Sunday, November 14, 2021

Mosaic Monday #155: The Rolling Hills are Calling

The pandemic has written many stories of loss, of cancelled plans, of isolation.  I can only hope that the sequels contain joyous reunions, and adventures that were all the sweeter for the waiting.  It was certainly true in our case, as we traveled to the UK for the first time in two years, and were clasped in tight hugs by my in-laws upon emerging from immigration at the airport.  For the next two weeks, we indulged in all that we had missed ... Spousal Unit's childhood home, pork pies, the generous hospitality of his parents, British beer, pub food, outings with friends and our beloved walks through the countryside.  How fitting it was to find this sign along one of the dry stone walls. 

The UK is the 51st most densely populated country on earth, 8 times more so than the US.  And yet, you can easily find green spaces.  A trip "home" is never complete for me without a walk through Gypsy Lauren and past the Bunny Banks, a mixture of woods and rolling farm fields where Spousal Unit might have gotten up to the occasional mischief (see picture above).  I was delighted to see these dahlias brightening a home garden within the village.

My in-laws are avid gardeners, nourishing vegetables and flowers in the allotments directly across the street from their house.  We can always count on fresh vegetables for dinner.  These are just a couple of the carrots we savored during our visit.

On our fourth day in country, we drove to Leyburn, hoping that the weather would hold while we explored the Leyburn Shawl, a remarkable limestone terrace.  The name "Shawl" could possibly have come from "shalle", a local derivation of the Vikings "scali" meaning huts or dwellings.  Other historians suggest it is an abbreviation of "shaw-hill", "shaw" meaning a wood.  You may prefer the alternative explanation written below - probably not historically accurate, but far more romantic!
(you can click on the image to enlarge)

This rocky scar is often mentioned in local history books as the route taken by Mary Queen of Scots while making an unsuccessful attempt to escape her imprisonment in Bolton Castle 1586-9.  Legend tells us she dropped her shawl during her flight and hence the name of this formation.

The limestone terrace extends almost unbroken for two miles, gradually rising to 870 feet above sea level.  At this point, the limestone is about 60 feet thick, forming a very striking escarpment overlooking Wensleydale.

As we left the escarpment and descended to the valley floor, we passed this smokestack.  Despite a little sleuthing on the Internet, I have not been able to learn anything about it.

We had neared the midway point on our walk, and paused for coffee from Dad's flask, and assorted snacks.

As we left the grounds of the Bolton Estate, we entered the village of Wensley.  Despite the chance of rain and cooler temperatures, we took advantage of the covered part of the outdoor patio at the Three Horseshoes pub for an adult beverage.  Nearby, the grim skies lent a distinctly Bronte air to this church and its graveyard.

Two minutes further on, this garden delivered us from the gray.  I stood on the pavement, snapping macro shots, when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a gentleman swinging a set of keys that promptly unlocked the narrow gate to - you guessed it - the garden!  

"May I come in and look more closely at your beautiful flowers?" I asked.  Well, no gardener can resist that opening!!!  We stood just inside the gate, immediately at ease as happens with people who share deep interests in common.  I was aware that I was holding up my fellow walkers, so after some minutes of discussing the history of his garden, the scourge of climate change and his passion for dahlias, I excused myself and took micro shots with some assistance from Spousal Unit.  What a find!

The second half of the walk took us through the fields we had observed from the escarpment above.  

Stone walls and hedges marked our progress, and autumn berries promised food sources for birds and squirrels to store up winter reserves.

As we reached the final uphill section to return to Leyburn, this barn anchored a corner of the field.  I wondered about the hands that had laid the stones, and painstakingly placed the slates on the roof.  Hands that squeezed a living from the land, creased hands that passed the legacy onto younger, softer hands.  Did they know the gift they would give to those of us just passing through, those of us answering the call of the rolling hills?

Welcome to Mosaic Monday, a weekly meme where we get together to share our photo mosaics and collages.
Please include at least one photo mosaic/collage in your post.
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Thank you for joining in today and sharing your mosaics with us. 

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  1. The British countryside is probably the most beautiful we have in Europe, it really speaks to one's soul!
    Thank you for sharing such beautiful images with us, sweet friend, and Happy Mosaic Monday to you!
    XO Daniela at ~ My little old world ~

  2. ...the pandemic may have written many stories of loss, of cancelled plans, of isolation, but if you and your loved ones are still here, the losses are inconsequential.

  3. In a way it is weird, but I have never been in England. Except for the airport when passing through. :)

  4. How wonderful for you to be able to visit again and catch up with family. You walked in a beautiful area. The flower garden is beautiful.

  5. Everything is so beautiful to see, thanks for taking us along!

  6. Fabulous return home for Spousal Unit and you! What a glorious country. Would love to go again sometime. Thanks for the tour!

  7. I am so happy that you and your husband were able to travel to England and see his parents again after two years absence! I'm sure it was such a loving reunion! Everything looks so green and beautiful and the flowers are delightful.

  8. Well done, Angie, to visit your parents of the husband in the beautiful area of England. It's necessary to be again by our beloved people, isn't.

    England? I never visit. They don't like the German... it's a pity.

    ...but I was four times in Ireland and enjoyed this wonderful Country an the fantastic Irishmen.

    The garden you could see inside must be a paradise.

    Stay healthy and well, dear Blogfriend.

    Happy MosaicMonday

  9. I imagine the tearful and happy airport reunions are rather like the movie 'Love Actually' of late. How fabulous you were able to visit your husband's family in the UK. Fabulous you visited places of his youth. I can just imagine the garden that sat waiting for you through the gate. I adore English gardens.

  10. How wonderful to read of your reunion (with hugs and great food).Thanks for sharing your photos with us. Have a blessed week


  11. Hello, Angie
    Beautiful photos from your trip to the UK. It is great to be able to travel and visit loved ones again. I love the views of the countryside, the sheep and the beautiful flowers. Have a great day and a happy new week!

  12. Wonderful to be able to go where one wants to go, Angie. Lovely photos, as always.

  13. A wonderful reunion for you and the spousal unit's family! What beautiful country side to enjoy.Love the photos as always.

  14. I'm so happy you were able to make this trip and spend time with family. What a beautiful place to visit too. Love that the flowers were still blooming! Happy MM!

  15. A wonderful walk. It's good you were able to travel. Wish I could join you for an adult beverage. Still waiting for our day to travel. It's looking like it won't happen until sometime net year. :/

  16. Wow! I can only imagine the joy in your reunion! How wonderful that you could travel back and enjoy 2 weeks enjoying your loved ones and the area, too.

  17. Wonderful visit; I am so glad you got to make the trip and can very easily imagine how happy your in-laws were to see you both! They live in such a beautiful area and I loved the whole post. Everything sounds perfectly wonderful. I am always happily surprised to hear about how much green space there is in the UK.

  18. Thank you so much for sharing your travels and beautiful views. It must of been so wonderful to visit with family again and the smiles prove it!

  19. I'm so happy you were able to visit your family in UK and the garden looks gorgeous.

  20. How great that you were able to finally visit your in-laws again in the UK. What a fun connection you made via a beautiful garden. Such lovely views along your walk, too.

  21. Such a nice collection of photos! It's great to visit in laws again. :)

  22. So glad you were able to visit again and catch up with family.

    Love these glorious photos of your trip to the UK.

  23. Dear Angie,
    Unfortunately I failed to link my previous post on Monday, and now I have a new one again ... I hope I'll think about it next Monday and link both of them ;-) How wonderful that you are finally going to the UK to visit your in-laws. The country offers beautiful landscapes, fantastic plant growth - and sheep. I am enthusiastic about all countries in which large numbers of sheep are kept - where there are sheep, I feel at home. (We assume that in a previous life I was a shepherd. Or a sheep. :-DD)
    Warm greetings on Wednesday and all the best, Traude

  24. I am just SO happy you were able to come over to the UK and have this wonderful visit. How lovely to spend precious time together. Your photographs are a joy to see, so pleased that you have more lovely memories to cherish.

    My good wishes.

    All the best Jan

  25. I love that walk, so lucky gong out with both parents.

  26. how very wonderful to be able to travel again...and the best trips are to visit with family!! it looks so beautiful there...i just harvested my carrots, they were delicious!!

    pretty images, and it is wonderful to see blooming flowers!!

  27. Well done Angie. You survived just one of our Novembers, the gloomiest month of the UK calendar.

    It's a while since we hit Leyburn and the surrounding areas, mostly camping and exploring the countryside around Hawes where we discovered many locations used in the original TV series of All Creatures Great and Small, a series never bettered.

  28. Oh what a lovely trip! I am so glad you could go back. I love your photos. Cold and wet down here and the big rivalry game is tomorrow. But we'll be nice and warm watching from home. Take care and have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Kit

  29. Beautiful photos, Angie and thanks for sharing.