100 Steps – Part 1 – Hidden Secrets!

The alarm went very early yesterday morning. Too early for a Saturday, but we had to be up and out on our way to Missenden Abbey where we were selling some of our wares to the students on textile and art courses. I have mentioned the Abbey before, and when I looked I discovered that I had even written about it exactly a year ago! We have been several times since then, in fair weather and foul. Yesterday travelling and arriving was definitely in foul weather. Squally gusts of heavy rain pounded us as we drove, and as we unpacked. It continued until lunchtime when there was respite for a while, and the sun shone encouragingly. It was quiet while the students enjoyed their lunch so I disappeared with my camera for a quick look around.

Well kept gardens and surrounds are the order of the day. Some areas are sympathetically cultivated, others are left wild, and it was to one of these that I was heading. I knew that it would be past its best, but on our previous visit it was covered in snow, with no sight of what I want to show you. However, to my amusement I found some surprises on the way, and as a result I now have my 100 steps!

A 100a

This is the drive at the front. The entrance to the Abbey lies behind me, my walk begins at the third tub on the left, just about in middle distance. The tubs are planted with polyanthus at the moment. They have struggled this year as the weather has been harsh, but colour is starting to appear and I’m sure that in a day or two they will be lovely. They aren’t the subject of this post, though, so on we go.

A 100b

And here is the tub mentioned above! But what’s that nestling in the pocket between the hedge and the grass?

A 100c

Snowdrops! I knew I’d find some. As I suspected, past their best, but pretty anyway. Hang on, though, can I see something else?

A 100d

I thought so, something black behind the bush. I’m sure it shouldn’t be there, but whatever is it?

A 100e

Goodness! It’s a wheelbarrow! I wonder if they have been hunting for it. It shouldn’t be there…. and neither should this….

A 100f

It’s a champagne bottle, but the label has long gone and it’s well and truly embedded in the ground, so it must have been missed when the gardens were last manicured!

A 100g

More? Well I have seen these before. They usually stand outside the entrance to mark disabled parking for specific students. One of the labels is still attached, so they were brought to their current position either by a very high wind (doubtful) or some local hooligans intent on causing mischief (probable)……

A 100h

My next unexpected find was a shell. Well hidden and looking very grubby. I’m tempted to imply that it was from an archaelogical dig and that it dates from xx000 years ago, but I don’t think you’d believe me.

I had embarked upon this stroll with the intention of seeing flowers, so far it was other items that had taken my attention, but now a seasonal bloom took my eye, such a pleasing sight

A 100k

Easter is nearly with us, and this seemed to be a reminder of just how fast the year is moving along. On the opposite side of the drive, however, was a reminder of what I actually wanted to see.

A 100i

More snowdrops! You see, these are just a tiny minority of the thousands that flower here each year

A 100j

As far as the eye can see, and nothing but snowdrops. Such a shame they are past their best because the view is stunning

A 100l

They just go on and on. There is a path through them, but it was very muddy and my feet were not suitable clad.

A 100m

They will be over by the time we next visit, so these pictures will have to do for this year. Hopefully we’ll be back at the right time in 2014. I hope you have enjoyed this walk with me. 100 steps isn’t far, and below is the reverse view down the drive, taken from the same spot as the above picture

A 100n

You can see the tub I mentioned earlier, and the main entrance to the Abbey. You can also glimpse the lawn disappearing into the distance. Keep the plan in mind because I have more to share. I had another little wonder shortly afterwards and found something that really surprised me. All too much for one post, so, in view of the fact that I’ve had to forego ‘100 Steps’ due to family sickness and other events I have decided that today I will treat you to two posts. I hope you will come back later to read the second, and if you would like to join in please leave a link below so that I can come and visit you. All you need to do is choose a starting place and take 100 steps, photographing as you do so. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can do it – and how you will notice things you didn’t know were there. More details here

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