Wednesday, 29 June 2016

 The world is in turmoil over Britain’s vote to leave the E.U.
Football fans are furious with the English team for their poor performance against Iceland on Monday night. The defeat was made worse by the fact that Iceland has only 3000 inhabitants and is new to the World Cup.
The weather here fluctuates between extreme storms and balmy sunshine.
And yet the day to day lives of ordinary people go on as usual.
In the past weeks I’ve had some wonderful outings – a day trip to Alnwick and the amazing Barter Books shop that is said to be the biggest second-hand bookshop in the country.  From the half dozen I hoped to exchange they accepted one – with a red binding and gold lettering, it was of Lisbon in the nineteenth century. How it came to be in my Mother’s bookcase I’m not sure unless it was from her well travelled and charming neighbour but it must have been the next best thing to seeing the country for herself.  That same lady gave me a beautifully presented book of garden flowers, slightly shabby but with gilt edges to the pages and flimsy paper protecting each illustration  It seems a strange thing to have given to a little girl but I still have it and take it down now and again and look at it.   It also features in my novel “Bridge to the Moon.”
Another trip to Northumberland was to Belsay Hall with its amazing Quarry gardens. On a perfect June day the drive there was stunning with long views over the hills and white blossom in the hedgerows as well as village gardens with yellow Laburnum and bright flowers.  Belsay’s gardens are so sheltered that every plant seemed to be in flower at the same time.
A magnificent Handkerchief tree at Belsay.
In complete contrast, on a damp afternoon later in that week we visited Rokeby Hall near Barnard Castle. No flower gardens here but a pleasant walk to see Greta Bridge and the Meeting of the Waters. Sir Walter Scott had been such a regular visitor to the house that there was a bust of him as a young man, in one of the dining rooms.
Bust of Sir Walter Scott

 He was said to have written the ballad “Rokeby” while staying with his friend John Morritt.

And so life goes on. Whatever is happening in the wider world - good or bad; ups and downs, private lives continue and can still be fulfilling.

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