I guess it is because I had become so used to the lovely honey coloured limestone on Gozo that I am taking so much notice of the red brick that is used so much in England and especially in Norfolk, it has its own beauty and is as natural as limestone seeing that the bricks are baked clay (earth).
And in Norfolk much use is made of flint stone in combination with red brick, the flint is found naturally in chalk, with layers in various shapes and sizes, flint is almost pure silica. There is black flint and grey flint, the colours are due to impurities. There is also rounded beach flint. The flint has been used as a building material in Norfolk since ancient times and many archaeological material has been found in the surrounding areas made out of flint, it was a very useful material because of its hardness and sharpness. Norfolk is also rich in clay and from the 13th century onward clay became an important building material in combination with the flint, giving the beautiful finish you see all over the area now.
And still in Norfolk, just a few days ago an abundance of wild flowers were already in bloom, like I showed in my last blog entry – GREETING SPRING – these are wild flowers and found while walking along the road-side. I was happy to see the first wild chestnut tree in bud and already showing the beginnings of a flower.
And so it goes on, ever discovering new things and rediscovering old ones, life is so interesting and fulfilling.
Meanwhile I am back home and working on my latest house improvement project (a little one), lining a walk-in wardrobe with wall paper to stop dust falling down. And discovering that mice had eaten away some of the wiring covers….my little project has just become a very big one.
This is a very old house indeed.
“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.”
A recent visit to the walled garden at Holkham Hall in Norfolk, UK gave us a fine variety of flowers already in full bloom. How lovely a day it was, many birds were singing, and the scent of some of the flowery shrubs wafted towards us while we were watching the bees and other insects fly from one flower to another.
No better introduction to an English garden than in the early spring.
A large variety of beautifully coloured and fresh spring flowers
The Witch-hazel catkins, Quince blossom, Hellebores, and Rhododendron
Edgeworthia chrysantha flower and shrub, beautifully scented and new to me.
Ceanothus arboreus is a lovely shrub which blue flowers are loved by the insects.
Holkham Hall dates back to the 18th century, its extensive grounds consist of some 25,000 acres. The walled garden was originally developed by Samuel Wyatt during the late 1700s and is now still under restoration. It comprises 6 acres and is surrounded by a high red brick wall. This was our second visit to Holkham hall estate and I have enjoyed both visits very much, last time we saw the deer grazing among the most beautiful ancient trees that are on the land.
A beautiful Italian iron-work gate brought from Venice in 1908 makes for a great entrance into the walled gardens.
The few days we spent in Norfolk with Ian’s family, and this visit to Holkham gardens allowed us a nice transition from Gozo back to West Cork, it was a nice introduction to spring in the more northern islands of Europe.
It is that time again, the time to say goodbye and to move on. West Cork is calling, my grandchildren cannot wait to see me again, and the garden is definitely in need of lots of tender care. I’m also dying to meet up with my family, friends and to reconnect with the art and social scene in Skibbereen. I’m restless and cannot concentrate on writing my blog, I’ve had little time for it also because for the past week I have been sorting and packing our stuff together, 20kg each. Winter clothing is heavy and large, books are heavy too. As I’m minimizing everything I own, I do not want to take extra stuff home, and even if I wanted to – there is no space in the suitcase. It is the weight that matters most in our case, and I bought one of the digital gadgets to weigh a suitcase but I cannot use it, simply because I cannot lift the case to hang it on to the scales! Hopefully we are going to be all right. Everything is sorted, organized and packed. Four days left, time for relaxing and for a last chance to soak up sunshine, because we are going to the land of rain and gray skies. Goodbyes have been said at my lace-class, book-club, library and friends here. Our last few walks have been beautiful. I know that I shall miss all this glorious sunshine, and I am grateful that we had the opportunity to spend some months here enjoying this lovely island.