Friday 30 October 2015

November Sojourn


The Celsus Library at Ephesus built between A.D. 100 and 110 by Gaius Iulius Aquila for his father, the senator Tiberius Iulius Celsus Polemaeanus.
Now that November is almost here it's time for us to take our leave. We look forward to renewing our acquaintance with one of the great cities of the world. Like Alexander the Great before us, our travels will then take us to a place known from Classical sources as Asia Minor - the setting for a legend described in Homer's Iliad and the scene of a ten year long war. We shall visit a recently excavated ancient city where the last of St.John, the Apostle, sent is seventh of the seven letters - Revelations lll: 14 - 22 which includes "Behold, I stand at the door and knock". 
I wonder if we will discover anymore surreal landscapes?

From past experience, November is a lovely month
  the sunshine helps foreshorten our British winter and
we have always enjoyed delicious food together with a gracious welcome

Sunday 25 October 2015

Return to Rousham

 just look at all the jewels mother nature has draped around our garden
and it looks as if today will be perfect to walk William Kent's C18th landscape at Rousham
We fell in love with Rousham on our last visit, but now we love it even more, it's a gem
Palladian stable-block designed by William Kent
We had Rousham almost to ourselves,
but someone else was present having a photo shoot - that's Monty Don in the middle! 
I always imagined he was tall
BBC Gardeners' World 
This is Monty's "Twitter" comment for the 20th October
"Spent the day at Rousham. England's greatest garden under a blue sky and warm sun, lit by brilliant autumnal colour..Sublime"
So, it appears Monty agrees with us!
We enjoyed our picnic sitting in one of William Kent's pavilion seats whilst watching Monty pose in front of the Scheemaker statue, and then they left,
but the family dog chose to come with us. 
After paying the entrance fee, described here, you collect a leaflet which shows a reproduction of the original walking circuit drawn in 1738  
The grounds are beautifully tended by half a dozen gardeners who lovingly maintain it  
Dying Gladiator
Rousham represents the first phase of English landscape design, i.e before Capability Brown or Humphry Repton. It remains almost as William Kent left it, one of the few gardens of this date to have escaped alteration. Happily the features that delighted C18th visitors are mostly still in situ. 
Octagonal pool with the figure of Pan lurking in the shadows
The upper cascade where Venus presides over the glade
Lower cascade with Venus in the distance 
The Watery Walk takes you on a gentle stroll through the woods accompanied by the most magnificent serpentine rill
It gently twists and turns as it chuckles merrily on its journey
running in and out of a feature called the Cold Bath before eventually reaching its source on the brow of the hill
 near to the Temple of Echo
The hill drops down to the River Cherwell which flows beneath Heyford Bridge built nearly 800 years ago
Watched over by Apollo
Apollo seen from Venus' Glade
Following the course of the river we catch our first glimpse of Kent's Praeneste Terrace
The terrace is modelled on the Temple of Fortune at Praeneste, Italy; a famous Roman ruin, much studied by Renaissance architects Ligorio and Palladio, and generally visited as a prime site on Grand Tours
A lovely place to sit, to contemplate, to dream, and while away some time 
whilst the Cherwell meanders on through the meadows to Oxford and then the Thames
Arcading, soft colours, elegant seating - I feel as if I've been transported to Italy 'perfezione' but no! I pinch myself, I'm still here, sitting in the Cotswolds!
We couldn't resist a final peep into the walled garden

now filled with autumn flowers and colours
Rousham's historic C17th dovecote 
A  bag full of 'help yourself apples' came home with us - there will be plenty of apple pies and crumble to enjoy during the winter months, but we shall definitely return to Rousham again, and again, and again♡

Saturday 24 October 2015

Sparrow Hawk

She's a familiar sight in our garden, causing pandemonium amongst the little garden birds. They're quick to dive for cover as she jets in, silently, and swiftly, a fighter - an efficient killer on the prowl, the hunt is on.
Look away now if you are of a nervous disposition!
We did not see the brutal act take place
and accidentally disturbed her whilst she ate
but she'll be back to finish off the pigeon
if not, tonight, the fox may find a tasty treat
I hope its gone by the morning, but who will clean the feathers up?