May 4th, 2012

Wanaka tree

Chirk Castle and Gardens, Clwyd

It was an interesting drive from the waterfall to our next destination, Chirk Castle near the border with England. I let the borrowed satellite navigation thingy do the directing and I just did the steering, accellerating and reluctant braking. It worked out the most direct route and told me exactly where to go. This meant a small adventure along tiny narrow lanes which took us through picturesque valleys and over sheep-clad hillsides and, literally, through a farmyard. It was brilliant. I'm not a fan of devices like that, but this time round it did the job perfectly.

I have to say that the gardens at Chirk Castle were among the best I've ever spent time wandering around. Some gardens, grown up around country houses, just plonk themselves in the landscape and defy it. These were very much part of it, blending in beautifully with their surroundings.

I was fascinated by the way the gardens worked, a series of rooms blended together in different styles and colours, formal and informal. The statues were delightful too, full of Victorian symbolism, and were sprinkled around in just the right places. And the misty, haziness of the day added a certain etherial quality, which I hope I've managed to get in my photos.

I have to remind myself that this was a few weeks ago, just as spring was coming along and bringing everything to life. And, for the record, the sign is a genuine one and incredibly British.

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