No Snowdrops

somewhere in Devon

Another family outing today – out in the fresh air, stretch the legs, a bit of bonding amidst the joys of nature. I had found out it was Snowdrop Sunday at Marwood Gardens, not too far away – and thought it was all decided. Silly of me really, because it turned out there was an admission charge, provoking a great deal of animated discussion over lunch and cries of ‘… not paying £3.50 to go and look at somebody’s snowdrops… ‘.

Then followed helpful suggestions from me of other places to go – but they were all closed, too far away, too wet and windy, too expensive,  or totally unsuitable for wheeling a baby buggy. Half an hour later, it turned out that my daughter and I were talking about two different Snowdrop Sundays. Apparently there was another at Hartland Abbey – Hartland being the rocky point  jutting out into the Atlantic with ferocious storms and seas, and is,as far as I am concerned, unfit for human life during  the winter months. ‘OK’, I said, ‘ which do we prefer’, and of course it was Hartland Abbey (also £3.50 each I might add).  ‘That’s OK, I said, just so long as I dont have to be driven around aimlessly for hours through the countryside on a wet and cold Sunday afternoon – because there is nothing I hate more.’

It grew darker and colder and started to rain as we set off. The car brakes were making a nasty grinding noise, and what with being jammed in the stuffy back seat between baby and daughter, windows steamed up and an infuriating satnav and loud music  coming from the front…   I found it difficult to keep up the level of conversation. There was an interesting sub-dialogue from the two grown men in the front seats: ‘ Why do you always have to argue? I’m not arguing, it’s you that’s always arguing…’

We found the Abbey, no thanks to the satnav – we found the entrance gate anyway, and a notice saying that unfortunately Snowdrop Sunday had to be cancelled, owing to the car park being flooded by melting snow.

We thought we would take a look at the desolate rocky coastline at Hartland Quay.  We heaved ourselves out of the car and managed to assemble the buggy in the teeth of the Atlantic gale.  The baby was hauled out into the rain and wind,outraged, and we all huddled round to protect him, like penguins at the North Pole, as he was snuggled down into his nice waterproof capsule. We made our way along the coast path in front of the hotel that smells permanentlyof chip-frying  oil.  I feebly attempted to take photos and fell over on the slippery rocks and grazed the palms of my hands.

We soon had enough of that, and drove off again into the rain. We weren’t quite sure where we were going – just vaguely inland. I lost track of time. I think I might have lost consciousness for a moment or two…

Some time later, we saw what looked like a nice bit of forest on the horizon and headed towards it for a walk. We parked by an avenue of moss-covered trees, that were once ancient Devon hedges. They gave off a vivid and seductive green light. They are growing on solid earth banks, and you can see where they were woven and coppiced many years ago.

It stopped raining .  There was no wind. Everything began to look a little brighter. There was only one thing we could possibly do, and that was to resort to a snowball fight.

Here are a couple of previous outings, if you have the stamina … Torridge Boat Trip; and Spot the Ponies

About throughstones

I am primarily a visual artist, living on the North Devon coast, a beautiful semi-rural area in South West England. I am interested in full engagement with 'place' and the eternal movement of life - particularly as it relates to what we call 'the natural environment'.
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9 Responses to No Snowdrops

  1. Betty, your quote about the trees still makes my skin crawl – as did the actual trees in my photo.
    Thank goodness for the Labrador videos. Thanks for sending them, Redstarcafe, and once again opening up new vistas and dreams.
    Pamela – thanks for your kind comments. £3 to view yr snowdrops sounds reasonable to me. Do you think you could throw in some cream teas?


  2. Pamela Robertson-Pearce says:

    Per usual you take really beautiful photos Linda!
    Sounds like a Gordon trip through and through!
    How did Thomas like it?
    Despite loads of snow or maybe because of loads of snow we DO have snowdrops! Should I charge £3 for a viewing? Would it be worth the trip for a family discount perhaps?
    Ciao P


  3. redstarcafe says:

    Linda, the Hartland Quay rocks reminded me of what the Vikings must have seen when they landed in the New World. My favourite TV ads right now are for travel in Newfoundland and Labrador. Here are some lovely videos. Some of the images look as though they might have been taken by Roberta Bondar, from space.


  4. ‘Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.’
    ( Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Chapter 1, first line)

    but it is lovely to read about and see such cold soggy pleasures after what we have experienced.
    A friend of mine here grew up in Devon, but wasn’t from there. One day an old rustic chap chap said to her more or less that she she’d never really be a Devon person because ‘your blood’s not in the trees’.I think it was those trees he was talking about…


    • Thanks so much for reminding me of ‘Anna Karenina’. Really cheered me up!
      Yes – with what you are going through in Austalia, it makes days like this all the more precious, and of course I was not serious about the dysfunctional stuff. This morning there was a fabulous sunrise over the hills, streaking the whole sky with glowing pink, and I could not stop thinking about the Australian fires.
      Not sure about the Devon trees. I find them irresistably attractive, but claustrophobic and highly spooky at the same time.


  5. Maggie says:

    Thanks for your compliments – I read your blog because I’m an ecologist who can see the beauty in her surroundings, but who needs artists to spark new ways to interact with and interpret it…


    • ah!! I have recently come across a blog from Nova Scotia that really touched me – (she is in my blogroll)
      I also need to be shown different perspectives on what is important in life. BTW I have not been hovering over the ‘comments’ page since i last replied ! I have been reading about the awful fires in Australia.


  6. Maggie says:

    It’s not just me that has days like that then…

    Great shot of mossy trees, and I think you were pretty formidable to go out at all.

    And with considerable trepidation and hesitation, not wanting to add another eyebrow raising moment to your memories of the day (but also not being able to resist my obsession with biogeographical correctness…) it’s south, not north pole for the penguins…

    Sorry, just couldn’t help myself. It’s the biologist training in me.

    please forgive – I’m not a troll really!

    ps, I love the sky stones.


    • Thanks Maggie for your comment about the penguins – I got a bit emotionally carried away there! I’d be very grateful if you would put me right on any other blunders I make. As an artist passionate about taking an ecological perspective on life, I am no wildlife expert.
      I took a look at your site, which I like very much indeed, and will peruse it more when I can. I see you live in North Devon too!
      About the family outing – my theory is: that just as no two snowflakes are the same – no two families are dysfunctional in quite the same way.


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