I don't know why,k but today my memories were flooded with thoughts of England and their beautiful gardens. I was mesmerized by them. The weather in England is much ,like the weather I have enjoyed here on the Oregon Coast for the past 12 years. And it is on the coast of Oregon where we grow the most beautiful flowers. Well, more on that later. For mow I want to get back to my memories of England,
We traveled there in June of 2003, a year after my mom died and just months after my first eye surgery that left me basically with extreme vision problems. My vision was not great to begin with, but after surgery my world was truly foggy. My husband was worried that I wouldn't see anything...and in some cases he was right. But, there is a lot of fog in England so it didn't really makje a huge amount of difference to me,.
We stayed with a Mason friend of Dean's on Chapel Lane in Urchfont in Devizis, England. Their home was in the country where there are rolling hills, forests, remnants of ancient inhabitants... and gardens! They called themselves the "woodpeckers" and had the cutest little woodpecker for a door knocker. It was here that I fell in love with England.
The Pocock's were perfect English hosts. They lived in an old cottage full of Antiques. John was an Antique dealer and Jean was an incredible decoratot. In the front entry of their home was the most unique desk I have ever seen.
"I'll bet you have never seen one of these before," John said to me.
I could honestly answer that I had not. "It is called a 'Davenport Desk!'" I was astonished! I had never heard of such a thing. And then he proceeded to tell me the story of this amazing desk (much of which I have forgotten over the years). As I recall, it was a sea Captain who wanted to make something very special for his wife, and so he designed this desk, full of little hidden nooks and cranny's to hide things...important things. I loved that desk instantly, and not just because it bore my family name, but because it was the most charming desk I had ever seen.\\
John Also took us on a tour of the rest of his collection of antiques! For instance, we would be dining on a 900 year old dining-room table for dinner! Floored again!!
While Dean visited with John, Jean took me out to the back yard to walk in her garden! Oh my, I cannot find the words to express the beauty of it all. Lavender and Heather and Roses galore. And all perfectly trimmed and "dead-headed" so there were no dead flowers anywhere. I believe it must take a special skill or art to be able to accomplish such beauty.
After tea, we walked into the charming town and passed house after house of beautiful gardens. On the corner there was a little plot set aside for more beautiful flowers and shrubbery. Jean told me that a little widow lady who lived across the street devoted all of her time not only to her own garden, but to this little plot on the corner. She was a crippled lady, who got around only with the aid of a wheelchair. I wanted to cry!
How is it that a small little village in the middle of England can elicit such beauty? It has to be inbred into their souls. When Dean and I wer in Londonm we visited Kensington Palace and all of the beauty there. We walked along well manacured walks to the lake in front of the Castle, where swans were lazily paddling their way through clear waters. It was a beautiful scene. We walked for what seemed like an eternity and came to another area of the property called Diana's Plasyground. It was a park for children that Princess Doana had designed and oversaw the construction for the children who came to play there. It was enchanting.
Across the street, we drifted into a little cafe with hundreds of pictures of Diana on every wall. We learned from our waiter that it had been one of Diana's favorite "hang-outs" to get away from it all. Everyone loved her and had nothing but kind things to say about her She loved her children and she loved all children.. Hers was a tragic end and I felt sadness creep into an otherwise beautiful day.
We had an amazing time in England, but I think the beauty of its gardens will forever live in my memory. One day, I would love to return and stay longer in London. But that will have to be perhaps for another lifetime.