It’s a common joke, and one I’ve made before myself, that one of the best things about Chippenham is how easy it is to get to other places. From having the picturesque villages of the Cotswolds on its doorstep to train links to London, Chippenham tends to be viewed as a place you live, not visit.
However, a recent morning saw the emergence of blue skies and sun for the first time in weeks … and I was stuck without a chauffeur (a.k.a. MrElaineous). I decided strike out on my own on foot to see what was happening.
I have been keeping a close eye on the advancement of spring, from the appearance of snowdrops to crocuses to daffodils, but I had somehow overlooked that some of the most impressive spring blossoms were starting to make their presence known. Magnolias, cherries, plums, and forsythia have burst into bloom across the town, and I pinballed from one flower-laden tree to another.
In turn, the flowers have brought out the bees and other pollinators who are making the most of this early spring feast. Standing under one such tree while listening to the steady hum of bees going about their business (bees-ness?) was almost enough to overwhelm the senses: the blue of the sky peeking through the branches, the delicate scent and vibrant colour of the blossoms, the heat of the sun, and the buzzing of bees was pure, concentrated spring.
I even popped by “Woody Woods”, a scrap of wilderness that only has a name because of Google maps and one I know better from my Off the Ground work because it is commonly full of litter. However, on this day it was clean (if I didn’t look too hard), and from its babbling brook and stepping stones to the singing of birds, it is a charming spot to have smack in the middle of a residential area.
Gardens that I typically admire from the confines of the car were even more impressive in person, and gardens that can’t be seen from the car unfolded themselves while on foot; both were a sheer riot of colour. The local parks had sprouted happy dogs and their people, along with ball games of every description.
I think it’s so easy to take the familiar for granted, those things that we pass on a daily basis while going from A to B, or to look towards “someplace else” as the ultimate area to explore. Sometimes it takes something unfamiliar—in this case a day of sunshine and blue skies—to see things in a whole new light.