I really do have an emotional attachment to castles. I truly want to live in an Irish castle one day, and have a room at the top of a turret dedicated to dresses.
I decided to wear my 1960's hipster dress again that I picked up in an antique shop, because there is something about dark green velvet I associate with castles. If you have a look on my Instagram you'll see it in one of my earlier posts, when I took it to go and paint in a forest with a couple of (also painter) friends.
The sun surprised me so much I felt like I'd walked into an entirely different world. But it does always happen to me during winter; I forget what the sun feels like. So much so, that it's actually a shock that it would ever come back again.
We walked up to the castle only because we didn't realise there was a carpark beside it. But I'm so glad we didn't, because the view of the entire mount was so impressive when on turning a corner this was the sight before us.
Another surprise was the railway running below it, which again we would have missed. And behind us was an old fashioned station that ran a stream train! I have always loved steam trains. I love the beginning of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe where Edmund, Susan, Peter and Lucy board a fern green train and chug their way to the countryside...and countless others books and films that feature them. Another one is Agatha Christie's 'Murder on the Orient Express'...For my twelfth birthday I so wanted to take a few friends with me and board a steam train. In the end it didn't work out because there were none near us, but it remains a dream for me to board one with someone I love.
I couldn't quite believe I was surrounded by fields and actually free to do what I liked. I had totally forgotten the feeling of being let loose in the countryside- but I'm not sure I agree that we should ever get to that point. Giving your mind a rest from constantly having things to do is so fundamental. One thing my mum and I have challenged each other to do is organise more fun things. Perhaps I could pick a castle a month to visit...when I get my act together.
I really felt at home in this dress because I could imagine the inhabitants of the castle wearing dresses similar, and that helped my imagination get going.
The castle is insanely old- from 970 years ago. King John kept his crown jewels there, so who knows, maybe Robin Hood spied the castle from a nearby forest at some point...
Later a Dame named Mary was left alone without her husband in the castle, when it came under attack during the English civil war. She killed soliders and threw burning torches as they climbed the walls. I don't think I have that sort of courage- but there you go.
It felt like a novelty to be able to bask in the sun on the soft grass between the rocky walls. The sky just seemed to get bluer and bluer...until it looked like forget-me-nots.
There is still a moat down the bottom, which my dog enjoyed immensely- he's always up for a splashy paddle. I suppose it's only a stream now, but the water is clear not at all dirty, and there are little steps down to it, as well as a space where children can play besides the water. It was interesting to realise how different the castle looks from each angle. This was something pointed out to me, but I soon realised how true it was. It's something very evident looking back at the photos too.
Oh I adored this little corner, with its tremendously far-reaching views. The land seemed to be never-ending, and it was comforting to see how unspoilt it was. Out of all the spots I think this is where I most felt like that Dame Mary, wistfully looking out of the window frustrated that her husband would not come home.
We had a drink overlooking the castle when we'd finished. It was in a remarkably picturesque tea room with beautiful gardens. I felt very English with my cup of tea overlooking a castle and green fields, but that wasn't at all a bad feeling.
Then afterwards we explored the village. Again, all looked very quaint; though I have to admit it crossed my mind that the village wouldn't have looked half as pretty on an average clouded-over British day, because the stone was that sort of grey.
There was an antique shop in the prettiest of houses (the one below), and a small shop selling some charming rings next door. The bright colour of the gems were dazzling. The owner told us he had five dogs, and since it was approaching four thirty, we soon met three of them which came skipping into the shop to call the man home. They were all rescue dogs, and I loved the passion and love with which the man spoke of them.
On the way back we passed so many flowers I had to take a few shots. It has to be said, the day left it indisputable that spring has arrived.