Most school holidays begin with large amounts of sleep, a clear out of the clutter of the school year and a modicum of preparing for the new school year. By August I am ready for plenty of downtime. Last week we managed to fit in a family trip to Llangollen – low key but an opportunity to live in the moment and create a few more memories to sustain us through the busyness of the next few months.
No family holiday is complete without a visit to a National Trust property or two and during the week we explored Erddig (jam-packed with servants’ memorabilia and beautiful bouquets of home-grown flowers for sale) and Chirk Castle (excellent scones, segway tours and a thriving kitchen garden). I’ve always been fascinated by windows. Peering in or peeking out they are portals to other worlds. As a child I was always being scolded for walking too slowly past our neighbours’ windows to see what they were doing. Who can’t resist a glance into a kitchen or living room window as they walk past, imagining what life is like inside? As a student I spent a lot of time on trains staring out of the windows onto the British countryside – woods, allotments, lakes and rivers and, as Larkin so aptly put it, towns ‘approached with acres of dismantled cars’. As I get older, the vista from windows fascinates me more. I recall the views from all the kitchens and bedrooms I have ever occupied more clearly with every passing year. Somewhere in my mind is an amalgum of these and others to sustain me through the tough times and this one of Chirk’s glorious parkland has been added to it. Staring out of windows and daydreaming is fast becoming a lost art in the age of the mobile device. I so wish it sees a resurgence. I’m pretty sure there’s scientific proof as well as my middle-aged tendency to bemoan change as to why we need to disconnect from devices and reconnect with musing.
August at home is a time to improve the vista from my own kitchen window by tending the garden. We’ve repaired the boundaries and replaced the terrace and I want to change some of the planting. In Winter and Spring it works wonderfully well but I need to give more thought to the late summer and autumn garden. That will do for now. Perhaps our next home will enable a view something like this to be glimpsed through the window?