Tuesday, 28 May 2013

England In May

In this article, in The Daily Telegraph, earlier this month, about getting in training for RideLondon, Boris Johnson wrote that "There is nowhere more beautiful than England in May" with the tulips out and the "hawthorn blossom lying like gunsmoke across the battlefield; the sun soft, everything surging and budding with spring." I might not go quite so far as to say that nowhere is more beautiful than England in May, but when the sun shines, the English countryside or an English garden is indeed a good place to be. Yesterday the sun was soft and, although most of the tulips are over, everything was "surging and budding with spring". Today it is raining and damp and grey again, but one can't have everything.

Like many bloggers, I find myself drawn to taking (and posting) pictures of the seasons and the natural beauty inherent in the changing landscape around me. Recently I have found myself a bit reluctant to add my rather amateur photographic offerings to the many, very beautiful and very professional-looking photos out there, on the grounds that I can't add anything of which you won't find other, and better, versions elsewhere.

My reluctance has been compounded by going through an archive of old family photographs which my best friend had acquired and finding that the only ones that really held our attention were ones of identifiable people. Photographs of landscapes and gardens, flowers and mountains, without the added detail of someone we knew, either personally or by extension, we flipped through without much interest, despite some of them being beautiful images in their own right; photographs of family and friends however, even those now long dead, we pored over, delightedly peering through the windows they gave onto family history and life lived.

Thinking about this, added to my feeling that my posting pictures of landscapes and flowers etc on here might be interesting for me, but possibly not for anyone else much. And this raises the interesting and complex question not of John Donne's "For whom does the bell toll?" but "For whom does the blogger blog?". I've noticed quite a number of bloggers talk about their blogs as places for recording memories for the blogger themselves as much as for anyone else. Looking back through blog archives is clearly a way of remembering and savouring moments that have given delight - a way of reliving good times and happy moments after their passing. Blogs aren't exactly diaries but there's an overlap in places.

Of course lots of the pics posted in blogland give delight to others too, but the point I'm making is that even if they didn't, the posting of them remains important, perhaps even essential, for bloggers themselves. And although I think one of the most important and special aspects of blogging is the possibility of connection with others, there is also a place for blogging that preserves connections with ourselves and the days of our lives that we thread together, like beads on a string; sometimes in deliberate patterns and ordered arrangements; often haphazardly and accidentally and which, whether we like it or not, make up the history of our identity. And part of life's essential survival kit, I think, is remaining interested in that.

So today I am simply going to post some pics I took yesterday afternoon without demur. You may, or may not, find they interest you. There are lots of better pics of England in May out there and there's nothing special about mine, but I am putting them here because if I don't, I will forget the moments of memory they carry for me of a May afternoon in the sunshine. Not big moments, or any kind of dramatic events, but moments that lift my spirits to remember today and perhaps in unknown tomorrows when I want to hang on to the today that will be then be a long-gone yesterday.

And I can't say I won't repeat the exercise from time to time, so feel free to skim through and move on when I do, like I and my BF did, going through that fifty-year-old archive. Normal service will be resumed shortly!

All of these pics, apart from the last, were snapped while walking along a track about 200 yards from home. The apple blossom is in my own garden - the tree is absolutely covered in flowers, as if it is making up for the lack of fruit last year and promising two years' worth of fruit in one.

PS Please would Caroline Saunders and MagsD get in touch with their addresses for their giveaway bags? I haven't heard from you and your bags are waiting to be sent off to you, if you still want them. You may have changed your mind of course, which is fine, but I don't want to send them elsewhere if you are still interested. Let me know by the end of this week (31/5/13) if you still want one. 

E x


  1. Well I've enjoyed your photos very much - especially the bank of cow parsley. Here's hoping we can get out and enjoy it a bit more soon x Jane

  2. I'm a bit of an eye candy junkie, so just love photos, especially ones with colour! Just post what you like, my blog is definitely my virtual diary, where I can record my days, it's just fun when others join in to that's all! Your photos are fab, don't worry too much about things being perfect! :) x

  3. Dear E
    Your photos are beautiful and so evocative of this (still) lovely country at this time of year.
    Best wishes

  4. I love your pastoral images too Elizabeth, they are very lovely and of course personal to you.............I must unashamedly admit to blogging for my own personal pleasure and in the vain hope that future generations of my family may find my blog interesting or even slightly amusing long after I've gone.........my memory is also pretty atrocious lately and so having all the details of a project made is a godsend when I want to make the same item again for whatever reason.

    As you say it is always lovely to connect with like minded others, but sometimes I must admit to feeling a little uncomfortable with the term followers, and would much prefer people to follow my blog because they enjoy reading rather than following for the sake of it..........I think maybe 'friends' of a blog is a much nicer title than followers.
    Kim xx

  5. Blogging is an interesting idea isn't it? Blogland is swamped right now with pictures of budding buds and green greenery as you have pointed out - and in Autumn it will be filled with jack o lanterns and yellowing leaves. That's the nature of it - pardon the pun. You are too modest as usual E - your photos are outstanding and evocative of English springtime. Whether you blog for the preservation of memories, blog to inspire, or blog to offload - they are all worthy reasons for this great virtual diary we all share.

  6. Dear E. Beautiful pics.... xxx

  7. Divine photos. So many reasons to blog. For me it's a journal and it's sharing with the added pleasure of connecting with so many wonderful people - like you. ;-)

  8. Beautiful and what fascinates me is that you say this is just 200 yards from your home - how lovely to have such surroundings on your doorstep! Blogging for me makes me much more mindful of the moment. You've captured your moment on a sunny afternoon in May and let us share it - thank you x :) Helen

  9. Ah, I reckon Wales may well compete with England...but then that's maybe in the eye of the beholder :-)

    I know I've only just recently put pics on my blog which are no great shakes, but they still have a place in my memory bank, and like a previous commenter said, my memory ( being a little poorer than I would like ) can definitely do with the jog! I often think about why I write what I do, not sure I even know always, a mix of journalling and challenging myself...someone out there may just remember that blanket that was nearly finished and ask where it is, is it finished...I certainly need the prompting too!

    Lovely pictures, especially the oil seed rape....nature does colour so well doesn't it?!

  10. Gorgeous photos Elizabeth. I love photos. Real photos. They impact me instantaneously, they mean something. I can smell the flowers, feel the breeze on my cheek. How lovely for you to have these views so close to your home!

  11. Please don't stop posting your pictures. Yes, we get great pleasure from seeing them (especially since I have never seen England in May -- or any season -- in person), but when you go back and read your older posts, it will be a reminder to you of a happy time. I know because I have reread some of my posts, and that's the effect they have had on me:) Also, it does help me remember project details...I like Kim's comment that maybe we should be called 'friends' instead of 'followers.' So, we partly write for others and partly for ourselves. It is a strange combination of personal/impersonal, I agree, but I have enjoyed the connection with others so much.

  12. Well I for one think that your photos are beautiful and have enjoyed looking at them - just to see a little bit of sunshine - whether it be outside the window or via the internet - is a spiritually uplifting experience. I particularly like the top photo - the blue and the green are conventional for summer but that streak of yellow in the middle adds an interesting perspective (a field of Rapeseed?). As for blogging - some people say it's egotistical - the same thing that they say about beocming a teacher, but I think it's more to do with enthusiasm. You see things and you know things and, in the case of crafty blogs, you make things, and you want to impart your enthusiasm for those things to other people and share your discoveries with other people. At heart it stems from altruism rather than egotism. Every few weeks, when I'm tired and have no time, I think to myself "Oh no, haven't blogged again for a week - do I really want to bore other people with the ins and outs of my week?" and half-decide to give up. But when I look back over my posts and remember how I felt when I was doing/reading/visiting/making it reminds me that a blog is very much a 21st century diary, and as a literary person I see the value of diaries as an expression of our times. So keep on sharing your enthusiasms with us - they are greatly appreciated! Judy.

  13. PS - is that elderflower in the 3rd picture or wild garlic?

  14. Your thoughts on blogging mirror mine regarding memories and photos. But YOUR pictures compare with the best ones out there, so you are being overly modest, Miss E.

    Regarding being a sort of personal diary that others can peek into...that is my sentiment. One point here is that I suppose must write with a bit of interest for others, but a stranger happening on my diary doesn't have to read it, right? So perhaps blogging hones our word smithing a bit.

    Your May in England looks as beautiful as the descriptive writer's words.

  15. I like your photos very much - they do capture England in May rather nicely I think. If you enjoyed taking the photos them post them, I say. There aren't many bloggers who write as well as you Elizabeth. I certainly don't! And I find myself in the unusual position of agreeing with something Boris Johnson has said! Hmmm. x

  16. I think your photos capture England in May beautifully. I would rather look at your landscapes than endless photos of babies that I don't know which appear on the occasional blog. Anyway, one of the many reasons I read your blog is for the eclectic mix.

  17. Lovely, and well timed for me too. I've just started blogging and I'm not sure what its purpose is yet but I do know that I am enjoying it and, I guess that's all that really matters. Beautiful pictures x

  18. I love seeing your pictures of nature. I sometimes think that I should include more pictures of the natural environment because I enjoy looking at those types of images on blogs--it's interesting to get a first-hand view of a faraway place--a view that's more personal and idiosyncratic than that seen in a travel book or video. Blogs are akin to diaries, and seeing the world--in pictures and words--from another perspective is fascinating to me. I've read that diaries appeal much more to female readers than to males--I wonder if that fact is true for blogs.

    Looking forward to seeing the countryside in your part of the world!

  19. I opened up this post yesterday, got distracted, didn't read it, didn't shut down the computer properly, and all the while your profound and thought provoking words and your beautiful images were here waiting for me, and they are a joy.

    Plus I'm writing a not dissimilar post myself just now - I'll probably publish it tomorrow - so this was doubly of interest to me. Not that I worry about my photography, in as much as I simply assume that the same pleasure I gain from viewing others images others experience when viewing mine. You could have pointed your camera at an infinity of things on your walk, and yet you chose these. The pictures each of us post are part of who we are, in this land of blog at least, and thus endlessly fascinating. And just a breath of your tranquil time apart has floated into my day and enhanced it.

    I don't think any of us really blog for ourselves - it would be easy to keep a private online diary - no, I think we blog to connect with others, to find a tribe to which we can belong in a world where lives are becoming ever more fractured. And that is a good thing, because in connecting we all enrich each others lives.

  20. Stunning photo's I love the blossom one so much, me I was out in a bluebell wood yesterday, and took way to many pictures for a up coming post. I love reading blogs with lots of photo's, that's one of the reason I share so many on mine too. It's hard to get the balance between blogging for ourselves and others, I tend to just write what come naturalling and not think about the why and hows to much. I love your blog I think it's fab.



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