On Monday afternoon memories collided with the present. When I learned a friend from highschool would be passing through Stamford with her daughter to see Burghley House I offered to put them up and I’m so glad they stopped over. It was lovely to see her, meet her daughter and talk about the past and the present. We talked about memories, writing, books and people we used to know. Yesterday morning we went up to Burghley House and I took 235 pictures. With the clouds passing quickly over bright sunshine it was one of those days where pictures seem to appear and disappear as fast as you can raise your camera, but I kept snapping and caught some lovely images.
The private gardens are usually closed to visitors as people with small children actually live on the ground floor of the house, but they were open yesterday. The large round trees are shaped yews. Yew always seems to have an aura of history, but then it can live for well over a thousand years if left alone. My favorite bushes were also in abundance with the heavenly scent of box hedges on the wind. When I came upon the cherry trees I saw them outlined against a grey cloud. The wind swept it on and the pink flowers seemed to deepen against the brilliant blue. I felt like I had been transported into VanGogh’s painting of cherry blossoms. I lifted my camera and started trying to find a picture. I quite like this one, though I think the one (not pictured) with the large bumble bee mid flight is really good too. I turned around and noticed the old summer house, it’s old panes of glass wavering, shimmering the reflected images of the sky.
Curious, I aproached to see inside it, but it was empty and the sun was so bright I could barely see anything past the magic glass reflecting me and the world behind me. If the glass wasn’t old, each pane had been cut from hand blown glass, flattened and cut into rectangles; causing that visual rippling that makes the world appear painted by someone who unconsiously turned to paint each section without getting it quite right. As I stood there I couldn’t help seeing me in my bright orange sweater. My friend Canwin on her blog had asked people to send in selfportaits so not knowing if any of them would come out I started taking photos with the lens at different positions. Miraculously, the magic glass reflected an image of me that I really like. As you can see I cut my hair. I woke up with bad hair last week and cut it off in a pique. I should probably get a proper cut, but I can’t be bothered. So I stood there for several long minutes smiling at myself. With hindsight, I wish I’d taken more. One of the photos where my image is quite blurry; when I darkened and sharpened it…I swear this bald man’s face seems to appear behind me, but there was no one behind me! Ok, I’m probably just imaging things, but it is kind of weird. There isn’t anything weird besides me in this selfportrait!
It was so lovely being able to share all that beauty with Stephanie and her daughter. Have you ever noticed how some days just feel perfect? It was sad to wave them away as they continued their adventure, but I feel very blessed to have been a part of it. I spent the rest of the day going through all the photos and deleting the ones that weren’t as good. I got some gorgeous mother and daughter shots that look almost like professional posed portraits. They’ll look at them and remember the crazy woman in orange running before them and snapping like mad. I suspect heaven will be a lot like Teusday!