Slow and steady

Moving slowly through the UK countryside


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Beautiful Bath

We visited Bath this weekend, and it was gorgeous.  Sunny and autumnal – my favourite weather.

The weir below Pulteney Bridge is mesmering, with the water above it like an infinity pool.

Pulteney Bridge over the River Avon

Pulteney Bridge over the River Avon

The tiny shops (not much more than a metre from front to back) on Pulteney Bridge have wonderful views out over the river. This photograph was taken right through the shop from outside.

The view through a shop window on Pulteney Bridge

The view through a shop window on Pulteney Bridge

This medlar tree was laden with fruit – we were looking down onto it from above.  They are very strange-looking – rather like gigantic hawthorn fruits.  I haven’t ever eaten one – you have to leave them to ‘blet’, which effectively means, to rot.  Which sounds rather dubious.

Medlar tree

A medlar tree

On Friday night we had an excellent meal at the Circus restaurant (spiced pumpkin soup followed by lemon sole – mmmmmm).  On Saturday morning, I was determined to go for a pre-breakfast run (ok, walk/jog) which was a bit of a challenge as I’d not slept too well from eating so much.  However, it was a beautiful sunny morning, and I ran a little way alongside the River Avon.

I found a lovely paved labyrinth to jog round.

Labyrinth

I didn’t quite complete the labyrinth, as I was distracted by the sight of this fine gentleman.

Centurion

Roman centurion in Bath – not sure where he was heading, but he was happy to have his photo taken.

After Bath, we stopped off at Westonbirt Arboretum to see the autumn foliage display.  The Acers (Japanese maples) were lovely, even though it wasn’t sunny when we were there.

Japanese maples

Japanese maples

Japanese maple

Japanese maple

It was £9 per person to get into the arboretum, but I think we had our money’s worth for the wonderful colours. I have seen reviews on Trip Advisor saying that it was expensive, and more or less complaining that an arboretum only had trees in, which seemed a bit unreasonable. Though, admittedly, when we visited Westonbirt once before, many years ago, there were sculptures in amongst the trees, and it did add to the interest.

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Upton House gardens

Sunday afternoon stroll in the sun round Upton House gardens. More Michaelmas daisies – and this time I didn’t resist buying the bright magenta one, “Andenken an Alma Potschke”


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A sea of Asters

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We visited Old Court Nurseries and The Picton Garden today, in Colwall, Herefordshire, where they have the national collection of Michaelmas Daisies.  Michaelmas is the Feast of Saint Michael the Archangel, on 29th September, which is close to the autumn equinox (today) and so associated with the beginning of autumn.

It was sunny and warm, so the butterflies were out too – Red Admiral, Comma and Small Tortoiseshell, and bees were buzzing busily.

What an amazing display of colour.  Most of the plants were Michaelmas daisies, but there were a few others mixed in too – some Golden Rod, Heleniums and Rudbeckias – plenty of saturated colours.  I couldn’t help but be drawn to the vivid magenta, just like the ones I had in my hair when we were married, over 30 years ago.  It was a low-key wedding even for those days, photos taken by friends, catering by Mum (I had no idea what an undertaking I’d asked for there – thanks, Mum!) and flowers from the garden – such happy memories.  But my goodness, we look so young!

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All rather glorious.  As if that wasn’t enough for one day, on the way home we passed a flower lorry, delivering to the village garden shop – another feast for the eyes. Flowers in transit. (I have to confess though, that I get almost as excited by shelves of stationary – Rymans and Staples, mmmm! – but flowers, sun and bees do have the edge.)

Flower van delivering to the garden shop

Flower van delivering to the garden shop


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Flustered by fluttering beauties

A few of the butterflies I saw on holiday in Wales, on the Ceredigion coast, and in gardens just inland in August.  Click on any picture for a slide-show.

The Grayling was a surprise – I thought I’d taken a picture of a Painted Lady until I checked it in the book.   I did see Painted Ladies too, but not close up.  I got quite excited about the Wall butterflies, as we don’t get them at home, and I can’t remember when I last saw one.

This was the best hunting though – I had to stalk it for ages, and I wasn’t sure what it was.  Then it came and sat on my leg!  I was so flustered that all I managed were several totally out of focus shots – but then it was kind enough to sit and pose for me – a Silver-Washed Fritillary, another new one for me.

Silver-washed Fritillary butterfly at Castell Henllys

Silver-washed Fritillary butterfly at Castell Henllys


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Chipping away at the mile pace

10:55 min/mile today, only the second time I’ve managed under 11 minutes for a complete mile, and a better pace than three of the four 4-min runs yesterday.   Cooler weather, and a breeze, definitely helps.

This afternoon we visited Compton Verney, an art museum in a Capability Brown landscape just down the road from us.  I enjoyed the Turner and Constable exhibition focused on sketching from nature, and we all enjoyed climbing up in the ‘Empty Nest’ sculpture to see the view over the lake.

Empty Nest tree sculpture

Empty Nest tree sculpture

We had fun making shops to add to the public-participation display – a response to ‘The Narb’ (one of the several pictures that show at this link).

Spar

Spar

Street of cardboard shops

Public participation art – a street of shops – good fun, not sure how much art is involved though! Quite a few quirky ones including The Body Shop full of skeletons, and The Inconvenience Store stuck as high up the wall as they could reach.