Summer treasure 14: Chalk streams

River Wylye leaf26/7/20 The other day I found myself standing ankle-deep in the River Wylye.

When it was time to go, I said to my friend Peter, ‘Can you leave me here and come back for me tomorrow?’

I was joking, of course. But not entirely.  Between the long moments of blankness – the simple staring at the crystal-clear surface, at the colourful gravel bed, listening to the flowing water – thoughts came and went.

‘I could stay here for hours.’

‘I love chalk streams.’

‘Is this what meditation is?’

‘A chalk stream is actually all I need to feel better. It could cure me of anything.’

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Spring treasure 14: ‘Heaven in a Wild Flower’

Cowslip23/4/20 I thought I had forgotten to write my final winter treasure in the turmoil that was the month of March. I had to look back through the list of blogs on my website to check. It was a relief to find I hadn’t forgotten to do it; but slightly worrying that all recollection of it had since deserted me.

This month I did forget, until a few days ago when I realised we were approaching the last week of April. I’m not entirely sure how we got here.

Having made a huge effort over the last few weeks to achieve something I never would have had the confidence to attempt even a few years ago, I have been feeling exhausted. Apart from the first day, this has not been the kind of exhaustion where I can’t drag myself off the sofa because my limbs feel like lead, but more a mental and emotional sort where I feel I have used up a year’s worth of ‘sticking my neck out’, as a friend put it, and now my mind is intent on shutting itself down. Doing anything other than being entirely passive is too much effort.

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Wyken Hall Gardens

Big Fluff31/10/2016 I have Wyken Vineyards to blame for my addiction to Brahma chickens, amongst other things. I first saw them in the orchard at Wyken Hall, along with peacocks, turkeys, guinea fowl and other chicken breeds. I couldn’t stop laughing: when they walked (read: waddled) or ran, they reminded me of somewhat overweight matronly housekeepers in full 19th century gear. Ridiculously fluffy, heavy chickens with trousers on. ‘I absolutely have to have some of those!’ excluded all other thoughts, and the search began that evening.

It is my favourite Suffolk garden open to the public, and not only because of the animals. It is a beautiful place, and one for dreaming in, which I have only lately come to realise is an indispensible element of my life. £12* is no price at all to pay for a season of inspiration and unlimited dreaming opportunities…

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