Guest Post :: Talk A Walk in England With Melanie Grimes

Today I’m SUPER excited to share a special guest post by my good friend Melanie Grimes, aka Britgirl, whose work and blog I’ve been following for years. I think I first started following her around 2007, when I became enamored with her crazy-good digital scrapbooking skills. The woman is a fantastic photographer and storyteller!  Even after the DS world fell by the wayside for me, I continued to trade blog comments (and eventually emails) with her because it gave me a regular peek into English life – plus seeing a mom of four handle life with such humor and grace is inspiring. Melanie moved to the countryside last year, which thrills this Anglophile’s heart even more. I just love to live vicariously through her photos! (Seeing as I spent the summer of 2004 in London and miss England terribly.) We’ve never met in real life, but it’s one of those connections that we both know we have guaranteed places to stay if we’re ever in the area. So without further ado, I’ll let Mel take us on a tour of her neighborhood!
I live {okay we live – there at least four of us at home, not including the absent big kids, nor the chickens and the cat}, in a pretty little rural area called Wellow. It’s just outside a small town, which in itself is just outside a big city called Southampton, on the south coast of the UK. :) I’m not a city girl, despite my shoe collection and coffee habit, I’m a country girl, and it does my soul good to have moved back to the fields and lanes after a chunk of time in the suburbs.

Now you know all that, would you like to come for a walk along our lanes with me? Its nearly-sort of-maybe spring and I’d love to show you what’s changing along with the seasons around here.

Take A Walk in England with Melanie Grimes

Our lane is always inviting to me, covered in snow, half flooded with rain or finally, after a weeks of atrocious weather, looking like it does here.

Take A Walk in England with Melanie Grimes

The daffodils are out, taking over from the snowdrops and paving the way for the bluebells. I love daffodils, they are so very cheery.

The hedges are looking springlike too. I know, they are still bare of leaves and might not look very springlike to you, but you see they have been cut, by the big noisy tractor and hedge trimmer combination that takes over the lanes at this time of year. This happens for the first time each year in early spring.

Take A Walk in England with Melanie Grimes

The primroses are out, suddenly appearing everywhere along the lane. And for a change this view across the fields isn’t flooded!

I did try to get a picture of a pheasant. But they are super speedy when you point cameras at them – being target practise a lot of the year makes you nervy like that. ;) So just take my word for it, you can see and hear a lot of pheasants along here.

Let’s take the lefthand turning…

Take A Walk in England with Melanie Grimes

past this little house, its very small with slightly aged curved walls, and it sits half hidden by the hedgerow. I call it the hobbit house, because thats what it reminds me of, but don’t tell the owners, I’m not sure they’d be flattered. ;)

I’m sure this just looks like a muddy lane to you, but I can see a real difference along here, spots of greenery to start with. And once you get to the corner, you can see road instead of water.

Take A Walk in England with Melanie Grimes

This is the ford, where a river crosses the road. In the winter water comes up to where I stood to take the picture -  up to 7 foot deep. Today its back to less than two feet and just in the dip. The white bollard you can just see in the shot, is one of many the locals drag across the road once the water rises, to stop tourist traffic from ‘just seeing’ if they can get across. Because usually they can’t, and the locals probably don’t want to come tow them out every ten minutes. ;)

Take A Walk in England with Melanie Grimes

Luckily, we can use the footbridge. If you don’t mind waiting for a quick stick race or two….

I notice a mass of new green leaves, and shout to my daughters “look! buds! how exciting!”

Yes; I am a bundle of fun ;) and prone to being excited by any greenery after this long long winter. No; my daughters aren’t quite as impressed as I am.

Take A Walk in England with Melanie Grimes

All the farm houses around here look like Mr Darcy will come striding out of the them any minute. {Sadly, he doesn’t, no matter how long I stand and wait.}

This piece of land is for sale, and I’ve already asked Santa for it. Yes, true, Santa was not very encouraging and did not say yes, but to be fair he didn’t say no either…. ;)

Take A Walk in England with Melanie Grimes

Turning off the village road on to grass track. Again, I’m noticing the change in the weather here, there is only ankle deep mud here usually. It’s our route home tho, down here and across the bridge…there’s quite a few little rivers and streams around us. This is the river Blackwater. The path after the bridge takes you through a field. Often this field is empty, but right now there are quite a few large sows in here! Don’t worry, we are divided by an electric fence.  They are huge... and they breed the ‘free range pork’ on all the local restaurant menus.

Take A Walk in England with Melanie Grimes

Finally, at the bottom of the field we get a glimpse of our house again – see the roof with the two skylight windows in? We are pretty glad to see it, as the sun has definitely gone in now and it’s rather chilly. This is why its still referred to as nearly-sort of-maybe spring….

Back on to our lane and we reach our house. Time to put the kettle on; Trude anyone for tea?

I can’t thank Melanie enough for taking the time to share her work and words! If you want to see more, I suggest starting with these hilarious photos of feeding time for otters, or of a classic old English town, or this one showing how great her eldest son is with his little sisters.