On Saturday, we went with David and Julia to the Lake District. Julia had been given a gift card voucher entitling her to tea for two, so we had tea for four and split the difference.
The tea was at the Samling, one of the posh hotels in Windermere, on the banks of the Lake.
The hotel sits on 67 acres, a number of which were done up in formal gardens, fun to explore, with all the little niches and pools and gazebos. I finally learned the name of that dark purple flowering plant; it has long clusters of tiny blossoms, like lilacs, but darker and longer. It’s Buddleia or buddleja, the Buttefly Bush.
Another plant we saw there had leaves bigger than I ever thought could exist. The leaves, as nearly as I could estimate, were at least four feet in diameter, and many were six feet! We had no idea what these plants were, but the undersides of the leaves were full of thorns, arranged along each vein. They were truly like some Disneyworld fantasy!
|View from our Table|
|Demetrios, Anastasia, Julia in Garden|
To add icing to the already-iced caked, an air show was in progress over Lake Windermere. It was fun to watch the acrobatics, the designs left by the trails of smoke in the sky, and the World War II vintage planes passing over, fighters and bombers. Spitfires, David said, and Lancasters.
I’ve now been to quite a few places, from the tropics to the far north, from as far west as Hawaii and as far east as eastern Greece, and I have to tell you that absolutely nowhere I’ve seen is more beautiful than the English countryside on a glorious day.
It’s of course the “glorious day” bit that’s the kicker. Last week I was in the post office when the clerk there asked did I live in Ormskirk, and I said yes, but seasonally, only for the summer. He looked around, peered out the window at the dark clouds and sharp breeze, shrugged his shoulders, spread out his hands and said, “Welcome to our ‘summer!’”
And last Sunday, when I told a Liverpool taxi driver the same thing, I added (to forestall a remark similar to the man’s in the post office), “We’re lucky this year. The summer has been drier than last year.” His immediate come-back was, “It in’t over yet!”
It’s still like early Spring here. The sunshine, when we have it, is warm (not hot) and the breeze, which we always have, is downright cold.
Why do the English so like discussing the weather? Because they have so much of it!
But truly Saturday was one of those heavenly days that makes all the gray ones worth it. Even more satisfying is that we took full advantage of it, with good company, good food, and being outdoors.