When I was growing up there was a large, majestic horse chestnut tree growing directly opposite my bedroom window. These trees speak to me of home, and are abundant around the places I have lived, but particulary the Royal parks of South West London which formed the backdrop to so many summer days of my childhood.
Every April something miraculous happens overnight and it seems stark branches suddenly bush out into lush newly formed leafy oases, white ‘candle’ blossoms abounding.
I took a walk along the riverside in the rain and the opposite bank, lined with these wonderful trees, presented a magical aura through the misty haze. They trigger in me a yearning down the years, a romance, a snapshot of a perfect Spring day in the leafy provinces of an English country garden.
I’m sure they exist in other countries but for me, they are forever England, and, done up in their spring finery, they whisper secrets from their hundreds of years of existence. Did they witness Henry VIII galloping past to shoot down a stag? They are part of our past, present and future and are as much about the experience of high summer to me as a the smell of mown grass, barbeques sizzling or the lazy progress of the bumble bee as it drifts from bloom to bloom.
I know, I know, I’ve come over all poetic!