Ripples spread across the pond as a fish jumped and splashed several times and I heard the Royal Russel clock chime 8 o'clock.
The background sound of traffic seemed quieter than usual. Perhaps people were enjoying a Bank Holiday Monday lie-in.
There were deep footprints in the mud by the pond.
Gunera flower or inflorescence (the proper name for a cluster of flowers on a stem)
The gunera leaves are growing really fast and are already receiving a collection of things that drop from the trees above and into the centre of each open leaf.
I could hear quacking in the distance but couldn't see where it was coming from.
I stood gazing at the tulips beds allowing the riot of colour to soak into me and lift my spirit.
Along the path next to the cafe I could still hear ocassional quacking but couldn't see the source. The wind shook a little flurry of petals free and they floated down like confetti.
Children's voices echoed in the distance - then grew rapidly nearer. I walked quicker to keep ahead of them. The quacking became louder - almost overhead now. I looked up to see a duck on the roof of Chateau Napolean just before it took off with two companions and flew away behind the trees.
This tree looks purple from a distance now that its dark leaves are growing but close up its a pink frilly froth..
Little clusters of pale green flowers float above deeply veined leaves
and I'm back to the Korean pine tree. The red "petals" have separated on some of these and the spaces are being filled with deep burgundy which is forming the main structure of the cones.
Several white blossoms in a row on a tiny shrub that has star shaped seed pods
Lily of the valley plants growing next to the path (far left) which is bordered by logs (middle) - some are sprouting at the edge of the path the other side of the log.
I don't know what these are but the delicious scent always takes me by surprise before I even remember they're there - and I stand still for a moment and breathe deeply.
This shrub/tree looks as if it's on fire with its new leaves coming through so brightly. I've just looked it up and appropriately it's called Mountain Fire (Pieris Japonica).
Aren't these heart shaped leaves lovely?
I decided to be more adventurous today and made my way up the hill. Some of the yellow azaleas are more advanced up there.
I'd been aware of the Royal Rusell bell marking every quarter hour. It chimed 9o'clock when I was at the top of the hill. There was several structures up there - some more sturdy than others
I can't manage the steps - my knee gives way - but I did manage the slope beside the steps - aiming for the nearest tree as I went down - just in case.
I made my way up the slope the other side too. There were a couple of early pink rhododendrons and a lot of laurel flowers. At the top I remember thinking with relief that it was all downhill from here, Of course it wasn't - it was up and down and up and down again and seemed further than I remembered.
Another thick patch of these strange plants
Looking up at the canopy of young leaves
Beech flowers - dangling like pom poms
and back to the tulip beds
The explosions of last year's bulrush seeds still hanging on and wafting in the breeze
Thank you very much for joining me