Ipsden altar frontal: lavender

A little pocket of summer has burst its lovely contents upon us over the last few days the culminating enjoyment of which was an afternoon drive through the leafy byways of the Chilterns as we attempted to deliver a friend to the new Garsington opera venue at Wormsley, near Stokenchurch without using the M40. And now we know why the directions suggested the motorway. As the crow flies the distance from our house to Wormsley is short but in chalk country the crossing of soft bosomy land is by no means straightforward.

Ipsden altar frontal: lavender

Ipsden altar frontal: lavender

Innocent looking minor roads on the map funnel into deep cuttings through beech woods where passing places are minimal and dappled sunlight delights but disturbs a driver’s vision. The car bounces from woodland caverns into those peculiarly English hedge tunnels, where road side vegetation is so established as to have formed overhead vaults of intertwined trees suggestive of being sucked headlong down a rabbit hole, like Alice’s white rabbit*. Signage of the fingerpost variety is not exactly helpful as each white sign is tiny and thus only readable once passed. But we only went wrong once and only stopped for directions just the once (sending our opera goer – minus his flowing Ikat robe and dressed in a sober grey suit – off to a house with a marquee from which we fantasised he would never return, having swirled the bride off for an impromtu waltz before delivering an off the cuff speech and enchanting half the guests.) He did return – we were almost there – and ten minutes later we dropped him off at the cricket pavilion (as you do with outdoor opera in England in summer!). All very wonderful.

I embroidered this lavender earlier in the summer when it wasn’t fully out. It is glorious now and of a very intense colour.

* “Quite how unique hedgerows are to Britain is not sufficiently appreciated. For example, the ‘tunnels’ sometimes formed by roadside hedges, notably in the south, are almost unknown in other parts of the world.” [John Wright: A Natural History of the Hedgerow (Profile Books, 2016) – an interesting though rather dense read for lovers of hedgerows,]

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  1. Posted July 3, 2016 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    You had quite an adventure! I hope your opera-goer enjoyed his evening..

    • Mary Addison
      Posted July 5, 2016 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

      He bumped into friends – both expected and unexpected – straight away and had a lovely evening.

  2. Posted July 4, 2016 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Sounds like a lovely drive, if you’re the passenger and not the driver! I’m always nervous riding my bike through dappled sunlight like that because I know how hard it will be for drivers to see me. The lavender surprised me this year with how intense a color it was. I’m remembering it as much paler in the past.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted July 5, 2016 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

      Quite right, Amara. As the passenger I was able to look around and soak up the atmosphere of a wonderfully mellow mellow summer evening – of which we have had too few recently.
      How strange, our lavender seems a deeper colour than usual too.

  3. Lydia
    Posted July 6, 2016 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Beautiful work Mary… I do love lavender. England’s little lanes and hedges not to be hurried…. Hope all goes well. Best as ever. Lydia

    • Mary Addison
      Posted July 8, 2016 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Lydia. I’m sitting in a cavernous empty vicarage half way through cleaning and my husband is in a house packed with boxes in London. Off with the old and on with the new!

  4. Posted July 8, 2016 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Lavender and a country lane adventure, all sounds very romantic x

    • Mary Addison
      Posted July 8, 2016 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      When sun shines doesn’t almost everything look wonderful?

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