It's odd to think of 'seeing spring in'. I suppose that's because it's so easy to just fall into it, to be cold and wearing three blankets to crawling out of your house like a perplexed bear into bright sunshine and all-consuming warmth. Whilst I was studying my masters at university, I didn't really 'see' the seasons changing. I spent a ridiculous amount of time in the library and when I wasn't there I was on the bus, on the train or in the gym. All of a sudden it was summer and I was back indoors for the most part, typing up my thesis.
This year, with my hour long commute and working in a place that doesn't require me to go outside during the day, I've craved the outdoors. Unsteady ground, thick jumpers taken on and off with intermittent sunshine, picnics in poorly wrapped clingfilm, bashing muddy boots outside the back door, spotting rogue daffodils on grass verges in places so unlikely you wondered who planted them there in the first place.
The long Easter weekend was a beautiful bliss that brought me back to Norfolk. Coming home, as ever, with a suitcase full to the brim with inessential essentials, I had to borrow sensible clothing and Mum's walking boots for our windy walk around Blickling Hall.
Blickling Hall is a National Trust site with an affectionate spot in the hearts of most Norfolkians. Despite it being down a little, quintessentially country lane, you'll find yourself driving past it to get to most places. No one really knows why. The house itself is a beautiful red-brick mansion and after Felbrigg, it's my favourite estate in the county. The house itself is truly beautiful and the drawing room and library are swoon-worthy. It's said that Queen Elizabeth - cheesed off with how rich and powerful the owners were becoming - invited herself to stay and requested a insupportable amount of extravagant banquets, which pushed the owners to near bankruptcy. Naturally, at this point she went back to London. Mission accomplished. Queen of Sass.
The grounds are free to wander around, which was super for us and our picnic. We found a little spot sheltered by the woods to open up our lunch, tucking wrappers under the thermos and camera case to stop them blowing away in the wind. Joe made a Spanish tortilla, which I have now discovered is a hugely tasty and convenient picnic item. Don't laugh at me. It is widely known that the pursuit of the perfect picnic is pretty high up on my priority list. However, In two hours we were graced with angling wind, misty rain, ominous clouds and then brilliant, warm sunshine. Luckily for us, this set the tone for the rest of the day.
The perimeter drops down into a moat like defence and the daffodils I saw there were like shawls of brightly coloured fish, dipping and dancing in the breeze. At one point, thinking ourselves clever, we stepped over a wire fence to walk down a less-trodden path. It turned out there was a reason for this. One, a bull was in the next field. Two, the fence was electrified. Realising there was no way out except back over the fence, Joe easily stepped over with his lolloping legs. I freaked and stood panicking, convinced I was going to get zapped in the worst place trying to escape. Long story short, I had to be carried. Not my finest 'country girl' moment...
Nipping in and out of the cultivated garden is a treat I will never grow out of. When I was 4 and refused to walk any further, when I was 10 and convinced hopping blackbirds would lead me to a secret garden, when I was 16 and envisaged myself in bonnet and muslin taking a 'turn around the garden', and now at 24 with my chap and a heart full of warmth from spring weather and his handsome smile, leading him around a place I know so well.
If gardens and the first bluebells of spring don't quite do it for you; go to Blickling Hall for the sausage rolls. They're excellent. Trust me, I've eaten enough to know.
For the rest of this week I'll be in Lisbon, swapping sausage rolls for custard tarts; a worthy substitute! I'll be on the ol' wifi every now and again to have a read of your comments and of course, post on Instagram. Expect tiles and pastries galore.
Have a wonderful rest of the week!
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