Let's just say I don't like driving in the UK. I had no problem with the left side drive, and I absolutely loved the roundabouts. But I hated, and I mean hated the narrow roads. M25, no problem, the larger A roads, a breeze, then suddenly I found us in our rather wide Passat feeling like every oncoming vehicle was going to smash right into my face. To make up for it I decided to let the left side of the car meet the curb a few times. So what would it be head-on collision or to spin out wildly because my wheels were up on the curb?
By the time we got to Sissinghurst I was a basket case. And since we had to drive again the next day, and the next, and the next, I had a hard time letting go of my anxiety. And, I had planned the driving part so carefully that I felt like I had let myself (and John) down by not being able to actually drive very well in England. I should add that I am a very good and safe driver in the US. Anyhoo, all of this had me feeling more than a little stressed. As the day wore on I started to feel a bit better about it all, but I still had this underlying feeling of just wanting the whole week to be over. Not a good way to feel about a vacation.
Not to worry, the anxiety was remedied the next day. I started off thinking I would get used to the driving and everything would be okay. But I drove for about five minute and then just pulled over and had John take over. Having driven on a lot of twisty, narrow roads in California in his youth, John was much better at it than I was. As many of you know I am someone who always wants (needs) to be in control. So giving up the control of the car was a big thing, but I was in such a bad way that it felt so good to let someone else drive. And it wasn't too long before I actually started to enjoy myself.
But, back to Sissinghurst. We had been there once before in July of 2006 or so. The weather the day we arrived felt a lot like that hot, sunny, July day. It was great weather to be there, but the sun was so bright that it made taking pictures pretty difficult. Not to mention that the garden was only open from 11 to 5, which doesn't give one the opportunity to take advantage of morning or evening light for photos.
For those who might not know, Sissinghurst was the home of Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicholson. The bought the place around 1937 and turned the wreck of a property into one of the most important and influential gardens in England, if not the world.
|Vita's study is half way up the tower and is so very cool.|
I am the blue speck at the top right.
|See, that's me.|
|The orchard meadow is my favorite part.|
|The guy on the bench has the right idea.|
|The building furthest back is the B&B we spent the night in.|
|Reading The Flame Trees of Thika in the orchard meadow overlooking the moat.|
|One of the nice things about staying on the estate was having the time to walk the trails. I love, love, love, the meadows.|
|Although we took this walk midday. We also went this way in the evening as we walked to a pub for dinner.|
|So many things going on in these meadows.|
|Couldn't you just die? I felt like I was in a novel.|
|This was the view from our bedroom window.|
|Don't you just expect to see someone in a bonnet?|