In need of yarn for a project and, more especially, some thinking time, I took myself off to town yesterday on the bus. Bus journeys round here are quite different from those in London, and it took me a while to get used to it when we first moved here. In London it is more often than not a slow process through the city, with lots of stopping and starting. Round these 'ere parts there is something of the roller coaster about it, and sitting upstairs at the front can certainly make you aware of your own mortality.
Looking down from the bus continued Sunday's Open Gardens theme - front gardens with perfect lawns and flower beds bursting with colour, glimpses of back gardens with neat veggie plots and bamboo and netting just waiting to be covered with sweet peas, and one garden filled with a menagerie of clay squirrels, cats, gnomes and rabbits, all painted in bright colours, under flag poles where the Union flag and the St George's cross flapped in slow motion. Then another lovely garden, all neat and trimmed, except for a large oval under the tree where wildflowers had been sown, all oranges, purples, green, gold - a miniature meadow, the colours of Quality Street wrappers. There was something rather touching about the effort and care that so many had put into tending their gardens. Planting a seed is quite an act of hope, that you'll be there to see it grow and come into flower.
Soon we were out of town and into rolling countryside (have you noticed that the countryside always rolls? Except for Monday morning, when it utterly rocked) passing thatched cottages and tumbledown barns, while branches of trees cracked thunderously against the roof of the bus as it hurtled along the narrow twisting roads. Then passing open fields, everything lush and full and waiting to burst. Green fields washed with the palest lavender blue of borage, or edged with the blood stain of poppies. Soft grey greens, yellowy greens, blue, pink, mauve greens.
As my lovely C would tell you, there have been times since
moving here that I have almost cried with the sheer joy of it all.
Sitting in the garden listening to the birds singing, walking the old
railway line route, or stopping for a while beside the river, can have me
welling up, speechless and delighted just to be here. Don't get me wrong
- there are some things that irritate me beyond belief, but in the main life is pretty wonderful. Sitting on the bus, just thinking, looking at all of this and beyond, out towards the horizon, was one of those times when I felt very glad to be alive.
* Michael Marra sings this here.