After all our visitors we’re back to normal. Come to think of it we were never away from normal — it’s just we had another person there to share it. Nice.

And what do I mean by a nice normal Summer? Temperatures in the high teens Centigrade or 60s Fahrenheit in old money. Today was 18ish and glorious for our normal walk in Belsay.

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There were some Canadians in the garden today. And we chatted to another retired couple down by the castle. They were lovely. Both had spent their careers caring for others. Noel chatted to him and I chatted to her. It’s interesting to have a good long conversation with complete strangers. It gives you a bit of hope and faith in human nature.  Like this meeting did too:

This is Keira, a rescued polecat. She’s about 7 months and a bit nervous but she really loves her new mummy who, instead of finding her a new home, has decided to keep her. Her mummy is very experienced in looking after small mammals and has 7 others, so Keira is a very lucky little animal. She’s quite cute too as you see. We had an interesting chat with her mum. Lovely to meet them both. Have a great life, Keira!

And there was the laburnum! By any standards WOW. It hasn’t looked as good as this for 5 years because it had to be pruned, but now it’s back to its old self. Here is a poem I wrote in 2014.

The Loudest Tree by Far

Down near the castle in deep rock rooted
where snowdrops dripped and daffodils have played;
where blue rang a peel of bells in May
to celebrate blossom’s birth in leafy shade;

captured now in poison’s golden chains,
sudden summer quickens the air
with heady disinfectant honey tones.
An inflorescence of racemes appears;

counterpoint and harmony
to the blackbird’s song;
feathery, flighty, shiny,
and not to be outshone,
animated in a gusty shower
Laburnum sings along.

   Oonah V Joslin 2014

Meanwhile another old friend, a 200 year old beech near the entrance to the Quarry Garden is currently being assessed.
Some branches have already come down and the lower path is closed, a diversion in place, so that essential work can take place. It may be that that this tree has come to the end of its life. It reminds us that the garden is always a work in progress and that the work the gardeners and tree surgeons do is vital to maintaining a beautiful and safe garden that all Belsay’s visitors can enjoy