Sunday, August 28, 2005

Happy Birthday to Me

I’ve had a really lovely birthday today. Woke up to fresh orange juice and cards from P, from friends and the cats’ own paw-printed one, before coffee, croissants and home-made plum jam for breakfast.

We then set out to Trentham to have a ride on the ‘Miss Elizabeth’ across the lake and back. The ride was wonderful, the weather just right and, it being the first trip of the day, the boat wasn’t crowded. We saw herons sitting in their rather ponderous and to me, slightly spooky, way on the edges of the island heronry. Swallows and dragon flies were swooping over the water and little rowing boats bobbed about in the wake of our boat. I have to say it was all rather perfect.

After this we had coffee and cake at one of the cafes in the retail park, which was by now packed with visitors, and then made our way into the Italian gardens. So much has happened in there since we visited late last season. The formal gardens were lovely and colourful, the lower garden having particularly interesting planting, the upper garden near the old church and orangery was a little bit ‘municipal’ for my taste but I guess this is how it was in it’s heyday. The fountains and lake views were wonderfully clear and bright in the early afternoon light. After wondering around the gardens we sat in green and white stripy deckchairs and watched the boats on the lake, then we ventured onto the woodland walk, looked at the little ‘back yard gardens’ and then I ventured into the ‘Barfuss’ – P declined to go in, but I left my shoes and rolled up my trousers and in I went, the walk was so invigorating, the mud between the toes very squelchy but somehow enjoyable and I think the best walking surface was the pine cones as they had been softened by those who had gone before me and felt warm and dry underfoot. Then back to the foot showers to get rid of all the mud that had collected between my toes – bliss.

Home late afternoon to sit in the garden and look forward to a feast of home made veggie lasagne, courtesy of P, with a nice rose wine and ice cream to follow. How wonderful is that?

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