~In jeder Sprache wohnen andere Augen.~ ~I don't know where I am going but I am on my way.~

vendredi 29 octobre 2010

Escape to the South - Part 3 Bristol and Bath

Our -French- guide for the Bristol city tour was "indisponible" as he had to prepare for next day's Half Marathon in Cardiff :-). P.S. First time he run in public and he arrived after 1h 49m. Well done, I find!

We started at Isambard Kingdom Brunel's suspension bridge and were surprised how cold it was up there.

As a pedestrian one can cross for free whilst cars have to pay for each crossing.

It was a good start as one gets immediately a good overview from above what Bristol might be.

Walking down town and when the sun got higher, it became warmer
and warmer.

Once arrived close to the center, we admired the ancient buildings but also enjoyed the various street artists.

University towns are always buzzing and if I was still a young student, I would certainly love to be one of them.

After a while we went into the cathedral. A sudden silence touched us in there.

Relatively tired in the evening we were no more keen on visiting Brunel's SS Great Britain but could see her masts from the distance.

This picture was taken because I wonder what the flag on the very right might be? Any clues will be welcome!

It was pleasant to walk around the harbour in the evening light.
The last picture is of Bristol's Millenium Place, we stayed at the (excellent) IBIS hotel just in front of the place.

On our way back to Bath, we had to go into this wee shop called "Gardenalia". I can't remember having seen any place like it. Piles and piles of garden items, vintage tools, rosted bits and pieces - all convenient for garden freaks like us :-).

We stayed a while exploring and finally decided about our precious export goods. My best buy was an ancient spate, in perfectly working order. I love things with "knowledge" and this spate told me that he had dug in his life more than I had been digging so far. I had this vision of "he is going to dig alone" ---- and you know what? It is almost like that! The spate does the work effortless (as it is light) and is the right purchase for a me for the gardening years to come :-)))

Bath welcomed us in its usual grace and -again- the bluest sky ensured magic pictures.

I was pleased that I found the old theatre again, which we had admired on our last trip to Bath with EG in 2005. I love the story of Beau Nash, the King of Bath and his mistress Juliana Popjoy - the names promise already a great life and existence, don't they?

Bath hosts the exhibition "Britain from the Air" and we took long moments to absorb it all.

After all those city tours, we were looking forward to a quiet countryside and went to Bradford-on-Avon and to Iford Manor to visit the famous Peto garden. I learnt that there are several river Avon in Great Britain. The one which runs through Bristol and Bath and Bradford got its name from the Welsh where the word "afon" means river. And I also learnt (later from EG) that close to Bradford is that famous shop for Armstrong Siddeley's spare parts ;-). We HAVE to go again!

lundi 25 octobre 2010

Escape to the South - Part 2

On our way West, we had chosen East Lambrook Manor to visit. It is the garden of Margery Fish and she became famous as "the inventor of the cottage garden".

For me, it is particularly interesting to see a cottage garden in Autumn. Summer might be the ideal moment to visit cottage gardens but it is remarkable to see how clever this garden has been designed and there is still plenty of colour going on and plenty of interesting plants to admire (mostly unknown to me).

This garden has here and there center pieces which gives it character. Be it the cercis sarquastrum with its long seed pods or the acer griseum with its fantastic textured bark or the cornus with its dark red twiglets.

Due to some well chosen species of trees, planted at well chosen axis of the garden, it has a very harmonious atmosphere and gives plenty of inspiration.

A little bit of running water adds to the interest and the willows do enjoy it there.
All the embankment has plenty of hostas and ferns as underplanting.

I love these wee gates out of hazel.

And I had to take a photo of this trio: astrantia, fuchsia and the ground cover with the same pale pink in the leaves.

I have no idea what this plant might be but it fascinated the eye of my camera.

Here is the acer griseum - I wonder how long ours will take to be at that size?

I also learnt that Margery Fish was a friend of Constance Spry. I always thought, that it was just the name of a famous rose but ignored that she was also a famous gardener.

The naughty garden cat showed up like very friendly but that was only the first impression.

We could not resist some tea and coffee from the tea room and left, not without having bought some wee perennials from the new owners.

Outside close to the car park was an area for workshops for want-to-be gardeners.

Only a few miles further, we arrived at Shepton Mallet and had a warm welcome from this lovely lady: Niki from Nostalgia at Number 1.

My son stayed in the car for a long nap whilst we girls went shopping!

I adore her taste, I love her creations and I am fond of her blog: http://nostalgiaatthestonehouse.blogspot.com/

The BBC is going to bring out a serie about the High Street starting on November 2nd and Niki already explained months ago on her blog when the film crew started its exciting work. Life on the High Street in the past and now.
Unfortunately, Shepton Mallet is a bit empty right now as plenty of shops have closed - just the same sad story than in so many other British market towns. But who knows, perhaps one day it will all change again into how it was and when one had that special pleasure - like us at Niki's shop - to discover beautiful things in real and not only virtually by buying through the internet.

In any case, a visit in Shepton Mallet and at Niki's is a must if you are in the area. You won't be disappointed. We came back with fantastic, marvellous items but I won't put the picture of my purchases up as there are some x-mas gifts which will remain my secret.

When we finally arrived in Bath, guess who was standing on the balcony of the cathedral??? My Scottish piper! Piping EG's preferred tune: The Black Bear!
I had goosepimples and we had to stay on the place until he disappeared.

As it was getting late, we left Bath and drove to our hotel in Bristol not without promising to stop by again on our way back.

jeudi 21 octobre 2010

Escape to the South - Part 1

Here I am. Back from some 6 fantastic days exploring the South of
the UK with my friend from Hamburg. She came by train and we then started next day morning from home in order to catch the ferry in Dunkerque. After our arrival in Portsmouth in the evening we went to a nice restaurant downtown "Pompei" (as it is called by the locals) and next morning we woke up believing we were somewhere in the South of Europe. Dear friend Blossom, our local guide, had ordered the perfect blue sky!

Having enough time, we decided to walk down to the harbour and ferry terminal where we hoped to meet Blossom and her friend.

"Pompei" has character. And it is buzzing and active due to its university. It has, so I find, a "feel-good factor".

Nelson's HMS Warrior can be discovered and Marc Isambart Brunel, the father of THE Isambart Kingdom Brunel, started here his first industrial production chain in 1802.

Coincidentally, I took the picture explaining the story of the mudlarkers and later Blossom explained that her builder had been one of them.

The SPINNAKER TOWER has been inaugurated in 2005 and stands up for the city.

A walk round the harbour.

The picture above shows also the Lipstick Tower, a residential building. When we had happily met with Blossom, we took a pleasant crossing on the ferry to the Isle of Wight.

And found ourselves privileged to visit Blossom's new home on the Isle - with sea view! A wonderful house, having everything one could wish for. And thanks to reliable builders, the progress is steady.

We then visited Osborne House, Queen Victoria's family home. Pictures inside were not allowed and I am thankful for that ----- because at the end of our 6 days trip, the card of my camera was full, 945 pictures.

I wondered if there is an explanation why someone would have a wild boar as an entrance figure to the house? Was that the ultimate idea of a symbole for strength?

Whilst being on an island, she could still have an eye on the empire across the water.

We needed a quiet walk round the gardens to wind down from all these excessive impressions we had had. One third of the house is shown to public and every further room leaves you gobsmacked and overwhelmed. I cannot describe the beauty of the ceilings or the thousands of decorative items in that house. One must go and see it himself.

As I have still no greenhouse, I admired these old leaned-on ones.

The walled garden was of a decent size and certainly would produce plenty of veggies.

After this exciting start, we went back to our hotel and had a lot to "digest".

Dear Blossom, thank you again for that lovely start and honestly, it was such a great beginning for our holiday!

Next day, we started in the early morning to visit East Lambrook Manor garden on our way to Shepton Mallet, Bath and Bristol.