“There is nothing more beautiful than England in the summer,” said Germaine Greer at the introduction of her talk last summer when I saw her speak in Wiltshire, England. It was a heat wave, and the small artshouse venue was packed in the balmy summer evening, so the weather was bound to have been a topic of conversation for her.
And I have to agree. There is just no comparing the lush tropical gardens in Southeast Asia, with bougainvillea, frangipani to the rustic green of the UK. Each has its own beauty.
There is a distinct wildness however to British summertime flora. From large billowing hedgerows in cosy off-road village roads, the cheekiness of wild daisies and buttercups pushing through the lush green grass and the rolling hills. And such is the incredible diversity of landscape in such a small landmass (after all the UK is only 94,000 square miles). From Scotland to the downs of Yorkshire, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire to Dorset and Devon, and London – the landscapes vary so quickly yet are all so uniquely beautiful.
We spent a week in cottages in Devon with my husband’s family and my nieces and nephews, staying beside the Great Western Canal in the heart of the southwest english countryside. Picture perfect canal-side walks, the kids enjoying feeding the baby ducks, spotting kingfishers with the children, hiking to nearby villages and enduring the nippy cold in the shade despite the fact that it was late July.
A jaunt to the seaside in Exmouth with some clean fresh air was enough to put the rosiness back in our cheeks after a few days of cold weather and eating fresh mussels straight from the sea was a treat well worth the almost three year break (last time I had mussels was in Belgium!).
The rustic-ness of the wild grasses and the canal-side reeds peppered with all the varying wild flowers. It brought me to the point of tears when I went for an evening run and saw the sunset. I stood dead in my tracks, took a still deep breath watching the dairy cows graze on one side of the canal, rolling hills behind and the reeds and marshland on the other side. The only sound was the buzz from the monstrous pylon bridged over the canal, but strangely enough that was the vicinity that we spotted the obscure Kingfisher, so even that just fitted in to the mesmerizing landscape.
There really is nothing like the British Summertime.