The Sweetest Song of all Comes from a Red Kite a Huge Ungainly Bird

It’s high time you were told a little more about where we’ve been living the past three weeks and will be for another week.  11A Rickman Close (a British term for a cul de sac) is a substantial two-story brick house in the Arborfield town, Wokingham District, Reading, Berkshire. The Sweetest Song of all comes from a Red Kite a huge ungainly bird

The Sweetest Song of all comes from a Red Kite a huge ungainly bird

The Sweetest Song of all comes from a Red Kite a huge ungainly bird
Red Kite

We are ensconced in a second floor bedroom facing east with the morning sun streaming in the trees, highlighting the gardens, patio and lawn and reflecting off the greenhouse. A flock of several bird species is apparently on contract to provide agreeable morning music. (Morning rise is dictated by our furry charge, and she’s an early riser at 6.) The sweetest song of all comes from a red kite, a huge ungainly bird.

 

 

Our main job here is caring for Emmy

Downstairs is living room (lounge), dining room, another bedroom and a large kitchen better equipped than the inn’s kitchen in Ashland. We spend a lot of time there and on the patio just out the back door. Our main job here is caring for Emmy, a beautiful golden retriever who lost her rear left leg in an encounter with a vehicle (large lorry) several years ago. She gets around well, moving as her indomitable spirit moves her, from beds in each room, the sofas, and the patio. We go on short walks.  After a sit-down strike on a three block walk early in Our Life Together, we shortened the length of walks.

We’re enjoying gardening and benefitting from Fran’s flowers and Alan’s vegetables. The Newsons, who are spending the month in Thailand, encouraged us to eat the harvest of  the corn, beans, tomatoes and other produce. We’ve done what we were told to, as have Newson children and neighbors.

The Sweetest Song of all comes from a Red Kite a huge ungainly bird
Emmy and David

Lots of Wokingham reminds us of Deedie’s home town of Wayne, PA

The house is on a one-block street four miles outside the Wokingham town center and seven miles from Reading and 38 miles southeast of London.

Lots of Wokingham reminds us of Deedie’s home town of Wayne, PA — a suburban area grown up with twisty road patterns from its rural past, fine homes and small shops. The population is just under 50,000. Reading, famous for its beer, is a small city of some 300,000.

Close as we are to town, it’s still pretty rural with a large farm across the street and horses in fields on both sides. A former Army garrison sits idle beyond the back garden. The Newsons have an acre and while I’ve mowed the garden inside Emmy’s fenced area, I haven’t gathered the nerve to get out Alan’s ride on mower for the back 40. My Dad would not be proud of this report but in my defense I was not briefed on the mower’s operation.

Stonor garden

In our next to the last week here before going to Kent, we’ve continued to get around the countryside. Tuesday was a visit to the Stonor garden outside Henley with lunch on the Thames in Henley. Wednesday we returned  to Windsor for a castle tour with a mid-afternoon meal in Ascot and Thursday was a garden visit in a Reading suburb on the Thames….

 

The Sweetest Song of all comes from a Red Kite a huge ungainly bird
Stonor Garden

The Stonor garden is part of an 800 year old estate located in a beautiful valley and deer park, with an ancient stone ring, a mini Stonehenge. The formal garden is beautifully laid out and while there were a few varieties we did not recognize, most were things we had planted in our various much smaller English  gardens.  Workers were setting up an extensive, two-block tent city for an annual craft show at the entrance to the estate and marking out parking for hundreds of vehicles that will create a huge traffic jam on the narrow road. Our Henley pub, The Angel on the Bridge,  was lovely, as they say often here.  No scullers, but there was plenty of boat traffic —- everything from tourists paddling plastic launches to large family motor boats/yachts having to fold down high tops to get under the bridge.

Windsor Castle

The Sweetest Song of all comes from a Red Kite a huge ungainly bird
Deedie leading Windsor guards!

Windsor Castle’s been occupied for nearly 1,000 years, and early kings used it to  establish their power and influence. Today, the Queen and Prince Philip use it to relax in on weekends as well as for various functions. St. George’s Hall is large enough for them to comfortably seat 160 for a dinner party. It’s enormous, with its  over decorated (David!) rooms, paintings by old masters, rugs the size of basketball courts, silver and china galore.  What can we say. We were overwhelmed.  It isn’t exactly homey, or homely as they say here. The castle and town were elbow-to-elbow crowded.  Because of parking difficulties, we passed up the many eateries in Windsor in favor of a pub just down the street from Ascot’s race course, the Stag.  The racing season has ended and we were not properly attired for it anyway.  (See www.ascot.co.uk for dress code.)

 

The Sweetest Song of all comes from a Red Kite a huge ungainly bird
Swans a swimming on the Thames

Caversham Park is a fine garden on the Thames, home to hundreds of swans. The opposite side was filled with thousands of young people gathering for the annual Reading Music Festival, the largest in the country, occurring each year on the end of summer bank holiday weekend. The swans didn’t let the riffraff disturb their serenity. A new young friend named Tillie earnestly threw crumbs out, drawing more than seven swans a’swimming.

The Sweetest Song of all comes from a Red Kite a huge ungainly bird
Caversham garden

The Sweetest Song of all comes from a Red Kite a huge ungainly bird

The Sweetest Song of all comes from a Red Kite a huge ungainly bird