"There will be a reading in the orchard at 4 pm. I hope to see you there!" The man, his whole body a sparkling smile, walked around, talking with everybody he met. Fran smiled back, "Yes, we will be there, we won´t miss it for the world."
Fran and I were spending the afternoon in Monk´s House and Garden, the weekend home of Virginia and Leonard Woolf down in East Sussex, not far from Lewes. We had been inside the house, talking about how Leonard loved to listen to classical music on his wireless, how Virginia, though no church goer herself, loved the view from her bedroom window directly out to the old church. And we had walked around the garden. The places so much loved by both Leonard and Virginia. On the train from Victoria Station down to Sussex I had been reading bits and pieces from Virginia´s A Writer´s Diary, and underlined As for the beauty, as always I say when I walk the terrace after breakfast, too much for one pair of eyes. Enough to float a whole population in happiness, if only they would look. Curiously a combination, this garden, with the church, and the cross of the churchblack against Asheham Hill. That is all the elements of the English brought together, accidentaly.
The clock approached four though, so we walked over to teh orchard. And there the actor read just that, In The Orchard.
There we were, in the middle of Virginia´s created world, in the middle of her universe.
I had read In The Orchard before. After I came home I have read it again. Many times. It is a story difficult to get into. What is the meaning? Why doesn she writes it three times, three different ways. Why this abrubt awakening "Oh, I shall ne late for tea?"
Standing there, listeing to the story read, watching the apple tree and the young woman who volunteered to play with the actor.....it all made sense.
Virginia and Leonard. It feels so natural to call them by their first names. I have read Viginia´s books for years and years, I have had Virginia´s diary, published by Leonard after her deat on my night stand for months and on our coffee table we have the garden book, the story of the garden at Monk´s House. It had been kind of real to me for years, though when I finally came to Monk´s House a couple of weeks ago, it was all completely different.
Virginia Woolf and her husband Leonard found Monk House in 1919. Siyuated in a tiny little Village, Rodmell, not far from Lewes in East Sussex, it was the perfect weekend home for them. "That will be our address for ever and ever" Virginia wrote after they aquired the house at an auction.
Virginia Woolf´s books have followed me almost all my reading life. I have struggled with her books and struggle often leads to love. I have known a little about Virginia´s life, like the fact that she commited suicide by drowing, but for years I did not know much more than than. Then, some years ago I started to read about her more seriously and last year I was lucky to visit an excition about her life at The National Gallery in London. Since then I have dreamed abour visiting Monk´s House.
Two weeks ago my dream came true. After having tea with Deborah in her garden and studio, Fran and I drove over to Rodmell. Had lunch in the village pub, and then headed down to Monk´s House, today a National Trust site.
Walking through the house was quite emotional. Here is where Virginia and Leonard spent so much of their lives. Where they entertained, where Leonard listened to classical music on the Wireless, where Virginia wrote her letters, and her books.
Where Virginia had her bedroom with the beautiful view out to the garden, and the little village church. Thoufg they were no church goers, they loved the church.
I had brought Virginia´s diary with me, and on the train from Victoria down to Lewes I read: Saturday March 27th 1937........As for the beauty, as I always say when I walk the terrace after breakfast, too much for one pair of eyes. Enough to float a whole population in happiness, if only they would look.Curiously a combination, this garden, with the church, and the cross of the church black against Asheham Hill. That is all the elements of the English brought together accidentally.
Being in all this beauty, after reading so much about it, after reading Virginia´s books for such a long time, felt almost unreal. Hard to take in.
It was real though, and in between flowers, roses, shrubs, trees, I could still meet Virginia. And Leonard, from the years he lived on after Virginia´s death.
Autumn had come to the garden when we were there. Just like autumn and a too early winter came to Virginia´s life.
Last year Fran and I visited Charleston, where Virginia´s sister Vanessa lived. Next time we hope to walk the Downs between Charleston and Monk House.
I had a meeting at the other side of Trondheim today. The meeting lasted all day and when we were finished my whole body wanted some fresj air, so I decided to walk back to the city and the bus home.
The colours were amazing. I could stand under a tree letting the falling leaves fill my mind with warm colours. I could walk in the leaf carpet, enjoying the crisp sound my feet made. I could let my eyes dance in the colour feast.
We have a very special rarity here in Trondheim, a lift for bicycles. Usually when I pass the area around the lift is filled with curious tourists, but today I saw only a solo biker. He had problems and in the end he had to give up and walk the steep hill.
The cathedral spire seen from the castle hill.
I can never in a million years get enough of this city of mine <3
In a window sill in the livingroom I have a book about birds, binoculars, a pen and a special notebook where I write down the name of the birds visiting our garden. I love to sit in the armchair in front of the window, watching the birds.....and the squirrels :-)
I would love to invite you all for tea one morning, to watch the birds with me, but since that is impossible, I decided to post a few pictures taken today instead.
Tits, sparrows, finches........do you know their names?
This is the first time I see a coal tit in the garden. It has probably been here before though, without me noticing. Keeping track of the birds in the garden has been a great way for me to learn new names, to see even the tiny little variatons between the birds.
In the blog Fløy en liten blåfugl you can read about/see more birds, from my garden and from other places as well.
This morning Terje and I drove down to the harbour and The Coastal Line to pick up Diana and John from Manchester. They are on a cruise along the coast of Northern Norway and had three hours in Trondheim. We drove them around the city, up to the Granåsen ski jump arena, home to The House in the Woods for coffee and some typical Norwegian snacks. Back downtown for the cathedral, the Old City Bridge and the bicycle lift Trampe and at last Our Lady´s Church, before driving them back to the ship, hugs, waving goodbye and "hope to see you again".......
A few weeks ago I had no idea that Diana and John excisted. A week ago I met John in London and spent a very interesting hour with him. Today the four of us met, me, Terje, Diana and John, and a friendship started to grow.
The tale behind the meeting I had with John in London is too long to tell here, but hopefully it might lead to something very interesting in the future, and then I promise I will tell you about it ;-)
So why this blog post, you might ask....... Good question, and I have a good answer.
Think of all the nice things, blessings, meetings, new friendships awaiting you in the future. As I said, a few weeks ago I had no idea that there was a man and his wife in Manchester planning a tour to Norway. And here we are now :-)
Who knows what tomorrow will bring you? And the day after, next week, next month?
Do you know that I have 15 different blogs? Yes, you got it correct, 15!!! Some of them are vary active, like this Britt-Arnhild´s House in the Woods which is my main blog. Others are sleeping for long periods. But all of them are alive, more or less.
Today I will tell you about them all, and give you the links. So make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and come along.
1. Blåklokkeveien This blog is in my mother tongue, Norwegian. The name Blåklokkeveien means Blue Bell Road, which was the name of the street where I grew up. The Norwegian blue bell is not the same as the English one though, the latin name is campanula rotundifolia. Blåklokkeveien is a place for reflections on life.
2. Books on the Menu In this blog, written in English, I share books which means something special to me. Often it is book about travels, and naturally travel tales are often included.
6. Caffe Avec Together with Blåklokkeveien this is my favorite blog, though I don´t use it as often as I want to. I got the idea many years ago when my husband and I were in Krakow, discovering the many cafes there. The goal with the blog is to share travel tales over a cup of coffee, though from time to time the blog has other themes as well. Like in December a couple of years ago when I posted one nativity scene every day, together with a travel tale from where the nativity came from.
7. Edens Hage This is my most recent blog. A place where I plan to share visits I have had to botanical gardens and parks around the world.
I am back home and sorting through my photos. Yesterday was a lovely day in Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens. Packed with people because of some Half Marathon, but it is always possible to find quiet places.
Had a very long travel home though. When I came to Gardermoen in Oslo, from Heathrow, London, I learned that the airport outside Trondheim was closed because og mist. Had to take a night bus home.....7 hours. It was worth it though. The past 10 days has been a dream.
Back in April my husband and I were in London for a few days. During our time here we took the train down to Chichester in Sussex for an overnight stay and for a meet up with my very dear friend (and blog reader) Fran and her husband Steve. While we were there vi payed a visit to Chichester cathedral, and there we came over a very interesting installation with 1000 tear bottles. I blogged about it, you can read the blog here. Some time after we came home, the artist of the bottles, Deborah Tompsett, found my blog and contacted me, and since then we have sent a few emails back and forth between us.
When Deborah learned that I was coming back to London again, and even south to Sussex to visit Fran, she invited both of us to come to her garden, and her studio.
And today was the day we entered a tiny little paradice garden and workshop south in England. We had planned to stay for a short while, we ended up being there for hours. We had so much to talk about, so much to share, and in the middle of all three of us chatting along, Fran and Deborah suddenly dircovered they had been in school together, same year, though not same classes.
Deborah is a very talented artist, and has some very exciting projects coming up. I am sure I will be able to tell you more about them later.......
.....for the moment I want you to cross your fingers that I manage to help Deborah to get her artwork to be displayed in Norway, somehow!
All texts and photos by Britt-Arnhild Wigum Lindland
I am living in a red house surrounded by a blue garden near Trondheim, Norway. I love everydays and post about my steps through life. Britt-Arnhild's House in the Woods is open to everybody. Welcome over!