Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The UK Files - The green and the weather

We landed in the UK just before spring was officially announced. It was still very green, but the trees were bare. Yet, it was a haunting kind of beauty, because I could see the shapes of the branches - some trees standing up reaching to the sky, some stretching their arms sideways, and many of them, the most beautiful ones, had branches drooping down, only to slightly perk up at the ends.

There wasn't much colour, except for daffodils - and these stood proud and yellow and beautiful. But they did indeed haste away very soon, and in fact, dry daffodils are a sore sight.

As our stay progressed, the chill decreased, and fuzz started appearing on the trees. This was a unique sight in my eyes, because the trees weren't really bare any longer - it was like you weren't wearing spectacles - the branches were hazy.

We didn't go out much for a week, thanks to the rain and cold and other activities at home, and on the next drive to Sainsbury's, everything was astonishingly different. Green of all shades had burst forth and the landscape was choking with green. I couldn't even recognize the roads as the same we'd driven through before. Farms that I could see through hedges were now hidden, the hedges having sprouted new leaves.

And in a few weeks, the colours came. Bold, exquisite Magnolias, the prettiest cherry blossoms of a thousand colours, and much later, the loveliest laburnum and the strangely beautiful wisteria.
Names I'd only read came alive before my eyes.

The beauty of that country is remarkable. I think it makes more of an effect because there is so much of it in such little space. And to someone who likes green, it is paradise.

Representative photos of a tree in my aunt's backyard:

End of March

Mid April

End of May

But the associated problems with cold and wetness - I cannot get over how long it takes to get ready to step outside. And I'd thought that one coat would be enough - I realize now that you need coats of different textures and thicknesses for every consecutive day! And layering - such a pain, but the most sensible thing to do.

Sometimes it looks sunny, and out you go, and the moment the sun pops behind a cloud, you're all a-shiver, sure you'll freeze. The sun comes out in a minute, and you're fine again. Really, what does that country expect one to do?

I realized I was prone to chilblains. Waking up at midnight with my toes itching so much that I felt like biting them out.

And how many plans have been ruined by the weather? In India, we say, okay let's go to say, Nandi Hills this Saturday. And we go. In England, you think about having a picnic in either Reading or Maidenhead. open the weather website, check the weather. Saturday looks wet in Reading, wetter in Maidenhead. How about Sunday? Oh no it is very wet in Maidenhead but Reading looks fine. But very very cold. And windy. Hmmm. Let's postpone to next weekend.
I found it very funny initially how every plan first started with a visit to the weather website. At the end of my visit, I was at it too.

Nothing like travel to put things in perspective. The day I got back to Bangalore, I felt a warm breeze on my face and felt so wonderful. I went out, taking care to wear the lightest clothes, and felt the sun on my skin and the lightness of being that comes from wearing no extra layers of clothes! But I went out and got depressed about the smoke and the dust and the lack of greenery, things I'd not thought about at all before.

Next: Familiarity

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hAAthi said...

im loving the travel re-cap series :)

for someone like me who longs and yearns to travel to many-a-places, this kind of reading makes for a strange vicarious pleasure in making a trip through someone elses experiences!

sandhya said...

All that talk about Maidenhead is making me have a serious bout of nostalgia.:)
And with you with the greenery.

praneshachar said...

green green lush green nothing can beat that for those who love nature. you have summed up beautifully two faces of coin we live in one we can plan and execute what we need but once you execute a week end trip you feel so bad seeing all bottles broken in all most all places, people just forget the people around and do what they want. I was shocked when a young guy got the glass of bottle stuck in his leg during my recent visit to hogenekal, so much so they were enjoying with clean water and alas!! some bottles were thrown after drink and the broken glass entered he was in gr8 pains, be brother in law has some ointment and pain killer he helped him, but poor guy could not bear the pain, finally his friend literally took him on his back and carried. some how we lack discipline thro all things at all places and u feel so miserable when u see all these things when u really want to spend a good day outside with family and friends.
dust sound and what not so much polluted we are
shruthi good reading for people like who have not seen these places I enjoyed reading and will not miss any one to follow. thanks for updating here for our benefit

hAAthi said...

i want more i want more! give us ur next update!

Arundhati said...

This post brought back memories. Good read.

Shruthi said...

Haathi, glad you're enjoying it! And more updates coming up, coming up!

Sandhya, have you written about your experiences anywhere?

Praneshachar, glad you enjoy it!

Arundhati, thank you!

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