There is an emanation from the heart

which cannot be described,

but is immediately felt and puts

the stranger at his ease.

~Washington Irving

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough...

.........and more.

It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast,

a house into a home,

a stranger into a friend.

~Melody Beattie

Don't be satisfied with stories,

how things have gone with others.

Unfold your own myth.

May my life be like a great

hospitable tree, and may

weary wanderers find in

me a rest.

~John Henry Jowett

Friday, 14 October 2016

Summer Memories

Everywhere is here
and every when is now.

The frost is on the pumpkin, migrating birds fly overhead, and the nights grow long. Compared to just a month ago, England is cool and golden. Every year it happens much the same way. We wait and wait for summer and then we get to early autumn and say, where did the summer go? We wait, sometimes not very patiently, through the dark days of winter, the chilly winds of spring, and in Britain at least, the rainy days of June--we wait. And then summer arrives......

......and brings with it roses,
lots and lots of roses
everywhere you look.

David Austin 
'Brother Cadfael Rose'

......followed by lavender
and with it bees.
'Hidcote' lavender grows
around our birdbath.
In Oxford, summer arrives with a colourful bang, as the students leave and the tourists arrive in full force. College balls, gaudies, encaenias, 'leavers dos', and exams fill the Oxford calendar.

Oxford's Encaenia Ceremony
Students celebrating
the end of exams......
......and colourful hanging baskets,
 add cheer to the city streets.
Our summer begins with both of our birthdays in early July. This year we decided to take the day off on my birthday to explore the southern Cotswolds. As we left Oxford that morning, Holywell Street was lit up with summer ice cream colours.

Once we were out of the city and hit the open
road, we came across the delightful sight of
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and two intrepid
travellers, looking as though they were
 off on a most excellent adventure.

English charm in every direction.

We are a landscape
of all we have seen.
~Isamu Noguchi, 
sculptor and designer of gardens

Our first stop was the village of
Castle Combe, Wiltshire.

Castle Combe, Wiltshire
We ate a pub lunch in front of the market
stall and toasted both of our birthdays--

--and then a little ramble through the village,
trying to be polite and not peer through every
cottage window (but most of them anyway).

We wait, starving for moments
of high magic to inspire us,
but life is full of common
enchantment waiting for
our alchemists eyes to notice.
~Jacob Nordby

We drove on to Stourhead National Trust.....

.....which after 4pm is open for lucky
dogs to walk with their owners.

Stourhead, now owned by the National Trust,
has been described as a "living work of art."

The garden's focal point is the lake, created by
the damming of the river. The pathways wind
around the lake, through woods and opening
to vistas across the lake.


Everywhere you turn, the
views take your breath away.
It's as though you've stepped
into another world.

The groves were 
God's first temples.
~William Cullen Bryant, 
A Forest Hymn

Stourhead as afternoon
fades to evening.
No visit to a National Trust property
(or anywhere for that matter), is
complete without tea & scones.

We even stopped along the way to Facetime with grandchildren so we could all sing Happy Birthday, surrounded by Wiltshire's pastoral beauty--perfect birthday decorations.

Our birthday presents to each other
were new bikes--meet Bluebell!

When I see an adult on a
bicycle,  I do not despair for
the future of the human race.
~H.G. Wells

We had many trips to garden
centres all summer long......

The Burford Garden Company. day-trips to the Cotswolds........

The Oxfordshire
town of Burford.

........and always afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea at Lords of the Manor,
in the village of Lower Slaughter.

Summer is for Pimm's and punting.

Believe me,
my young friend,
there is nothing,
absolutely nothing,
half so much worth
doing as simply
messing about in boats.
~Kenneth Grahame, 
The Wind in the Willows

Punting on the river is an
Oxford & Cambridge tradition.
A punt is a long, low, narrow
boat, steered and powered with
a long pole. Stuart is our master
 puntsman while Jack and I enjoy the
 scenery along the River Cherwell.

The Cherwell Boathouse is the
perfect spot to rent a punt. We
usually punt down to the
Victoria Arms pub for a pint &
some chips before punting back.

Soon the nights were drawing 
in and summer coming to a close.

By September the colours are
beginning to glow richer & warmer.

Merton College &
Christ Church meadow.
When the goldenrod is yellow, 
And leaves are turning brown,
Reluctantly the summer goes-
In a cloud of thistledown.
When squirrels are harvesting
And birds in flight appear-
By these autumn signs we
Know September days are here.
~Beverly Ashour, 

Holywell Street in the
September evening light.
And then summer ends as it began....
with roses.

Tis the last rose of summer,
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone.
~Thomas Moore,
The Last Rose of Summer, 1830


  1. Dear Carrie, You have the gift of gently drawing your readers into your surroundings and sharing your views from the loveliest perspectives. To read your blog is to arrive in Oxford at the best moments and, reading what you've shared, to see beyond the wonderful photos into a part of the heart of England, and your heart, too. Thank you. xoxo Christie

    1. Oh Christie what lovely thoughts and so very appreciated. Thank you for sharing in the beauty of Oxford and the wonderful countryside. xxxooo Carrie

  2. So wonderful to see your blog post again, Carrie. They say familiarity breeds contempt, but not when it comes to Oxford! Always enchanted, always! Especially loved the punt down to the pub for a pint and chips! Thank you again for sharing the beauty of this wonderful city. Jane xo

  3. Absolutely beautiful! Thank you!!

    1. Thank you Marianne--and thank you for stopping by to say hello! xxxoo

  4. So much beauty! I can't stand it! Too much beauty!

    1. I know what you mean! Even after all this time, sometimes it's hard to take it all in--but that's the glory of it too. xxxooo