Do Remember They Can’t Cancel The Spring

Spring in the Cotswolds

An international move and a new blog

I’ve been meaning to return to blogging for nearly a year now, in order to document our move from Seattle to a 17th century farmhouse in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds. It turns out, however, that moving internationally takes up quite a lot of time and energy, so it’s only now that we are under lockdown in this new world of plague and pestilence that I’ve been able to get a new blog up and running again. Fortunately though I got my act together just in time to show you spring in the Cotswolds.

Yew Tree Farmhouse and a view of the village

The best place to be under lockdown

Every morning I thank our lucky stars that we moved here. We are lucky enough to have a garden, a house big enough to spread out in and can go for walks and cycle rides through the charming lanes and fields that surround the village. Hearing the grim news from our friends in Seattle meant that we could see into the future a bit and were able to stock up before Britain locked down. Rather surprisingly too, the little shops in the nearby villages are quite well stocked and full of lovely local produce. There’s no yeast, flour or toilet rolls of course, but we currently have enough of the latter two and I am coddling my sourdough starter like a newborn lamb as we speak. So we are all set, all well and as happy as it is possible to be in the circumstances.

The view behind our house
Spring in the Cotswolds
The darling buds of may

Spring has sprung

In the meantime, seeing spring unfold in this little corner of the world is bringing joy to my heart. The sun is shining, the garden is bursting into life, and the hedgerows are heavy with may blossom. It’s noisy too, even though there are no planes in the air and scarcely any cars on the roads. Tiny birds sing lustily in the hedges and are as happy to see the spring as I am; wood pigeons and collared doves coo incessantly from every rooftop and wire; and the wildflowers huddled next to the weathered stone walls are surrounded by the buzzing of contented bees. The earthy green perfume of newly-ploughed earth and freshly cut grass fills the air. I miss the cherry blossoms of Seattle, but what we lack in blossoms, we make up for in daffodils, wild primroses and lambs.

Spring in the Cotswolds
Wood pigeons on a wire
Espaliered pears
Espaliered pears in the garden
Spring lambs in the Cotswolds
Even the lambs are observing social distancing!
Snakeshead fritillaries
Wild snakeshead fritillaries and blossom in the garden
12th century church
The church dates from the 12th century

Everything is cyclical

So today I’m sharing pictures from my daily walks, not because I want to taunt those of you who are locked up inside, but so that you may vicariously enjoy an English spring wherever you are. And there’s something about writing this in a house that dates from 1698, in a village that features in the Domesday Book (and which presumably has seen its fair share of plague and deprivation over the years) that makes one feel that this too shall pass. Everything is cyclical and spring cannot be cancelled.

There’s a mill mentioned in the Doomsday Book
The dilapidated barn next to our house
Entering the village
Walls covered in flowers
Daffs in the garden
More from the espaliered pears
Wildflowers in the garden

Daffs on every verge
Evening light
Wild primroses in the garden
Well behaved lambs
Sheep and daffs
The trees are still bare

I’m indebted to David Hockney for the title of this blogpost, which is the title of one of the stunning iPad paintings he shared recently from his house in Normandy.

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  • Robin O.

    Welcome home Paola! Such a lovely retreat.ReplyCancel

    • Paola Thomas

      Thank you lovely! And I’ve stupidly only just figured out that I had a bunch of comments sitting in moderation, so apologies for the late reply…ReplyCancel

  • LIZA

    Love your pictures, Paola! Makes the country bumpkin in me weep. XxReplyCancel

    • Paola Thomas

      You WILL visit one day! And sorry for the late reply. Just realised all my comments were in moderation… ReplyCancel

  • Marianne Lenkiewicz

    Absolutely lovely! To your splendid photography and eloquent writing. I am so inspired by you. Such a pleasure getting to meet you and know you a bit during our food photography/styling retreat! ReplyCancel

    • Paola Thomas

      Thanks Marianne! You’re always so encouraging. And it was great getting to know you too on the retreat and hope you’re staying safe and well. (And sorry for the late reply. I just realised I had a bunch of actual comments in moderation and not just spam).ReplyCancel

  • Sharon M

    This is fantastic. Can’t wait to visit. ReplyCancel

    • Paola Thomas

      Can’t wait to host you! And sorry for the late reply. You’d gone into moderation and I forgot to moderate!ReplyCancel

  • Jacqueline Lee-Kersh

    Welcome back lovely girl,  beautiful photography which I will re-visit a few times more this week xx ReplyCancel

    • Paola Thomas

      Thank you! And sorry for hugely late reply. Just realised that I had a bunch of actual comments in moderation, not just spam (duh).Hope you’re all keeping well… ReplyCancel

  • Andy Calver

    Looks lovely, stay safe, AndyReplyCancel

    • Paola Thomas

      So nice to hear from you! I hope everyone at your end is staying safe and well. We’re fine, though the teen is grumpy and bored. And sorry for the late reply. I forgot to dig comments out of moderation (duh)..ReplyCancel