Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Cloud Appreciation

Visited Uppark House and Gardens, a National Trust property near a small village on the South Downs, near the western border of West Sussex today.
I found it to be a charming place, clearly once full of life and fun with a characterful history, but in a setting that fills the visitor with peace and calm. Enjoying the gardens, I meandered along the paths and across the grass, photographing anemones and other late summer flowers and soaking up the atmosphere. My wandering led around the side of the house onto the open lawns and suddenly, there before me stretched the most beautiful view of the wider landscape. The house holds a commanding position looking out across a wide panorama of the south downs countryside, spreading over two counties, rolling downland with wooded hillsides and patchwork fields, and in the far distance, a magical glimpse of silver sea. Racing clouds chased each other across the almost never ending sky.

It is evening now and as autumn settles in the nights are noticeably drawing in earlier day by day. The sweet song of a robin is floating through my half open window from the garden below and the sky is tinted with patches of violet-grey and peach. A damp drizzle is drifting on the air and occasional gusts of wind swirl the leaves between the garages and in the gutters. Mysterious moths, all movement and blur, are hovering around scented flowers in the gathering dusk. The smell of September lingers on the senses: autumn grass freshly cut, distant bonfire smoke, new rain and damp foliage. Latest magazine editions sport front covers portraying squashes and pumpkins or autumn leaves, there is talk on each page, on social media and in the street, of conker championships and autumn fashion trends, of foraging for hedgerow bounty and of wind and drizzle and and the final garden or allotment harvest before the frosts.

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