Friday, 15 April 2011

Lions & Lilacs...

It's flowers, flowers, flowers at the moment...everywhere I look. One of the most beautiful Spring sights (and scents!) in the churchyard is the huge lilac trees which grow on both sides of the square...
They are very old and bent but produce such amazing flowers each year...some white...

and the others the traditional...well...lilac!

I wish that I could post the fragrance that follows you as you walk around the square. I throw open our bedroom windows to let in Nature's air freshener! Wonderful...
Earlier in the week, I had a lovely day's outing to Woburn Safari Park just over the county border in Bedfordshire. I met my youngest sister, Lucy, and my 3 year old nephew William plus my two cousins, Emma & Mike and Emma's beautiful teenage girls Beth & Amy. We hadn't all seen each other for a couple of years so decided to meet halfway between our homes and have a day out and a picnic as well. Although we chose the coldest day for many weeks, it was a fabulous time. William's eyes grew wider and wider as we slowly drove around the park and he spotted rhinos, elephants, giraffes, MONKEY'S (his capitals!!) tigers...and these beautiful animals...
to see a pride of lions so close (they were very calm, didn't even glance at the cars!) was very special. After eating our picnic in freezing winds, sheltering as best we could, we decided to finish the afternoon by going into the aviary where exotic birds fly freely and sit on your hands, heads & shoulders to feed on the nectar that you take in for them in little pots. A huge success with all of us! There is something so magical about a bird landing on your arm...it's like a little miracle to be able to see them up close. My special favourites were the Rainbow Lorikeets...

these are one of the most common birds in the skies around Esther's home in Australia and the sight & sound of them took me there in an instant. Gorgeous things. We had a great time catching up, chatting & laughing...it reminded us all not to leave it so long next time!

Even my daily dog walking is suffused with flowers right now...I had to share more pictures with you!

the wild violets are still there in their thousands...I took this on the hill this morning...

the colour is so vivid, it fills up my heart somehow!

New this week, though, are the beautiful yellow cowslips (or are these oxslips? I never know the difference!) Such an English flower I think. They used to be so common a few hundred years ago that people would pick them by the bucketload to make wine each Spring. Then, when I was young, they had died out so much that they became a protected species...I remember occasionally seeing one and being so excited! I'm happy to say that they seem to be coming back now...at least, I saw lots and lots of them this morning! And I still get excited....x

The coconut-scented bright yellow gorse is now blooming everywhere too....bees must congregate in drunken pleasure after gorging on all the pollen that's around right now.

It's as though the countryside has woken up suddenly. There's almost too much to look at...but I'm trying to take it all in!
Today is soft and warm again...the sun is out as the dogs stretch on the deck luxuriously. I hope you have a wonderful weekend, whatever you do! xoxo

8 comments:

  1. I love gorse. Just the sight of it makes me think of The Famous Five. They were always hiding under gorse, or using it to cover an entrance or something.

    oh how I love your post! The flowers are just wonderful at the moment aren't they? Tell me, do you ever bring Lilac indoors? I don't. My mum always scared me with 'don't bring it in, it's bad luck'. I googled it last year and found this connection is down to lilac being used as a funeral flower in Victorian times to cover the smell of death (nice), so became known as bad luck, an omen of impending death. Great. So after reading that, and having my mum point her finger in a witchy manner and banning me, I've never had lilac in the house. Such a shame, I love it so. I cut it and arrange on tables in the garden, but that's it. What do you do? I'm curious to know.

    Woburn looks like a superb day out. Will have to take my little sweet pea one day :o)

    have a glorious weekend. there may be rain afoot! hurrah! xxx

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  2. Hi Sadie! We were told the same thing. although I never knew why it was unlucky...what a grim reason! But it makes sense. Esther & I once lived together in her little cottage, there was a huge white lilac at the bottom of the garden & we couldn't resist bringing in huge armfuls for the table..but it never lasted. It drooped horribly & the beautiful flowers turned brown at the edges. So now, like bluebells, I resist the urge & leave them where they grow! xoxo

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  3. so gorgeous--I have to soak in all of the green beauty from your blog as we are quite brown still but were white yesterday as we woke up to snow! The flowers are so delicate and I can just imagine the fragrances of each as you walk past....thank you for sharing and have a lovely weekend Rachel! xx Joann

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  4. What a total pleasure to read. I was ooohhing and ahhing the whole time. Just imagining walking around and breathing in the lilacs and standing there with birds at the park. So much to envision it was like a mini vacation for me to read it. But meanwhile Bedfordshire?? That's a real place? I thought it was made up like the land of counterpane in R L Stevenson. Morwenna goes up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire, then I researched it and it's a song. I had no idea it was a real place. Riot!.

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  5. Lovely to see England come to life. The gorse reminds me of Wales. We have just seen two lovely lorikeets in the tree outside my bedroom! Thanks for the lovely photos xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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  6. What a beautiful post... how I'd love to experience Spring in wonderful England ♥ I have quite a soft-spot for lilacs and violets! But really everything is so, so gorgeous :)

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  7. Rachael, I love seeing England through your eyes. I can almost smell the lilacs : )
    So beautiful....

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  8. Rachel, I have a wonderful site for you to see---you can print out some free 'printables' of the royal wedding!!

    http://www.thetomkatstudio.com/freeprintablesroyalwedding/

    Check it out...you will love it!
    XX
    Joann

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