Over half term in between the rainy miserable days spent tucked up inside playing, baking and sleeping we managed to sneak in a few trips to glimpse the first signs of the changing seasons. Spring is my all time favourite. I probably say this about Autumn, because I do love it too, but I think Spring just tips it for me. I love the hope and optimism, the awaking of nature, the new life and coming out of hibernation. I love seeing those new signs of colour, buds and shoots growing stronger each day, searching out the sunshine and preparing for those longer days ahead. Both Autumn and Spring remind me of the need to reflect on those long seasons of winter and summer, of a time for change, preparing and taking stock. That's what I love about them the most, they give me the most reason and encouragement to really think about what I want and need to achieve or change, to make plans and help me think about what's important. It's so easy to get caught up in what we 'should' be doing that it's easy to forget to keep your feet on the ground or step out of you comfy hibernation.
I feel that Spring often gets overshadowed by the excitement for the summer, whilst I do like Summer I usually find it too long, a bit disappointing, sometimes quite sweaty and a little pressured to have "the best summer ever". Whereas Spring is just free to be enjoyed for what it is. It's slow to start but once it's here, it's everywhere you look. Roadsides and streets are bursting with blossoming trees and flowers, the trees are getting ready to unfurl their new leaves, there's fresh colours everywhere and you know what, the weather is actually always pretty good. Those first few days where you can feel the sun warm you skin for the first time in months, the need to shed your coat for a few hours in the afternoon and of course the darkness retreating a little every day and those evenings inching along to be longer. There's no pressure for it to be hot or sunny, there are just beautiful days to be enjoyed where there's always new life to spot and an ever changing palette of colour before your eyes. When people announce that they're ready for the Summer, or that a nice Spring day "feels like Summer is here!" then I'm the first to fight in Springs corner for it not to be overlooked. Don't wish away this magical, beautiful time of hope and optimistic days, where it's not too hot or not too cold. Where magnolia flowers take your breath away and you find your self taking detours just to spot out the biggest and the best blooms. I'd swap a warm Spring day with fresh air over a hot, humid, sweaty, sticky summers day spent being chased by wasps and hiding in the shade, every time!
ahem...anyway. I shall just step down from my soapbox and hide it away and get on with showing you a few pictures from our walk around one of my favourite National Trust properties, Lacock Abbey. When we arrived we played in the park and ate our lunch outside (the first mini picnic of the year!) and then ran for cover to the cafe from the rain and hail shower, perfectly timed for scones and hot chocolate. The clouds then disappeared as we made our way round the grounds, taking in the carpets of snowdrops, crocus's and emerging daffodils and wild garlic. We stopped by the greenhouse, admiring the sweet smelling hyacinths and trying to stroke the prettiest but grumpiest cat!
Walking through the grounds surrounded by bird song and the gentle sunshine just felt so restorative and calming. We found another cat to stroke, a rope swing and tree stumps to climb. It just felt good to be outside again. We then explored the Abbey as well as Henry Fox Talbots house before heading home. We didn't get to explore the village again this time, but we can always save that for next time!