Whilst the rest of the UK has been basking in long hot sunshine, the weather here has been less predictable. Unlike last year, we have not had the cloudless blue skies and balmy sun-drenched days.
(Cephalaria Gigantea in the garden)
However, this week the temperature on the barometer rose and the sun shone in a sky free of clouds. The heat was intense, making energetic activities and even stitching impossible. A trip to the coast was called for.
We drove through the County Down countryside, the sunshine intensifying the vibrant colours of the scenery. It really was a beautiful afternoon.
Topping the brow of a hill, I felt a vague unease, as I noticed a thin grey line on the horizon. My heart began to sink as we got closer to the coast and the grey line of sea mist grew darker, spreading thickly inland and blotting out the lovely sunshine. I tried not to let my frustration show and suppressed thoughts of the other alternative way of spending the late afternoon, sitting relaxing in the garden with a cool G&T,
enjoying the scent of the roses and the warmth of the sun on my skin.
Trying to look on the positive, I thought of breathing in the sea air and the change of scenery, even though the dark cloud cast a gloomy shadowy across the surrounding fields and hedgerows.
Parking at the verge above the little bay, my attention was instantly drawn to the wildflowers scattering the verge around the fence-line
and I momentarily forgot the chill in the air as I captured the images for potential stitching projects. Thoughts of picking the flowers did not enter my head - they belong outside with the bees and butterflies.
We descended down to the bay and strolled slowly along the sand. I watched a heron standing close by in the shallow water’s edge and suddenly became aware of the light glinting off the sea. Looking up, I saw sunbeams filtering through the clouds and to my joy; the clouds began swiftly dispersing and fading away to nothing.
The beach lit up in the delicious sunshine
and the world was transformed again.
The bay was deserted apart from a woman walking her dog, although in the distance the sound of children playing amongst the rocks, mingled with the cries of sea birds and the thrum of a boats engine far out at sea. At the far end of the beach, we passed through the wooden kissing gate and along the narrow path leading up towards the wildflower meadows.
Near the top of the path, the shady scrub and small trees that bordered each side ended
and we emerged into the bright sunlight.
I gasped as I beheld the most glorious sight
that made me feel as though I had walked straight into paradise.
An abundance of jewel coloured wildflowers scattered profusely across the meadows surrounded us as far as our eyes could see,
stopping only where the horizon met the blue of the sea
and the sky.
Swallows and swifts flew low overhead
and feathery grasses brushed our legs
as we made our way through the wildflowers,
treading carefully for fear of trampling on precious orchids
or the huge bumblebees that feasted on the clover at our feet.
There were wildflowers everywhere we turned
framing the horizons
from every aspect.
Birds Foot Trefoil, wild carrot, orchids,
wild thyme, clover,
scabious and poppies were just a few of the myriads of flowers in the meadows.
As the sun sank lower in the sky,
and we made our way reluctantly back to the car, a herd of bullocks moved towards us curiously,
We left the meadows and walked back down the path through the scrub.
Walking back across the beach, a hawk flew up from the sand in front of us.
It was an enchanting place, that I was sorry to have to leave, but the meadows as they looked that evening will remain etched on my memory,
and of course, with lots of images to inspire several stitching pieces, I know I will be re-living my happy time amongst the wildflowers.