Do you have a favourite word? Mine is serendipity. If I can remember how to spell it!
Bobby has a favourite word too. Halcyon. A word that always uplifts his spirits. The halcyon days of youth maybe. Or of summer. Or maybe autumn. In the countryside and in life. But for him the dazzling flash of iridescent blue along the river will lift his spirits to the heavens. For the halcyon is also the kingfisher.
A mythical bird said to breed about the time of the winter solstice in a nest floating on the sea, and to have the power of charming winds and waves into calmness.
The River Mole near Dorking is a good place for kingfishers. Many is the time we have seen one. Discovered where they habitually perch waiting for a stickleback. So much was his awe that one day years ago he rang the Sarah Kennedy Radio 2 phone in programme. “What do you do to relax?” “I go down to the River Mole at Dorking during my office lunch break and hope to see a kingfisher. The other day I saw two flying side by side near the famous Stepping Stones. First time ever I have seen two together.” Sarah was impressed, particularly as she knew the River at Dorking. And the Stepping Stones.
But the last time Bobby saw a kingfisher was at Wisley Gardens. With over a million visitors each year, you might wonder where you could find peace and tranquility. Well everywhere actually. It’s a very peaceful place. But we will let you into a secret and whisper… down by the River Wey. Sitting there with Merrill in the winter he said… “Keep your eyes open for a kingfisher. And ears. They have a distinctive piping call as they fly fast and direct and it is easy to miss.” For once he kept quiet. A few minutes later a kingfisher landed right opposite on a twig leaning over the river. Merrill had a grandstand view. Halcyon Days.
Many of Wisley’s visitors do not realise, or choose to miss the river walk beyond the arboretum. It really is a place of peace and tranquility. And now, still whispering, there is a new attraction.
The Riverside Garden. An area below the river walk, that was overgrown scrub, has been transformed into a large grass area by the river bank with four wonderful sprung swingchairs to while away
the hours down by the river, and enjoy your halcyon days. Please don’t tell anyone.
Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.
(Bobby is listening to Radio 2. “Food for thought”. Monday 14 May 2018. 09:25. And wanted to share this).
Back to Wisley. It was hard to leave that swingchair. No kingfisher today.
The Riverside Garden.
But it’s a glorious time at the gardens so, once again, we would like to share a walk in the sunshine in amongst the Darling Buds of May.
Tulips have had a virus. At nearby Dunsborough Park, the tulip festival showed signs of a disastrous attack on some species. Ever practical and resourceful, Wisley gave up on massed tulips this year and planted these instead. Never heard of them but very impressive.
Lighting a Candle for Diddley.
With Constance Spry. A beautiful rose at Laurel Cottage.
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