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Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Of Treasure Hunts, Garden Herbs and Castles- a day out

Yesterday Kevin and I visited my Gran in Coventry. She lives in what would have been a state of the art house in the 70s, with geometric shapes everywhere. I went straight to my favorite part of the house, the attic. I would spend hours there as a child, pretending I lived there, in an adult-free world. This attic is full of treasures, real and imagined ones, there used to be a skeleton up there, joined together by strings, it belonged to my grandfather who was a doctor, purchased at a time when this was a standard requirement for medical students as learning material. Antique rocking horses, beautiful wooden boxes containing glass jars still filled with multicolored ointments, a looming grandfather clock, a Victorian pram and baby's cristening dress, black and white photos of people from another age, distantly related to me - gentlemen sporting top hats and giant mustaches, toddlers posing with straight faces and miniature walking sticks, mothers and grandmothers sitting with their hair tightly curled, wearing corseted starched black dresses with white collars. We rummage, delighted at these findings, the attic is like a window to other worlds, each object transports us and offers us a glimpse of the daily lives of people long gone. Eventually, covered in dust, cobwebs and unlived memories, we return to the current day, clambering down the attic ladder as my Gran calls us for lunch. Just like being a child again. 

My Gran's garden is wild and beautiful, she is very proud of it and for good reason. At the age of 81 she is outstandingly fit and caring for her garden no matter the weather has not played a small part in this. We feast on homemade bread, still hot from the oven, lettuce and pea soup, hummus, potato salad, beetroot salad, all brought to life by fresh herbs straight from the garden

Full and content we decide to take an afternoon trip to Stratford, Shakespeare's birth town. We  wander through ancient cobbled streets, admiring the black and white tudor houses, so old they look crumpled and bent, as though about to tip over. We stop by a 13th Century stone church, the bees busy among the wild flowers and ancient tombstones peaking out of the overgrown grass. Nature bringing life and death together. We admire the ruins of Kenilworth castle, imagining where the mote would have been, and trying to reconstruct in our minds what this place would have looked like hundreds of years ago.

The sun is going down and as we drive back through the rolling countryside, with its farmhouses and golden yellow rapeseed fields, I think how wonderful it is to escape the busy city. To remind myself of life and time outside my own small bubble of a world, of people long gone, of nature that stretches out forever,  of the simple things that make life so enjoyable - exploring, sharing good food, and making memories.

courtesy of jamesfcarr

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