Oh to be in England, now that April is here…..

20150510_112241

After a direct flight to the UK from NZ, with a short stopover in Hong Kong, I was intrigued to see England in the Spring. After a trip over premium Economy, it was interesting to see the difference between Aiur NZ(first leg) and Cathay Pacific (Second leg). I must say that Air NZ came out clearly as the winner in this contest. Better seats, a proper leg rest, footrest and more space with better recline ability), allied with better food/drink and a semi-waiter-like service and better TV monitor. It was a real experience. Cathay in comparison was economy class with better seating (with more space and recline facility, but only a rudimentary footrest) and early boarding. One of them was totally worth the extra cost. All up it did mean that I arrived in better shape than I have after an economy direct flight, so I was ready to investigate the sights of an English countryside in Spring.

The first thing I noticed on the train trip up to Birmingham, was that the trees have leaves…! How astute of me! However that meant that I did not have the panoramic view of the countryside, that bare trees in Winter allowed.

20150510_125159

However after conference I travelled down to stay close to Cambridge. Here I have been able to wander through woods, gardens and even a next-door garden centre, looking at the myriad of plants growing here in the Spring in England.

On a drive, the first thin I noticed was field upon field full of beautiful yellow flowers. I found out that these are Rapeseed flowers, from which we drive Rapeseed Oil. When you think about the name, you can quickly understand why it is not a very popular  oil, though it is blended in a large majority of cooking oils. Apparently it is a very good cooking oil on its own, but not often sold as such, because of the associations of its name. Such a beautiful scene however.

20150510_112216

After arrival at my”English home”, we went for a walk in the adjacent wood. The Buebells, I was told, were well past their best. However they were still quite breathtaking and I loved the dappled light coming through the Spring green leaves on the trees. This is a different England!

20150510_124936

20150510_12421120150510_123711 20150510_125546

I can see the real difference between seasons, having been here so often in the grim darkness of Winter. I was here only three months ago, when there was no snow, but also, not much else apart from bare branches without even signs of buds or life. It is not so much that it is so incredibly beautiful( which it is…..it is the difference between the seasons, which we in New Zealand are not fortunate enough to experience. we have a sort of gradual merging of seasons. In the English Spring, there is a sense of regeneration  – apparent also in the psyche of the English people – with the optimistic spirit of a new renaissance – despite election results not pleasing everybody!

20150510_125650

I went through the Garden Centre  and was interested to see how much emphasis there is on flowers and quick-growing plants rather than the more slow-growing shrubs. I imagine this is a result of the harsher winter here and the relatively short time for flowers and plants to flourish preoprly.

The other point to notice is  the way that people fit so much colour and life into relatively small spaces. In New Zealand I appreciate we think our garden spaces are much smaller than in the past, but this is much more apparent in England.

20150510_174858  20150510_180929 20150511_110021     20150510_181148

I was fortunate to be taken to a beautiful traditional English garden with the grass, obviously well cared for and a true sense of an “Olde” English country garden (cue music here….”in an English country Gar—ar—den”!).

20150510_172933      20150510_172954    20150510_173043       20150510_173119

I was amazed to see some Camellias, coming well into blossom – or finishing flowering. In New Zealand these are seen as Autumn/Winter flowers, but here in England they obviously flower in Spring.

20150510_173246

20150510_181100 20150511_105854 20150511_105945 20150511_105833 20150511_105333 20150510_182051

After a walk around the village here – including the ubiquitous cricket pitch and field – under mostly blue skies and a temperature in the late teens, I was still happy to return to my “English home” and well earned coffee – albeit English coffee…..

20150511_110742

So my trip here has been great. I have loved seeing the transformation of the scenery. I am able to really understand and enjoy those immortal words of Robert Browning (with one important loss of a “t” in the last word, and apologies for being a month late – we are slower in New Zealand…  🙂

“O, TO be in England. Now that April ‘s here”……

Advertisements

About David Adlam

I am a conductor, composer, clarinettist and examiner for Trinity Guildhall working in Auckland, New Zealand and overseas
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s