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England is a Garden by Catherine Hamilton

Updated: Apr 23, 2021

1985, Bracken Books

I bought this book for my Mom in England while traveling with Sue in 1985, and recently decided to read through it before giving it to Sue as a keepsake.

I liked the drawing of a peony, also called "Sho-Yo" ("the beautiful" in Chinese), the "Sarah Bernhardt," or "the glory of the garden in June." I was reminded of the most beautiful bouquet of peonies Sue once sent me, a magical multicolor mixture opening little by little to reveal their loveliness.

The book revealed places I'd like to see, preferably with but even without the flowers, and I'm sure Sue will agree we should add them to our post-covid-travel-wish-list.

Places to Visit in England

Exeter Cathedral in Devonshire, the author and illustrator writes, is "the most colorful and warmest cathedral in the kingdom."

Shakespeare's Garden

Don't forget to look behind the bard's house at Shakespeare's birthplace garden, Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwikshire.

The Lake District, including Dove Cottage, once home of William Wordsworth.

Part of Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian's Wall at Walltown Crags, Northumberland.

The twisted spire of St Mary All Saints Church, Derbyshire, Chesterfield.

Penzance (inspiration for "The Pirates of Penzance") in Cornwall.

"Stow-on-the-wold where the wind blows cold," Cotswolds, Gloucestershire.

Kew Gardens, Richmond. (This may be where I bought the book in the first place...)

Also in Cornwall, look for the Cornish good luck fairy which the author says can be seen everywhere!


Tricked by a Pixie!

Updated 23 April 2021

Cornish Pisky on Jo's door near Paris, France

When I originally wrote this post, my internet search for a photo of a Cornish good luck fairy on a house gate or door was unsuccessful. I'd been fascinated by a photo of one such fairy in England is a Garden, but I'd already mailed the book to Sue. Imagine my surprise this morning when I noticed for the first time this frolicky little fellow on Jo's front door, the same door I've been walking through every week for the past two years or more! This pesky prankster is a Cornish pisky, a type of fairy called a knocker, known to knock on the walls of tin mines in order to help, or hinder, the miners as they toil underground.

This particular pisky is from Cornwall, where Jo and her family used to vacation before setting up across the water in Ireland to escape crowds of Londoners. They bought a vacation house in a village called Rath, which Jo says is pronounced like "raw" and means "circle of fairies" or "fairy fort".

That's the story of my morning, will wonders never cease? What a glory is life which can bring us down with thoughts of its impermanence but then back up by...a Cornish pisky?!

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