Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Snowdrop Valley


Make Thou my spirit pure and clear

As are the frosty skies,

Or this first snowdrop of the year

That in my bosom lies

St Agnes’ Eve.

Tennyson Alfred 1809-1892

When we first came to live here – in ’85 - we would drive on the road between Dunster and Dulverton, to the turning to the valley, park the car and wander – lonely as clouds - through the white carpeted wonderland. But its fame has spread and now there is no parking allowed and the road is closed to traffic. These days the council run a special bus from Wheddon Cross and one can leave one’s car in the pub car park. We caught the half past ten bus – the first - and were driven towards Exford, then took the turning towards Steart. Then a long, long drop into the bowels of the earth and I marvelled that MTL and I had walked that whole valley. At the bottom the bus deposited us and told us there would be a return bus a ten to and twenty past.

It was very cold – in spite of the weak winter sunshine and soggy underfoot. By the time we had finished the circular walk we realised we had missed the ten to and would have a chilly wait for the next one when - hey presto - a different bus appeared and we thawed inside it until the driver took off- driving to the far end of the valley to avoid the precipitous hill which we were certain it would never make.

We drove back home to collect MTL and thence to Porlock’s Ship Inn. Almost three years ago MTL had an atrial fibrillation episode whilst we were there with family, and we haven’t set foot in it since, so this was by way of laying a ghost (as long as it’s the ghost and not me said MTL.) The terrace was sunny but we slunk indoors and I was disappointed to find no fire.

‘It’s been manic!’ the waitress said – it did get busy later but seemed very quiet to us. Some of us had a hearty tomato and basil soup and some roast chicken plus accompaniments. We knew that grand- daughter was cooking a delicious pasta dish in the evening. Thank goodness for digital; I’m no great photographer but these are better than the white blurs I used to get.


R. Sherman said...

The temperature must have been decent, from the looks of the attire. It's gray and snowy/icy here; a real yucky day. I could use a hike.


PI said...

Randall: I'm guessing you have much colder temps in the winter, as indeed does the north of England. Being near the sea it's rare to get freezing temps but there is frost around in the morning.

Sam, Problemchildbride said...

It looks perfect to me. More than anything I miss the British landscape, wet or not, with moss on trees and a damp forest floor smell. I don't mean to grumble - I have a very good and lucky life here but sometimes the dryness and the relentless flipping sun just make me long for a bit of freshness and renewal.

You're giving your grandchildren beautiful memories, Pat.

Eryl Shields said...

Oh wow! is that a river of snowdrops?

PI said...

Sam: what I would give for a bit of relentless flippin' sun:) Pity we couldn't swap for a fortnight. Are you getting excited about your trip? That's probably why you aren't sleeping too well. Mind you I'd be exactly the same.

Casdok said...

I just love snow drops!!! :)
Ps have tried ear plugs and they didnt work!!

PI said...

Eryl: there was one photo when I found it difficult to distinguish. The brook with the sun on it looks like a carpet of snowdrops.

Casdok: I was afraid of that but do think about the gum shield.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

What a beautiful peaceful place this is....! I love your pictures Pat...It gives one a real feeling of this sublime valley....And those Snowdrop Flowers...My, My, My!
Sounds like you all had a grand time, all arounnd!

Rob Hopcott said...

I live nearby and Snowdrop Valley is lovely at this time of the year.

Also, there is a steep field owned by one of the farms that becomes an amazing coat of bluebells when they come in season.

PI said...

Naomi: we do feel lucky to have ended up here. we had the whole of Britain to choose from and it was - in the end - pure serendipity.

Rob: I remember that field when we were first house hunting - staying in Dassells, Dulverton, and on our first drive to Minehead we were entranced by it.