The First Signs (Trentham Gardens)

It goes without saying if you live in the UK that weather is probably one of the constant sources of chatter and confusion among our population, how many comedians do you think have used the old small talk, ‘fine weather today?’ in order to deduce a small titter from its audience to break the ice. Quite the few I imagine. Yes, as a nation we are obsessed with sun, rain, clouds, snow, ice, wind, temperature, drizzle… the ample list of meteorological affixes are forever bounding round in many a conversation you walk past in the street.

And it can be proven within the past few weeks just how unpredictable our weather is; okay not in the devastating sense of hurricanes and tornadoes to bush fires and droughts but more to snow and freezing temperatures followed this weekend by a sudden unexpected heatwave. Yes, heatwave. Anyone on foreign shores would laugh horrendously when I suggest our heatwave was reaching scores of 23 to 24 degrees Celsius, but considering a standard week means we barely reach double figures, this my friend, is a heatwave for us.

A heatwave I’m afraid which lasted a total of four days (today it’s raining) and a heatwave which I personally spent most of lying under a blanket on the couch shivering from the brutal effects of internal swinging temperatures and your generic flu symptoms which ran parallel to a chainsaw in place of an esophagus. But I was not deterred, on Friday I jacked myself up on flu relief medication and off we went to visit Trentham Gardens in Stoke on Trent, an odd little place where you’re at first greeted with an outdoor Scandic style shopping centre only to walk into a beautiful majestic 16th century estate which has been recently brought back to life with such beauty and passion for nature and art.

There is as expected an entry fee, but trust me this is worth it as there is so much to see and do. There’s a mile long lake to walk round, a ferry to hop on, a train to chug on, boats to row on, a park to swing on and glorious gardens to waltz on. We were there a good five hours in which we only succeeded half the lake, a ferry ride, a partial coverage of the gardens and of course a pot of tea, so there is plenty to see and do and the general unusual magnificence of the gardens is enough to just sit and observe for a while.

My personal favourite touch to the gardens though is that of the art and sculpture entwined within, the fairies dotted around the lake and gardens are enchanting and exquisite to find, and the statue of Perseus holding a decapitated Medusa pride of place in front of a splendid view of the lake is both macabre and fascinating.

Everywhere you turn there is a little something to feast your eyes on, but ultimately I did enjoy the idea of lounging in a deckchair under the sun and soaking up this beautiful weather in such a fine charming place; better than any medicine you can buy for the soul. However, Friday passed and all that caught up with me. Again, dosed up over the weekend I managed to plant out the vegetable patch before eventually succumbing to my fragile immune system and spending the rest of the fine weather asleep on the couch. It seems, there is only one cure for your standard common cold. Sleep, tea and plenty of vapor rub. But we can officially say, the first signs of summer have arrived.

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