Sunday, May 17, 2015

Botanical Gardens

Its my last day in Durham and I have decided to go to the Botanical Gardens of the Durham University and then back to the Cathedral.

   On the way I will pass some colleges of the University.  

Ian, with whom I am staying,  is a math instructor at the University.  I should say, in truth, he is a math wizard and just happens to be a popular professor .   I would not even be able to talk to him on the level of his abstruse subject.  I might as well try to speak a dialect of Ethiopia.   But luckily for me,  you would never know this unless you knew that his mind operates like this.  It is easy to speak to him. 

 He informs me that all of these different colleges that I see on the "campus" are really just communities of students who live and commune together, as constituent parts of the larger university...a bit like a dorm.  There are not actually instructors giving different classes at each college.

  It is completely different from the system in the United States or France.  In the U. S.  the word "college " is used interchangeably with "university".   In France it is different still:  a "college" refers to a junior high school where you will find young people 11-15 years old. 

  There are some beautiful colleges in Durham.  My favorite of those I have passed is St Mary's College.

Stone marking the college of St Mary's   photo by Mary M Payne

Walkway to St Mary's College, Durham  photo by Mary M Payne

 I take the footpath past it to the Botanical Gardens.... seeing many  students on the way.    I pass a flowering cherry tree not realizing it will be the only flowering tree I see that morning. 

Cherry tree , Durham   photo by Mary M Payne

The cherry looks out over this lovely view of the distant Cathedral. The view could be the subject of a John Constable painting.

Durham Cathedral,   photo by Mary M Payne

At the Gardens, I ask for and get a "troisiĆ©me age" discount known  as  a senior discount.  TroisiĆ©me age is what it is called in France.    I sort of like that , it gives one a sense of entitlement for getting this far in life and it denotes a" do-over", erasing all the failures.   Start over in your third age, good idea...everything else has changed!  

The grounds are lovely in the Botanical Gardens.   But except for a few magnificent pots of tulips, NOTHING is blooming today.   I guess I kind of expected flowers so I am temporarily disappointed.   And the promised sheep in the pasture of the gardens were removed in March. Humph.  

Pots of tulips, Durham Botanical Gardens,  Photo by Mary M Payne

 But there are some lovely walks,  and best of all there is a WIND.  The magnificent trees in the park are singing like a chorus of wild things.....which I suppose they are.  I picture all of the tree spirits drinking wine and playing cards and generally wise cracking.  It is more than soothing, it is cacophonous.   Still I love sitting on one of the many memorial benches and don't want to budge.  A gaggle of young school children go by with their teachers, but no one else.  

 But finally , the Cathedral is calling to me again.  I must go and give it some more time. 

Tree spirits communing..Durham Botanical Gardens  photo Mary M Payne

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