I have recently been volunteering at a walled garden for the National Trust
and apart from the personal and curative pleasure gardening has given me,
I found the solitude and large skies soothing and therapeutic.
I have been lucky enough to pause from weeding to watch a kestrel over head,
stood in silent awe at the ruthless and swift hunting methods of a stoat,
listened to sheep quietly grazing - their lambs now gone.
I have battled wind and rain and the resulting mud (I may have mentioned that already...)
I have sweated under unseasonably warm autumn skies
and - most unexpectedly been treated to - courtesy of the National Trust Yorkshire Dales
We were given a talk and slide show on the history,
a personal in-depth tour of the Abbey itself,
popped into the Medieval Mill,
sampled apples from their orchard,
a walk and talk through the Abbey gardens,
then guided through Studley Royals water Gardens,
visited 'folly!' in the Banqueting House
(my least favourite part of the day but still very interesting)
then topped it off by walking around the deer reserve with two rangers
who spoke very knowledgeably of their three herds (Sika, Fallow and Red)
We tracked the animals as the stags were showing pre-rut postures
while the does and hinds gracefully paced around them.
It was a long but wonderful day - thank you
PS I may have taken a gazillion photos but have only subjected you to a few, didn't want you to fall asleep!