Friday, March 31, 2023

The Rain Came Down.

My Plants.

Friday has come around again, and it is still raining, and windy. I’m keen to get on with some gardening, but I’ll have to be patient. I went to the garden centre yesterday to see what plants they had. I came home with a potentilla, a primula, a muscari and an erysimon. I'll try and get a few plants every week now. The forecast isn’t good for tomorrow either, so I think it might be Sunday before I get them potted out. Never mind, there is plenty to do indoors in the meantime. 
I’m listening to Steve Earle,The Collection at the moment. What a great singer he is, San Antonio Girl is the song playing right now. This is followed by The Rain Came Down which seems appropriate as I look out the kitchen window at the lashing rain. 

I won’t even be venturing out for a walk today. I might nip to the pub this evening though. I can’t think of much else to say right now. The Van Morrison fans seem to be very impressed with his shows in Amsterdam. (See videos below) I think he is headed for Northern Ireland next, so I hope he is on top form for the fans there as well. I’m going to see him in Cheltenham at the end of April, and I’ll tell you what I think about his latest music after that.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Tulip Tree.

I just thought I’d show you one last photo from Stourhead. They have some wonderful trees there. This is me and a Tulip Tree. (Liriodendron tulipifera) Liriodendron is a genus of two species of characteristically large trees, deciduous over most of their populations, in the magnolia family. These trees are widely known by the common name tulip tree or tuliptree for their large flowers superficially resembling tulips. It is sometimes referred to as tulip poplar or yellow poplar, and the wood simply as "poplar", although not closely related to the true poplars. Other common names include canoe wood, saddle-leaf tree, and white wood. They are native to North America. This particular specimen was germinated and planted in 1791 which makes it 232 years old. I found the photo below on the internet. It shows the same tree in August last year, looking quite magnificent. Weather permitting, I am going to visit another estate near here next Monday, so hopefully I will be able to show you more photos next week.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Stourhead Revisited.

I had planned to do some gardening today, but it is raining at the moment, so that might not happen. Yesterday was quite a pleasant day and a friend suggested that we go to Stourhead as she is a National Trust member. What I like about Stourhead is that it looks magnificent whatever time of the year you visit. Yesterday the lakeside was covered in a host of golden daffodils as far as the eye could see. As I walked around the lake, I could also see the rhododendrons blossoming into life, as well as magnolias and handkerchief trees.
 There are interesting buildings to visit as well, such as the Walled Garden, Temple of Flora, the Boat House, the Grotto, Gothic Cottage, Pantheon, Cascade & Waterwheel, Palladian Bridge, The Icehouse, and the Obelisk.  

In the Pantheon.

It is a wonderful place to visit and a brisk walk is excellent exercise. Afterwards we sat in the Spring sunshine and enjoyed a cup of coffee. After a quick browse in the Art Gallery and the second-hand bookshop we set off towards home. 
I had never seen King Alfred’s Tower before, so we stopped off there. It is a folly on the edge of the border with Wiltshire, on the Stourhead estate. The tower stands on Kingsettle Hill and belongs to the National Trust. It is designated as a Grade I listed building. Henry Hoare II planned the tower in the 1760s to commemorate the end of the Seven Years' War against France and the accession of King George III, and it was erected near the site of Egbert's Stone, where it is believed that Alfred the Great, King of Wessex, rallied the Anglo-Saxons in 878 before the Battle of Edington. 

The tower was damaged by an aeroplane in 1944 and restored in the 1980s. The 49-metre-high (161 ft) triangular tower has a hollow centre and is climbed by means of a helical staircase in one of the corner projections. It has a statue of King Alfred and a dedication inscription. 
My friend had enough walking for one day, so she waited in the car while I went to see the tower. I found it to have quite a spooky atmosphere, standing there all alone, isolated in the middle of nowhere. It was locked, only open from 11.00 until 3.00 at weekends, so I couldn’t climb the 200 steps to see the view over Stourhead. That will have to wait for another day. We got home about 5.00 after a most enjoyable afternoon. The highlight for me was the tranquillity of the lake, and a quote by John Milton from Paradise Lost which I couldn’t get out of my head.

'Not distant far from thence a murmuring sound

Of waters issued from a cave and spread Into a liquid plain; then stood unmoved,

Pure as the expanse of Heaven.

I thither went With unexperienced thought, and laid me down

On the green bank, to look into the clear smooth lake, that to me seemed another sky'.

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