Gochugaru Girl had a lovely weekend in Devon with lots of blue skies and clotted cream.
So would you rather be in Northern Italy?
This is where Junior 1 is this week, in beautiful Florence and Sienna. It is unlikely that he will be thinking of England. However, being away in Northern Italy inspired Robert Browning to pen one of this nation’s favourite poems: Home-Thoughts, from Abroad.
It always amuses me when I think of a childhood memorising English poems. I quite enjoyed it and it did set me up to write my own poetry later. However, you can imagine it really is difficult to be enthusiastic about daffodils when we don’t grow them in the tropics (not in even in the Cameron Highlands, I assure you).
This weekend, on a walk in the extensive gardens of Killerton in Broadclyst (near Exeter) and coming across flowers blooming in the spring sunshine, and birds singing, I could really appreciate Browning’s sentiments.
Home-Thoughts, from Abroad
by Robert Browning, 1845
O, TO be in England
Now that April ‘s there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossom’d pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops—at the bent spray’s edge—
That ‘s the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children’s dower
—Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!
Below are some of the flowers we came across during our walk. No melon-flower but lots of colour otherwise.
Cyclamen and Camellia
Grape Hyacinth, Hyacinth and Bellis
Helleborus (Christmas Rose)