Spring in the Hills

Spring is here again, and my camera has been busy, so today, instead of York in England, I have to write about my garden in Glen Forrest.

 

 

The view from my bedroom, into a private courtyard which is now finished, is already a delight and in a few weeks, when everything blossoms, it will be heavenly. From my study, where I write these blog posts as well as my short stories, poems  and the latest novel (about halfway there), I am inspired by nature, which often includes a friendly goanna and lots of birds.

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York in England 2016

One of my favourite places in the UK is York. Like Bath, it is a large city with a very interesting history and the architecture (much of it dating from the middle ages)  begs for camera action at every turn.

York Minster, visible from most parts of the city

The famous York Minster requires at least one visit, as the foundations go down to Roman times with so much to see and absorb from then on. The Vikings settled there during their raids in the Dark Ages, giving it the name of Yorvik, evidence of which is still to be found (when not closed due to flooding as it is for several years, but more of that later.)

We travelled there by train on the 30th May last year. From Banbury this is very easy as, provided you catch one of several direct journeys, it should only take about three hours with none of the awkward darting about with luggage to swap from one train to another. However, as we came into Derby, (which puzzled us as that wasn’t on the original route) we were informed that an incident on the track ahead of us had forced the closure of that section of the line. We were then advised to stay in our seats while a group of passengers from the affected train were loaded onto ours. Everyone closed gaps

 

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London 2016: The National Gallery

This week I am at last back to presenting my thoughts and images of The National Gallery in London. Although I love the French Impressionists and therefore, the famous galleries in Paris, some of my favourite artists are to be found in this London landmark. I generally like to have lunch in the small restaurant near the entrance, but as we had already eaten at the V&A and we wanted to catch our train back to Banbury ahead of the crowds, we went straight up stairs to the grand galleries where even the walls and timber work are impressive.

National Gallery where even the walls are impressive

 

When searching through my photo files, I couldn’t find any from this visit, so we have Susanne to thank for the images you see here. I guess that, having stood in front of the same paintings so often, and having many photos of them from precious visits, I must have decided to not bother taking more that day. The main purpose in going there was for me to show my sister the amazing skies produced by Turner.

Turner is famous for painting skies like this

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amongst his other works, this view of the steam train crossing the bridge, is well known to all followers of English art. Again, the sky is an important feature of the painting. Susanne was suitable impressed.

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Moving House

I promised to write about the National Gallery in London, but I hope you will find this description of the last week and half amusing.

Buying a new residence and moving in, should be an exciting exercise but we all know that the stress levels for a house move, or in this case setting up a second home, are up there with death of a loved one and divorce. Well, believe me, having experienced both, it’s nothing like that bad, but despite my determination to have everything organised to the nth degree, because something always goes wrong on such occasions, it wasn’t exactly a smooth and simple operation.

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Banbury and London 2016

 

A famous lady on a white horse

One of the cosy pubs in Banbury.

‘Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross

to see a fine lady upon a white horse.’

When I recited that nursery rhyme as a child I didn’t realise that she was famous because of what she didn’t wear while riding that horse.

The English town of Banbury sits on the edge of the Cotswalds, surrounded by lush green farming countryside, quaint villages with cottage gardens and because of its rail connections, it’s an ideal place for a base out of London, only an hour away by train. It’s even more convenient for me because I have family living nearby.

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Favourite Fragrance Day

Roses from my garden

Apparently today is a day for discussing our favourite fragrance, so I’m putting my ideas down here and hope to get feedback from those of you for whom a memory is evoked by a particular fragrance. The sense of smell is supposed to be the strongest for bringing back things in our emotional memories.

I think everyone likes the smell of roses. I have chosen several old-fashioned varieties because they do have a perfume, but are not too strong.

Those of you who have read my piece some time ago on Eucalypt Leaves, might recall that I was grabbed by that smell when feeling homesick in London.

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Perth Heritage Days

 

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Government House

Last weekend, the 15th and 16th October, we stayed in the city in order to visit several of Perth’s old buildings, hear stories, see a photographic display in panorama and enjoy a display of ballroom dancing which was all free as part of a program called Perth Heritage Days.

The Royal Perth Hospital Museum was our first stop, in the building that used to house young nurses. As my cousin spent her traineeship there, I was interested to hear tales of windows climbed into or out of, depending on whether the young lady was returning from a night of frivolity, or daring to disobey matron’s orders and climb out into the arms of a waiting beau.

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Irises in My Garden

Irises fill me with joy when their vibrant blues, p1080468-640x355purples, lemons and whites burst forth outside my windows. I have to grab the camera and snap away, almost as if I fear that they will disappear if I don’t capture their beauty immediately.

This gorgeous p1080455-640x370display comes from the bulbs that I almost tossed in the bin. Last year they produced so few flowers that I thought they were past their use by date and I did discard most of them. Then I found these, in a cardboard box in the garage – stored through the heat of summer, with no protection, surely useless, I thought. This bed, in front of my lounge room, needed something to fill the space where I removed a few straggly shrubs, so, rather than toss them in the bin, I tossed them in the ground.

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Rome to Florence by Train

En route to Florence

En route to Florence

On May 2nd this year, we said goodbye to our friends at the Hotel Farnese (lovely hotel if you’re staying in Rome, see them at http://www.hotelfarnese.com ) and set off in a private taxi for the Central Railway Station. Richard, our driver, parked a long way from the entry. After waiting inside for half an hour, I understood why he had chosen that cheaper spot and was grateful for his willingness to remain with us.

Susanne and I had no way of knowing where our train would come into the station, and at 10.40 am, with departure time still listed as 10.45 am, we started to panic, despite the assurances offered by our patient assistant.

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Spring Has Sprung in the Hills

'She always wears a hat.' The sculpture of me was created by my daughter, Stephanie Burns

The sculpture is of me, created by my daughter, Stephanie Burns. On rainy days I seem to frown, but today, I’m happy in my garden.

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My first daffodil bloomed on the first day of spring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Grevilleas grow amongst my rock walls.

After such a wet, cold winter, to walk out of my back door and bask in gentle sunshine, filled my heart with joy and my body with warmth. My fingers were itching to plant and dig, to gather my harvest, or just get down and dirty.

Birdsong filled the air as my feathered friends darted in and out of grevilleas that grow amongst the rock walls tumbling down from my house.

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My camera was busy that day, capturing colour.

A day earlier I spotted a bright blue wren, the first of the season to land on my patio—a  young male, eager for his first mating season, attacking his image in the glass doors. Unfortunately I couldn’t capture him on camera, but when one appears, I’m ready for the rest.

 

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