Two cool off in a garden

We’re in the middle of a long-lasting and unusual heatwave here. There’s been no rain at all for over three weeks now, and temperatures have been around 26c for at least 15 consecutive days. That might not sound like much but believe me, it’s almost unheard of for Cumbria, where the weather often changes every few hours, even at the height of summer.

For sun-lovers it’s wonderful; for those of us who Don’t Do The Heat, rather less so. Dave and I fall into the latter category, so on Saturday we chose the coolest place we could think of – the gardens at Sizergh Castle. These are big enough to have a decent walk round, with plenty of trees and shade plus ponds, streams, a lake, and a rock garden.

And it helped. There wasn’t much water in some of the ponds but the tiny streams in the rock garden were still wet and buzzing with dragon-flies, and we had a lovely mooch round the kitchen garden, old orchard, and some of the older formal gardens at the front of the castle. And then we went in the old barn, half buried in the hillside, and found a second hand bookshop as well.

The castle, which dates to medieval times and has to be one of the most photogenic places in the whole country, provided a romantic backdrop to almost every view, and it was so relaxing I could happily have stayed for days. I think the National Trust would have noticed, though, and quietly ejected me come closing time…

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Flowers by an old greenhouse in the kitchen garden.

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The castle seen across the lake, which had more dragon-flies and baby coots.

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