Here in the south east corner of England we have had, effectively, a drought for the best part of the last two months. The weather has been pretty warm and, occasionally, sunny too. A proper Indian Summer (why are they called that?).
The beginning of this week saw a change back to what we usually get at this time of year - damp, drizzle, wind, downpours, overcast, grey, grey, grey. Not even any decent mists, just lack of visibility due to showers which isn't the same thing, not at all.
But today? Today's been glorious again. Clear blue sky, warm bright sunshine, a day that just begs to be strolled about in.
I'm a member of a local Arts and Craft Society that holds exhibitions twice a year, in spring and autumn. I show my jewellery in the spring one but the autumn one is just for pictures. The exhibitions are all completely open which means that members can submit any picture they've created and it will be hung - there's no committee to decide whether it's good enough or not for public viewing. This generally results in an 'exciting' mix of styles. I don't like the concept of art (or literary) criticism - something I like another person might think is hideous, and vice versa. But there's no denying there are some extremely talented amateur artists out there, and there's usually a handful of pictures that I give serious consideration to buying. These sorts of amateur exhibitions are a brilliant way of buying original art that doesn't cost a fortune.
This is a long-winded way of saying that the autumn exhibition is running at the moment so I decided to pop over to have a look this morning. There were a few that caught my eye - one especially was a fab picture of a purple jellyfish, sadly out of my price range - but I couldn't decide so came away empty-handed.
As it was such a beautiful day I felt the need to take my camera out to catch some of the gorgeous autumn colours. A few days ago I'd said to The Lovely Husband that a trip to Winkworth Arboretum, a local National Trust site, might be in order and today was the day.
The site covers approximately 100 acres and, until 1937, was an undeveloped steep-sided valley with two fishing lakes, surrounded by rolling hills. It was sold to a Dr Wilfrid Fox who decided to assemble a large-scale collection of trees and shrubs within a semi-natural setting. In 1948 Dr Fox was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's highest award, the Victoria Medal of Honour for his work in ornamental street tree planting. He was particularly taken with the Sorbus, a group containing Mountain Ash and Whitebeam and, to this day, hundreds of these trees are still found at Winkworth.
In 1952 he gave 62 acres to the National Trust which bought a further 35 acres five years later. Dr Fox remained on the Management Committee overseeing the care and continued development of the site until his death in 1962.
So that's a spot of background history - now onto the (many!) pictures - don't forget you can click on each picture and it will open much bigger: