Wednesday 15 August 2012: Soaking up the atmosphere of a bygone age....
Perhaps I was a little hasty in thinking Spring was on the way yesterday - we were back to pouring rain by lunch time today. However, the identity of the close-up blossom that I blipped has been revealed today by Shane, who came to attack the overgrown trees at the back of the garden: he said it was Wild Lupin! I was amazed, as I think of Lupins as being in the blue, pink or mauve part of the color spectrum and certainly not resembling a small tree. If you do a Google Image search for 'Wild Lupin New Zealand' you will be rewarded with many beautiful images of the type that I associated with this plant. I'm told it can grow into a tree. But I'm such a numpty that I've now remembered that the close-ups were not actually of the same tree as the one standing by the fence in the blipped image!
Anyway, apparently that's what it is and we even had some growing up in the back of the garden - Shane declared it to be a noxious weed and briskly removed it! That wasn't the only thing being removed - down in Bridge St, the two centennial English Oaks in the Queen's Gardens adjoining the Suter Gallery were being removed by contractors hired by the Council. I am sad about this - as are many people - and I know that my neighbour, H., will be very upset when she returns from her holiday in Argyll. She is the Chair of the Queen's Gardens Committee and had fought valiantly to have these two trees, which were planted as part of Queen Victoria's golden jubilee celebrations, saved. It seems nothing can be allowed to stand in the face of 'Progress' nowadays and so the trees have gone to make way for a modern extension to the gallery.
On a happier note I did promise, a couple of days ago when I blipped Melrose House as part of my 'Dress Circle' postcard, to go back with Lynley. Today we braved the rain and went there for coffee, which turned into apple crumble and coffee - very delicious it was, too. Another of those strange coincidences occurred when I was looking up the history of this lovely old heritage building; it seems that today is the first anniversary of the publication of a book about the history of the house called, unsurprisingly, 'Melrose House - A History'. I didn't see any copies for sale in the café but maybe I wasn't looking very hard. I would quite like to read it though so maybe I'll go back and see. The website says that's the place to buy it.
The house is a real gem - an oasis of tranquility - surrounded by beautifully maintained gardens. Looking out of the arched windows of one of the original Reception rooms at the rainy lawns and Camellia bushes, one could have been forgiven for thinking one was somewhere in deepest Englandshire. I think we were both delighted to have discovered its charms and I predict that today's will turn out to have been the first of many visits! Lynley seemed to blend in perfectly with the elegant surroundings.
I think it's better BIGGER