The third week of April found me on a flight home to England to spend a couple of weeks with Mum, explore, and see my beloved bluebells, which should be blooming as I arrived. I had a wonderful flight, an empty seat next to me piled high with pillows and blankets that, despite looking comfortably enticing, failed to coax me into a sleep on my nighttime flight. So I watched movies, read a book and studied the wing protruding from the plane body under my window. I always marvel at take off how these protuberances manage to stay attached to the aircraft as they shake, vibrate and rattle, visibly bending against the G-force as we force ourselves up into the clouds. Awesome!
As we approached Heathrow, I looked down to the patchwork of fields lined with hedges, emerald green with the newness of spring, and occasional patches of bright yellow rape beginning to bloom. No McMansions to be seen anywhere, just solid brick and stone houses, many that had stood for hundreds of years and would last a good few more. It was good to be back in the homeland.
Mum was waiting for me when my coach pulled into Ringwood and as soon as cases were stowed we walked into town for lunch. Fish and chips and a pot of tea in a country pub with a thatched roof, not a bad start to the trip. Yet it was nice to get to bed that night, the soft cooing of the wood pigeons in the trees outside lulling me to sleep.
It was Sunday the next day and Mum had booked us into a popular local restaurant, Pamphill Cafe.
We had come here for the traditional roast dinner, and I was not disappointed.
We left with bursting waistbands and deciding that a walk would be most beneficial, so jumping into the car we wound our way along country lanes to the River Stour.
After our walk we drove back into Pamphill to look at St Stephen's church. Built in 1907, it's a beautiful example of Gothic architecture, one of my favorite periods. Back in the 80's Gothic decor was all the rage in England and I clearly remember looking at house design magazines and desperately wanting the outrageously priced carved wooden kitchen cabinets.
More details can be found here.
Other local woods were filled with people enjoying the beauty and scent of these flowers but the warden had directed us to this little area that not many others were privy to, so I was ecstatic to walk down the hill and find we had the place to ourselves. These are to me the most beautiful flowers in the world and it's been 18 years since I last saw them so I was quite overwhelmed at this magical show nature had put on. I had to just stand and savor for a few minutes, drinking in the spectacular scene with my eyes, and imprinting it on my memory forever. It was nearly sunset and the blues were deep and vibrant, shadows and the last sun beams danced as the breeze whipped the branches gently back and forth. I thought I was in heaven.
We trundled through little lanes enjoying the high banks and tiny fields, songbirds filling the air with trills and tweets. Everything was so vibrant and fresh, the landscape was alive with spring colors. But as we rounded a few turns and twists the lush scenery gave way to the gorse covered open moors of the New Forest.
We had crammed quite a lot into our afternoon, so was glad to finally pull up at Mum's house and put the kettle on for a pot of tea. We succeeded in consuming a large number of these during my stay!