit to the old house, and returned along the avenue to the chapel.

I wonder why John Bowes decided to make so complete a break when he built his new house / museum by the Tees?
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2014-03-31 09:16 am (UTC)
Poisson d'avril is just in France, I think - I had to explain it to my cultural historian friend, who had bought some vintage postcards but couldn't understand why they were obsessed by fish...

Those are daffodils in the picture: once that name meant delicate little spring flowers which danced in the wind and inspired Wordsworth, but now we have cultivated varieties, taller, and with bigger flowers, which fall over when the wind blows, and look surprised that spring could treat them so roughly.

I thought of you this morning, as I read Saturday's newspaper: it seems Bordeaux is now the cool place to be...
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2014-03-31 03:28 pm (UTC)
I know, but nonetheless, it seems, these are garden escapes, cultivated varieties which run wild and have squeezed out that smaller, genuinely willd daffs.
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2014-04-01 10:32 am (UTC)
The Guardian's tourist pieces about cities always emphasise fancy restaurants, nightclubs, shopping - places I'm not likely to visit.

Free guided tours by yours truly will be provided whenever you come by for a visit!

That, on the other hand, does make me want to visit Bordeaux (I have never been there, you know).
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2014-04-12 10:58 am (UTC)
This is very kind of you. We are seriously planning to be in France - somewhere in France - next year. I'd like to revisit the south-west, but it's a big country, and we are inh the north-east of England, so the SW is not exactly the easy option. But I'll keep you informed of our plans.

Mmm: sarcophagi...
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[User Picture]From: veronica_milvus
2014-03-31 10:37 am (UTC)
"Spring was on Monday". LOL. And I don't know the connection between Gibside and the Bowes Museum but will now look it up!
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2014-03-31 03:24 pm (UTC)
Don't forget to check the Queen Mother connection while you're at it!
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2014-03-31 03:26 pm (UTC)
Being as you are but a spring chicken yourself!
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