At the beginning of last week we had planned to visit some nearby gardens and as luck would have it, being that at the time my car was still out of action, the day dawned bright and sunny. In fact, it was so much warmer than I'd anticipated, we set off a little earlier, so that we could take our time.
With lunch tucked away in my rucksack, along with several bottles of water, we set off walking along a narrow track, through the fields and down towards the river. All the while bees and butterflies were crossing our path, enjoying the early morning sunshine, all eager to reach the abundance of wildflowers at the foot of the hedgerows.
We stopped for a while at the side of the river in order to enjoy a mid morning snack of flapjack and a cooling drink. Lily was mainly preoccupied with climbing on the rocks and searching for minnows, the field behind us was filled with oxeye daisies swaying in the gentle breeze.
We continued along the path, crossing the bridge, then along the quiet narrow lanes to our destination. With all the picnic tables packed away for the time being, we found a cool shaded spot beneath the trees to enjoy our lunch. While I was eating, out of the corner of my eye I noticed what I thought was a leaf moving. Watching closer, I saw it was actually a small mouse popping it's head out of a hole, then disappearing again.
The gardens were looking so beautiful in the sunshine and, as you can tell from the photographs, with visitor numbers being limited, it was lovely and quiet there. We followed the path as it weaved around the rockery, admired the kitchen garden (always my favourite) and orchard, and watched as the brilliant blue Damselflies hovered above the ponds.
Lily was beside herself with glee to discover some water sprinklers and it was with a slightly soggier child that I left a little while later.
Our walk home took us back alongside the river once again but on the opposite bank this time, the trees providing some much needed shade from the heat of the sun. Of course, while we were still a little way from home, the unpredictable weather provided us with a sudden heavy downpour of rain. Fortunately, this had been expected so we had some thin waterproof jackets with us. Although, I admit I was a little reluctant to wear mine. The rain, falling in large warm droplets, felt so refreshing against my bare arms and legs and the air was filled with that wonderful petrichor scent that only occurs when it rains after a spell of hot, dry weather.
It was such an enjoyable day out and I hope, now that restrictions are beginning to relax a little, we will be able to go a little further afield another time.