Sunday, 27 September 2015

Autumn days

 Autumn what does it mean to you? As I get older I am beginning to appreciate it's beauty and bounty rather than seeing it as the start of dark and cold days.


We recently revisited Mottisfont, this time with my brother and his dog Emma. Mottisfont is a National Trust property and is well known for it's famous rose garden. Although dogs are not allowed in the walled garden there are still lovely walks within the grounds.


The water in the Test river is just so clear. This is a photograph of the weed and as we wandered along the riverbank we saw many trout swimming by.


There were still some roses in bloom and we couldn't resist taking it in turns to hold the dogs and have a look at the flowers in the walled garden and look in the potting shed......







The following day at Bridport Farmer's market I saw this fantastic display from The Flowerfield, there was just no way I couldn't come away without a bunch. Freda recently noticed that strangers smiled at her more when she had a bunch of flowers in her hands. It worked for me too!



On our journey to Bristol to see our son and his girlfriend, driving through the Somerset countryside, we passed orchards with trees heavily laden with apples. On our return we revisited East Lambrook Manor gardens to find out the name of the plant we had previously admired. (The plant was ozothamnus rosmarinfolius 'Silver Jubilee'  The gardens here were also full of autumn fruit and colour.







 And when the autumn sun appears we are making the most of it, by being outside in the garden or walking in the countryside or by the sea.



 Finding fungus in the fields 


Enjoying the still green rolling countryside and the views.......





 and then down to a calm sea ....



   and taking a last view of the beach huts that will soon be disappearing until next summer. 


           What are you doing to make the most of the season?


                                                                          Sarah x

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Capri

The island of Capri just off the main Amalfi coast line is a popular destination. It was orginally colonised by the Greeks. Caesar Augustus visited the island in 29BC and was so enchanted to find a dry twig in flower that he bartered the neighbouring fertile island of Ischia. (I wonder what plant it was that he saw). There is no natural source of water in Capri amd even today they still have to import all the drinking water by tankers from the mainland.


In the 18th century Capri became a tourist destination and was very popular with artists, poets and writers. Today, the island still attracts the rich and famous and there are very expensive hotels and designer shops, well above our budget!


We took a boat trip around the island. The limestone rocks were so beautiful against the blue shimmering sea and there were some wonderful plants growing on the ledges high above us. Our boat took us through the hole on the right, above. The top of the boat almost scrapping the roof of the hole!



I took a chair lift to the top of the island. It was beautiful to be whisked peacefully above the noise and bustle  to smell the pine trees below my feet and listen to the bird song before reaching this stunning vista...




We went on an organised day trip that included lunch, I did notice on trip adviser that many visitors to the island complain about being overcharged, so if you do visit here, beware!


I saw these wonderful tiles on some outside steps in Capri aren't they fantastic? Thank you for all your comments on the last few posts about Italy. Although our holiday was back in June it has been fun to remember it in these posts with you. Bad Penny from The Hen House is off soon to stay in the same hotel as us in Sorrento and I hope she has a great time there too.
Sarah x 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Views along the Amalfi coast


The views along the 28 miles of Amalfi coastline are spectacular. The dramatic road hugs the edge of the mountain with sheer drops down to the stunning blue sea below. Amazing vistas are seen around the corner of each hair-pin bend (see the winding road below.) I'm glad I wasn't driving (see link here.) What is the most hair raising journey you have been on?


We arrived in Amalafi on a Sunday morning and decided to wander away from the crowds and headed up narrow lanes and steps to explore the town. As we were taking some photographs of the view an elderly Italian lady dressed in black who was returning from church beckoned us to follow her. 



She took us up higher and higher and the views just got better and better.........


She also showed us another way down, it was such a special moment for us and we shall not forget her kindness and being so friendly.



Our next stop was Ravello. The gardens of Villa Cimbrone had been highly recommended by Lucent Imagery and we were not disappointed. The views were again superb and the sea so blue!




The Villa Cimbrone was orginally an old farmhouse and in the early 20th century it was transformed into a palace by a English politican Lord Grimpthorne. Part of the gardens were designed by Vita Sackville-West.


The location, gardens and house reminded me so much of the book "Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim" which is about four English women hiring a castle in Italy for a month, wouldn't such a location as this be wonderful place to stay for so long!


We always enjoy holidays where we are able to see as much as we can, so I'm afraid there is another post in this series - next time Capri! (Last post if you missed it was about Vesuvius and Pompeii.)
Sarah x

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Vesuvius and Pompei

One of the highlights of our holiday in June to Sorrento was the fantastic views of the active volcano of Vesuvius across the bay. It was so interesting to climb part of it and see it at close quarters. Vesuvius last erupted in 1944 and is thought that another eruption could happen at any time.....





Has anyone else been up a volcano? It was a bit different to what we expected.We were surprised to see so many plants growing and learnt that in the spring there is a huge number of butterflies seen on the slopes.The very top of the volcano looked more like a huge quarry and  there wasn't much to see except one wisp of steam. The  burning core of the volcano is about 5 miles underground.


 Over 3,500,000 people live below the volcano  Those living closest to it have been encouraged to leave with cash incentives. The land is very fertile, however, producing good crops and people don't want to move. There are evacuation plans if the volcano starts to shows signs of an eruption and with today's technology this is constantly monitored.


There was no warning when the biggest eruption occurred in 79 AD. This area was well known for earthquakes and earth tremors. When the eruption occurred a huge mushroom of ash, stones and dust was pushed into the sky 12 miles high. For nearly a day this fell on Pompei. Then suddenly the eruption changed and an avalanche of molten rock rushed down the mountainside straight for Pompei.  The population of Pompei was estimated to be about 20,000 sadly those residents that were unable to escape were either killed by ash and stones, buildings collapsing above them or were suffocated by the inhaling a mix of carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulphide, hydrogen chloride and sulphur dioxide gas. The neighbouring town of Herculaneum was also buried in a mountain of ash.



Pompei was rediscovered in the 16th century but exploration did not begin until 1748 and has continued to this day, of the 66 hectares only around 45 hectares have been excavated. We had seen pictures of Pompei but never realised how large it is. We spent a few hours there and only saw a tiny part of it.



This is a picture of Vesuvius that was found in Pompei - they didn't even realise that it was a volcano. Notice how different the shape of of it is compared with today.







My husband isn't particularly keen on history, but even he found it so fascinating to appreciate the lives of ordinary people from so long ago. The lives of these people have been so well preserved and there was a wealth of different architecture, paintings and mosaics. You could even see the remains of an election poster on the outside of one of the shops.



It was amazing to see that town planning was very advanced and the layout is one you could still recognise in our towns today, The long straight roads are a familiar sight to us as Dorchester  (where I work) was once a Roman town.


The technology of the public thermal baths seemed so advanced with not only hot and cold water but the rooms were also kept warm by circulating air through the wall cavities.The  roofs were also designed with ridges to allow the condensation to run down from the ceiling.





It was a such a popular destination with so many visitors there.  You could spend a few days here and still not see and learn everything! If you are interested in finding out more - details and short videos produced by the BBC can be seen here.



 Thank you as always for popping over to visit me and welcome to my new followers.Wishing you a good week.
Sarah x

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