A Travellerspoint blog

Blooming Britain

sunny 18 °C

When our government finally loosened the reigns and permitted us to venture back into the world, we decided that the British Isles might be the safest place to start. We planned a two-month tour that encompassed visits to all the family and to the four corners of Britain. And then the storms hit! One hurricane after another lashed the U.K. a few weeks ago and when we looked at the potential forecast for April, we cancelled almost all our plans and settled on sunny Spain instead. However, we first had to visit the family members in England whom we had not seen for more than two years, and so we dressed to suit the proverb that we learned as children. “March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers...”
But we were children long before “climate change” upended the weather. Two weeks of sunshine with temperatures hovering near 20 degrees have brought Britain into bloom more than a month early. As we drove across the country from London to the West of England the buds burst, and flowers simply shot out of the roadsides...
The darling buds of May burst forth– in March! Daffodils, primroses, cowslips, celandines, peonies and magnolias were all in bloom, together with the first tulips and bluebells. Even the palm trees had put on their summer fronds...
By the end of our first week with barely a cloud in the sky and summer-like temperatures we thought, 'this won't last'. But it did. The Tudor houses and great cathedral of the ancient market town of Hereford simply glowed in the warm sunshine...
Hereford cathedral was begun 1079 but its most famous antiquity is this map of the known world that was created on a sheet of vellum made from a whole calf's skin around 1300...
The Mappa Mundi was neglected for centuries but was restored in 1855. It is so rare and valuable that it was carefully hidden during the Second World War. However, in 1988, the cathedral was in such bad shape physically and financially that consideration was given to selling the map. Many benefactors came to the cathedral's aid and allowed it to retain one of its great treasures. The other treasure of Hereford Cathedral is the world's largest chain library...
In medieval times, beautifully handwritten and illuminated manuscripts took months or even years to write and many of the books in this library are five or six hundred years old, These theological tomes were irreplaceable, so were chained to the shelves to prevent light-fingered clergymen from adding to their private collections.

Our visit to Hereford enabled Sheila to re-unite with five of her childhood friends: a reunion which was planned to take place in 2020 but was delayed by Covid...
Here are the six friends together with Sir Edgar Elgar, the famous composer who was born in Hereford.
From Hereford we continued southwest to Devon, stopping overnight in one of the country's oldest hotels: The George at Norton St. Philip...
We slept in a room that has been in use for some 700 years. Luckily, they have changed the beds.
From Norton St. Philip, we travelled on to the north Devon coast before crossing Exmoor to the south coast at Exmouth where Sheila was reacquainted with a friend from her teaching days in China forty years ago...
It may be March, but the warm spring weather brought out the buckets and spades and we even saw people swimming in the sea...
Now we are in London. There is so much to see and do that we may not rush off to Spain right away. In the meantime – here's a question for our Canadian readers. All over southern England we spotted these giant 'nests' high in the trees. But what kind of creature could have made them?
If you have read this far – thank you very much for your patience. We have so many travel tales still to tell and have a lot of catching up to do. So, we are very happy that are joining us on our travels. See you soon from sunny London.

Posted by Hawkson 15:55 Archived in England

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So nice to see you are on the move again! I went to Scotland last month and I certainly did not get your spring weather!🤪

by Abby Gossage

No one paddling in Sandwell beach--still too cold although we can match the daffodils and bluebells.
Nests? Some crazy vine heading for the sun?

by R and B

Oh for blue skies and HEAT, our blue skies are awfully cold! Glad you are having fun, exploring and connecting with friends and family. Hmm, I think that is the nest of ... a very industrious bird or an intrepid squirrel.

by Helen Myers

Glad you got to Britain and are enjoying your friends and being there

by Linda

So good to hear from you. Vancouver is blooming heaven. Happy you are once again on the road. Looking forward to your adventures. Stork nests?

by Sue Fitzwilson

So glad to see you’re travelling again and getting such great weather!! Spring is here too, but there’s no English beer on Gabriola!
I think those “nests” are mistletoe perhaps?
Looking forward to more of your adventuring!

by Alison Fitzgerald

So lovely to see these photos. Thank you for travelling for those of us who can't easily. And it's good to know you are well.

by Janet

So glad you are enjoying the wonderful weather! It’s a beautiful day here but rain is forecast for the next few days.
I hope you’re off to the theatre soon- Henry V perhaps?

by Heather

Looks like you’re having a great time! And I think those are storks' nests… the kind that bring the babies.

by catherine gilroy

Hurrah that the weather has been so good for you in England after all! We've been having lots of clear days here in Switzerland, too, though often punctuated by a cold north wind. Lovely photos! I think those are clumps of misletoe up in the trees. I've got an insider's advantage as the same formations can also be seen here.

by Shelley Tillemans

So nice to know you have started your travel again. Have lots of fun and tell us about your days on journey.

by 米倉 芳枝

So happy to see you on the move. I travel along with you, in spirit. I am thrilled that you have this perfect weather. Please keep taking photos and writing posts. Happy and safe travels Sheila and Jim. Hugs to you both. Trudy

by Trudy

So it is true - if you want to attract the women, get a really cool bicycle! Apparently takes a while and requires patience though. You six are so obviously having a great time of it. A tribute to you all that you’ve kept friendships alive for all those years. No small feat. Perhaps a future statue in order.

by Tom Whalley

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