Snapshots of an English summer

Verbena bonariensis at Wimpole Hall
A whole swathe of Verbena bonariensis at Wimpole Hall gardens in Cambridgeshire.
Yorkshire cottage
Gorgeous stone cottage in Castle Bolton, possibly one of the prettiest places in Yorkshire.
Walking in the Yorkshire Dales
Father and son in the glorious Yorkshire Dales.
Durham Castle.
We took the train from Northallerton to Durham one day. This is the castle which is part of the university. Students actually live here!
River Swale and Richmond
Richmond, North Yorkshire, and the River Swale.
Apple tree
An old apple tree in a lovely community garden in Reeth.
Perennial planting
Community garden in Reeth
Yorkshire Dales
Yorkshire Dales views.
Chickens
These very friendly chickens greeted us each morning. There’s a funny video of them running towards us on my Instagram.
Bolton Castle gardens
The gardens at Bolton Castle (from inside the castle).
Bolton Castle
The view of Bolton Castle from our holiday cottage in Castle Bolton!
Wildflowers
Stupendously beautiful wildflower planting at RHS Harlow Carr, Harrogate.
I can’t remember what these flowers are but they are at Harlow Carr and were buzzing with bees!
RHS Harlow Carr
RHS Harlow Carr near Harrogate. Definitely worth a visit if you’re nearby.

At the beginning of the long school break it feels as though there is a whole heap of that nebulous luxury: extra time and empty days. But once you start organising days out, trips to visit people, people visiting you and a holiday, the days start whizzing by.

School holidays with teenage children have a different tempo. Mine are 17, 15 and 13, becoming increasingly independent and don’t necessarily want to do what we want to do all of the time. (To be honest, the two boys hardly ever want to do what we want to do these days!) My eldest son stayed at home when we went to Yorkshire recently – it’s the first time he’s not come on holiday with us and it felt odd just being a family of four. Happily, we (and the house) survived. We had a very relaxing week in Castle Bolton in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales and he looked after the pets and entertained friends without wrecking anything or causing a neighbourhood disturbance. He’s now got a holiday job in a local hotel so he’s finding out what it’s like to work hard for his money. Which is, of course, a good thing.

My daughter is currently away on an activity holiday until Saturday – the house is eerily quiet – and the other son flies to Madrid next week to stay with a school friend for a few days. Gone are the days when we spend all of the holidays together and I am slowly getting used to it. I do love the fact that I’m no longer responsible for their every entertainment but I sort of miss it in a weird way. The trick is to keep busy and make the most of the rare moments when we are all together.

While they’re off gallivanting or working, I’m also working and catching up with the garden in any spare time – deadheading, weeding, picking kilos of raspberries and tomatoes, plus courgettes and squashes, then processing the pickings (jam, chutney, sauces). Before we know it, it’ll be the time for buying new school shoes and stationery, the time of conkers and crunchy leaves 🙂

Thank you for calling by and saying hello (and hello to new followers). I hope your August is going swimmingly. Have a lovely week.

PS All these photos were taken with my increasingly cantankerous phone, hence the odd sizes and dubious quality!

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25 thoughts on “Snapshots of an English summer

  1. Glad you have had a lovely summer holiday so far, it is very strange when the children start going off on their own. It is worse leaving the first one for the first time, as the others grow and they do it too it
    somehow doesn’t feel quite such an ordeal! That is a wonderful display of verbena bonariensis. Sarah x

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  2. I’m having another go at commenting Sam. WordPress and I have fallen out over login details so I’m not holding out much hope, but we shall see. Your holiday in the Dales looks wonderful, just the sort of holiday we used to have. Hope you enjoy the next few weeks of summer holiday freedom. Oh and the Polka raspberries are producing beautiful jewel-like fruits too.

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    1. Sorry you’ve been having problems. I had to approve your comment, which is odd because yours usually just come straight through. Weird WordPress… So glad you’re getting good raspberries. Hope your summer is going well, too.

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  3. Your photos are just beautiful and so interesting. It looks like you’ve seen some really great sights so far in your summer. I’m glad everyone, and the house, survived your eldest staying home by himself. That sounds like a big change for your family and I’m glad it went well. 🙂

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  4. Beautiful holiday scenery – love the gardens (of course!). Yorkshire is one of the places I’d love to see some day.
    Parents focus on raising the kids for so long that when it is done, it feels rather odd. Bittersweet, I guess. Mine are 25 and 28 and they really don’t want much from Mum, but I guess that was the aim, right?

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      1. ‘Empty nest’ was a big adjustment for me. I recall I cried a lot the first week, then it gradually got better over time. It was like being sacked from a job you’d held for over 20 years!

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  5. Your photos are lovely and make me long to return to England one day. Changing family dynamics take awhile to get used to. I remember I hated it so much when the first one left and couldn’t imagine doing it all over again that I said I wished they would all just leave at once so I could get it over with in one agonizing bout. Of course, that didn’t happen. And I survived. But it’s hard.

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    1. Thank you, Lorrie. It’s going to be very strange when my first child goes off to University next year but that’s the order of things, I guess.

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  6. But your photos are fabulous Sam! Those open skies of Yorkshire are so beautiful, and it looks like a wonderful place to spend a holiday. Enjoy the rest of the holidays and those special moments with the children. 🙂

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  7. I loved all the photos. You’ve been exactly where I want to go! Our three are all off doing their own thing these days, but we did get to Ireland together in July which was lovely. Free pet sitting helps when you fancy a weekend escape too! Good luck with all your catering- food for 70! Cripes! You are a brave lady :o) xx

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    1. Do go if you get the chance – it’s a very beautiful area. I’m sure we’ll quite enjoy our freedom once they’re all doing their own thing 🙂 Yes, hmmm, 70… The closer it gets, the more I’m thinking I’ve taken on quite a task. I’ll let you know how it goes!

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    1. Wimpole Hall gardens are so beautiful. I was impressed by all the espaliered trees heavy with fruit and the general planting and lovely views. It must be a great place to work.

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  8. Oh what gorgeous photos. I especially like the view of Bolton Castle garden from inside the castle, wonderful. The summer holidays do always sort of evaporate don’t they. I couldn’t believe yesterday we were in week 4, I had to get a calendar and work out where the missing week had gone. My eldest two (13 and 11) tend to go out locally by themselves now, which leaves the youngest at a bit of a loose end sometimes – and very cross that he isn’t allowed to tag along. Glad you’re having a good summer. CJ xx

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    1. Thank you, CJ. It’s hard being the youngest. My third is a girl and she’s not that bothered about hanging out with her brothers but it must be especially annoying for your son. I’m sure he’s getting lots of extra time with the puppy to make up for it.

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  9. Harlow Carr looks absolutely fabulous! Looks like you had a wonderful holiday. Having your kids grow into adulthood can be very bittersweet (mine are 30 and 27 – though still unmarried). Love the photo with the chickens.

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