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Posts Tagged ‘bluebells’

Having enjoyed the annual wonder of the bluebell woods again, with this year’s display being particularly impressive (is ‘spectacular’ too histrionic a term for such an understated miracle?), and despite having taken approximately a million photographs (or, at least, enough to fill my camera’s memory card, which I believe is a first, in a fairly futile attempt to capture the ‘far-as-the-eye-can-see’ quality of the scene), I had originally decided not to share (mostly out of deference to Sylvia, who is quite possibly still experiencing icy blasts, sub-zero temperatures, and horizontal snow, and partly because I did share a couple of years ago).

Then I read, on someone else’s blog, that 90% of the world’s bluebells are to be found in British woods, and relented. I have no idea if that information is accurate, and no real notion of how I would research its authenticity, so it is presented to you – with a health warning – in rather the way my old therapist used to preface anything dubious she wished to say (but from which she also wished to distance herself), with the formula, “as my old therapist, who was a Very Old Frenchwoman, used to say to me…”. My own therapist was a charming American in Paris:  imagine the New Yorker made flesh. I went to her in grief, after my mother died, and stayed to be nursed through the final illness of my marriage. I stopped going when our session had morphed into a series of unsustainbly expensive chats over tea. Several years later I met the Beloved, and he introduced me to the New Yorker, which I recognised immediately as V-. made ink.

But back to the bluebells. I don’t know if 90% of them are in our native woods, but certainly, they are worth celebrating, and photographing, and sharing as widely as possible, and all the more so if most of the world is missing out.

Anyway, we grasped the moment, seized the day like champions, and indulged in some general-purpose cavorting and frolicking. Some tree-clambering was attempted by some members of the party (with attendant rescuing occasionally required by other, taller members of the party), and remarkably few bluebells were harmed in the process.

  

Also, we had the woods entirely to ourselves and while I’m sorry more people weren’t out enjoying them, I was also moved, and grateful for our luck. We had been blessed, in our modern, busy world, with a brief, quiet miracle of timeless – and entirely unpurchasable – perfection.

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If you go down to the woods today

If you go down to the woods today… even if, say, you’re not feeling quite well, and have a sore throat, and a temperature, and aren’t quite sure it’s worth getting out of bed at all, and if you choose to go to the Wenallt, just on the northern edge of Cardiff, about a two-minute drive from the quiet suburban homes of Rhiwbina, you will be rewarded for your effort with the sight of a most stunningly beautiful patch of native woodland, enjoying its finest hour.

As you get out of your car (and I will assume you are in a car, as it is the more likely, and the effect I am about to describe is more sudden, and correspondingly description-worthy), the first thing that will strike you is the fragrance…

Wenallt bluebells

of a million bluebells. As you glance across the small clearing where your car is parked, and into the woods themselves, you will begin to see them. Or rather, you will see a purple haze at ground level where they cover the entire wood. I have to say, I have seen quite significant patches of bluebells in woods before now and been very thrilled by them, I have imagined myself to be in that object of romantic contemplation, “a bluebell wood”. Well now I know that I was laboring under a benign delusion: I never saw a bluebell wood till yesterday.

wild bluebellSo, now, for as long as I’m in Cardiff, I will make sure to come here every year, and view them, rather as the Japanese do hanami – cherry blossom viewing – engaging in which activity has long been a personal fantasy of mine (cherry blossom is an ongoing fascination). Cherry blossom itself will wait for now, though perhaps not that long either, since I have an old friend in London who informs me that there is plenty of cherry blossom to be seen in Bermondsey (and I am reminded that I knew this had at least been true in the past, from Pepys’s diary, where he strolls along the Thames at Bermondsey, through cherry blossom orchards, and I further noted the fact that my Bermondsey friend does indeed live beside the river, in “Cherry Orchard Road”).

But it’s a wonderful thing to be able to seize the beauty that is here, and close at hand, rather than gazing at the blossom forecasts for Tokyo, and Nara, and all the rest. So here’s to one of the finer things in Cardiff: a tranquil, fragrant bluebell wood, no more than a couple of miles from the heart of Wales’s capital, yet still quiet and gently-used even on a pleasant bank holiday weekend. Perfect, right in the Here and Now.

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