Thursday, 31 May 2012

Enjoy yourself; it's later than you think

A lovely few days have been spent away from the laptop although I didn't stick to my intention not to use the camera!  And what weather it has been for simply being rather than observing.  Today a soft, fine rain is falling gently on the garden and it feels as if all the plants are opening their arms to it.  My parents have been staying and are now on their way home so here is a whistlestop tour of what has been happening in the last couple of weeks.

Old friends who live in Canada came to stay.  There is something wonderful about the friendships that endure long spaces of time when you don't see each other.  The picking up again, the sense of connection, is always a delight.  There was a huge space of time when we were barely in touch as the rush and hustle of work and raising young families ate up our time on both sides of the Atlantic.  For the last few years we have picked up again with an ease and deep pleasure which amazes me.  You don't need to share the minutiae of your life to have that sense of being on the same wavelength, of finding the same things funny, of seeing the world in a similar way, with enough differences to add spice and surprise.  Lovely.

We went to look at Rug Chapel.  There are of course hundreds of reasons why you would want to come to North Wales but if you haven't heard of Rug, add it to your list (and come!).

From the outside it sits, plain and simple, in a quiet setting off the road from Ruthin to Bala.


But open the door to a richly decorated world.


Every scrap of the roof is painted or carved.



Every pew end has its own mythic beast.


And the whole watched over by this fellow:


The last inscription reads:
"yrhoeddel er hyd a for aros a defudd yn udd og yn nos."

These are the last two lines of a poem from the Englynion y Misoedd and translate:

"Lifetime, however long its stay
will come to an end by night and by day."

I would like to be able to tell you that my Welsh was equal to the translation but it would not be true.

***

Then a couple of days with a lovely French couple staying  reminded us that our French is lamentably rusty.   It was  less so when they left!  They were charming.  We hope we will see them again.  And then off to Scotland for a few days walking.

We used to walk in Scotland a lot but life, family, house, garden and holiday cottage had crowded it out in recent years.  We went to Braemar.  The sun shone steady from early morning and the air was warm on your skin.  Is there anywhere more beautiful than Britain when the weather is wonderful?


We walked from the Linn of Dee along the river and up into the hills.



It was good just to be together.  There was a lightness of step, a fizz of excitement in the air.  It is good to be able to play our roles for others, to be a parent, a grandparent, a son or daughter and to care for those we love but it is good too sometimes to step away from all that and just be ourselves, thrillingly unencumbered.

We walked.  I panted a bit.  I had forgotten the effort required to get yourself up a Scottish hill, for which our evening walk up our own hill is inadequate preparation.  When we stopped and I lay back into the heather the heat and the silence sank into my bones.

We had a day off walking and visited Crathes Castle and its gardens.  The castle is  sixteenth century,  turreted, floors piled on top of each other filled with beautiful objects, furnishings, silver and carvings.  I did look and I did love it but I was missing my garden fix and when we came down the last staircase I came flying out of the front door, desperate to get into the garden and look at plants.


It was too early for the famous double herbaceous borders but to be honest, although I admire them and will always find colour and form combinations to stop me in my tracks, I am as much taken by the corners full of trilliums


and the massy curves of the yew hedges.


On two of the nights we were away we ate at a small restaurant in Braemar called The Gathering Place which I would really recommend.  On the walls were quotes of all kinds, ranging from Miss Piggy's "Never eat more than you can lift" to this one: "Enjoy yourself; it's later than you think."

39 comments:

  1. Great pictures, what a chapel! I know what you mean about meeting up with old friends, it's like we just parted yesterday.

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    1. The chapel is amazing, built in 1637 so just a little younger than our house!

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  2. Dear Elizabeth,

    Welcome back. I am jolly pleased to read about your travels both near and far. I have greatly enjoyed reading those alluring snippets you have shared with us. Absolutely glorious. All of it!

    Stephanie

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    1. It was glorious Stephanie. The sun shone and the company was good!

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  3. You have been busy. I keep meaning to go to Scotland its part of the Uk I really dont know and would love to visit one day. Your photos have made me think I should do this soon

    Thanks for sharing

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    1. There are some great gardens Helen. I have an ambition to go to Inverewe in the North West and also to Little Sparta on the borders.

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  4. I love Rug Chapel but it's a long time since we've been there, silly of us as it's not so far.

    Friendships that endure are so very special :D

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    1. I am on a bit of a mission to encourage people to visit Rug Chapel. I was talking tonight to a friend who has lived here all his life, driven past it countless times and never been in!

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  5. So glad you had lovely weather for your trips, but the gentle rain is welcome today. I must visit the chapel it looks wonderful - lovely pictures

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    1. We could have a little day trip to Rug if you can spare the time!

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  6. How incredible is the Rug Chapel - thanks for those photos. It seems almost Scandinavian in its rich decoration. And your header photo - I see your giant scarlet poppies are out - mine are j...u...s...t on the unfurl! I love them - though they don't last long.

    I so agree with finding time to be just yoursleves... I wouldn't want to be without my children and grandchildren, or my mother, but commitments can weigh heavily at times.

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    1. Ah, I really wish the header photo was of my border Lynne but it is Bodnant garden! My poppies are dusty pink and purple and not quite out yet.

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    2. Hah! have just looked more carefully! of course, it's a HUGE border -and ...erm...the walls kinda give it away too, don't they? Sheesh.

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    3. Wouldn't it be something to have walls like that! We can dream...

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  7. How beautiful it all is. You make me sighhhhhhhhh!

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    1. I hope that sighing is good Sandy! Could go either way.

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  8. What an amazing chapel! Scotland looks beautiful in the sunshine too, glad you had a lovely break.

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    1. Scotland and Wales for that matter are fabulous in the sunshine, even pretty fabulous in the rain sometimes!

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  9. All absolutely awe inspiring!! From the beautiful Rug Chaple and its ceiling to your holiday in France. thanks so much for sharing. Joan

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    1. Definitely worth getting to Rug if you are ever up in our part of Wales Joan.

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  10. This is a lovely blog post. Rug Chapel isn't a million miles from where I live either and is certainly a place I would love to visit. The pictures are amazing.

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    1. Wouldn't take you long to get to Rug from your part of the world Molly. If you do, come and visit us too!

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  11. Rug chapel looks amazing. I can't believe that I have never heard of it before having spent most summer school holidays in Oswestry. I must have gone past it at some stage.

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    1. You would have gone in the vicinity if you went from Oswestry west towards Snowdonia I think Susan.

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  12. Now I really want to come for a visit -- the chapel is stunning!

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    1. Well have a look at our holiday cottage and come and have some time in Wales next time you are on your travels!

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  13. North Wales next visit!!
    Great pics.
    I too have friends in far places and love the way we pick up where we left.
    Chris
    Australia

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    1. Oh good! I think having friends in far places is wonderful, new and old.

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  14. Elizabeth, I am so glad that you've allowed us to tag along on this trail and climb.

    Not for the first time, when I see other parts of our world through the web, I truly wonder about the intensity of energy needed to keep my home NYC going.

    Lots of contemplation going on here. xo

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    1. Frances, I so understand what you mean. I think something like that every time I go to a large city, and, sadly, particularly American cities. It cannot contiune.

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  15. Sounds like an idyllic few days, some lovely walks and visits.

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    1. We were so lucky to have the best weather you could wish for.

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  16. Welcome back Elizabeth! You've spent some amazing time during your internet black-out! First of all I am amazed of your new header picture... Where is that? It is a brilliant combination for a hot border, the purple of the cotinus brilliantly smoothens the reds and oranges and that pale yellow of the aquilegia doesn't clash with the red tulips, it brightens! I must take note of this and remember it for a future hot border...
    The place you visited looks stunning, I almost feel like packing and leaving for a trip there...

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    1. Thanks Alberto. It is good to be back! The header picture is from Bodnant in North Wales, not far from me. It is an exceptional garden, very much worth a visit if you can!

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  17. Sorry they are poppies, not tulips!

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  18. What an amazing chapel! Scotland looks beautiful in the sunshine too, glad you had a lovely break.

    Thank you for post..

    Garden Centre Cannock

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it, we certainly did!

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  19. Thank you for this post - I can't believe I have never heard of Rug Chapel. It looks fantastic and is another one for my list of 'must see'

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  20. I was thrilled enough just to see Rug Chapel, but it just kept getting better and better! Thanks for taking us with you!

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