We spent a wonderful Sunday afternoon at Burnby Hall Gardens in Pocklington. It was like stepping back in time. Elland Silver Band played magnificently in the bandstand, watched by a huge audience, men in straw hats, ladies in summer dresses, all enjoying music and picnics in the afternoon sunshine.
Bigger Bertie is the latest addition to the gardens, standing proudly in a formal garden close to the aviary. He has to be seen to be believed, a huge, beautifully crafted horse on elegant rockers, made by Tony Dew’s craftsmen at The Rocking Horse Shop.
We just wandered round the lake, where the water lilies are coming into bloom. I realised how long it had been since we’d had the leisure to just amble about, doing nothing in particular. We always seem to be so busy at weekends. That isn’t a problem, we enjoy our weekends, but it was so nice to have no plan other than to walk, linger over coffee and cakes in the cafe, and smell the new growth on the juniper trees.
Apart from the formal gardens, there is a nature reserve, The Stumpery, where small mammals, birds and insects are encouraged. Shaded by cool woodland, every effort has been made to encourage wildlife, including the erection of ‘bug hotels’, wooden structures filled with reeds to help creatures survive the harsh winter months.
There are carvings emerging from ferns and foxgloves, Green Men and an incongruous interpretation of a Maori tiki. Somehow they all work, balanced, harmonious, magical.
It was such an old-fashioned afternoon, gentle, timeless, and restful. I sat for awhile indulging my favourite pastime – people watching. There were families, with buggies and toddlers, old couples strolling, hand-in-hand, all quietly enjoying the day. If ever proof was needed that environment affects behaviour, Sunday afternoon by the lake was it. I didn’t hear raised voices, no-one was rushing to be somewhere else. People were talking quietly to each other and actually looked happy. I didn’t see one person texting, or using a mobile phone, other than to take photos, as we did. Just so that we could take a bit of the magic home with us.