Rummys Blog An world of endless Monday

Sunday, 27 June, 2010

Country parks and houses

Filed under: General — Andrew.Rowbottom @ 8:56 am

I’m reading Pride and Prejudice at the moment, about it I’m at the section where Lizzy is about to visit Pemberly and Ms Austin is describing the countryside. It has reminded me of the awe I am always given when I too visit some of the old estates. Not the buildings, though they are inspiring, but the landscaping. It amazes what the likes of Mr Capability Brown were able to do with vast sums of money and time.

Mind you it’s not just the application of money. In my humble and humongously ignorant opinion what these landscape architects did was done in two parts.

First off they re-arranged the landscape, moving drives, paths, adding ponds and lakes, even moving rivers if they felt like it. The end result is a view that is generally pleasing and in effect making the landscape match a pre-concieved mental, or possibly, physical image. Very impressive and all achieved in a relatively short time.

But for me this dwarfs in comprehension to what they did with the trees. After the landscape is arranged they decide where to plant trees, and what species should be grown. It doesn’t sound very impressive, a bit like arranging your flowerbed. But for me the impressive bit is that the outcome of this kind of work is long-term. It’s unlikely that any of the patrons that commisioned these works lived to see the grandeur of their plans come to realization. I’ve been to parks where the form, shape and arrangement of hundred year old trees is so much an intergral part of the scene that it’s hard to imagine how it looked when these were all just saplings.

It takes not just incredible sums of money but also an almost arrogant confidence in your family’s continued possesion of the property to commision this work.

It gives me a strange conflict of feelings, on the one hand I can see and almost phyically feel the natural/artifical beauty resonating with my (for want of a better word) soul. On the other hand I can’t forget it was all created by degrees of social inequality on a scale almost too large to notice.

It makes me think.

Country parks… I love country parks, I hardly ever visit them. I love them because they give the opportunity for townsfolk of almost all capabilites to experience something of the country. I also love them because they act as magnets for the majority of townies that want to “get away” to the country, and (here’s the massively selfish bit) it keeps them out of the real country! There! I’ve said it! I’m not proud, just selfish.

I mean, we (my closest family) have a saying about people “picnicing in the car-park”. Haven’t you ever noticed that the farther away from the car-park you get the fewer people there are? I mean, fifteen minutes walk and you’re damn near on your own! Let them have their BBQ’s in the car-park and give me leave to go for a 2 hour walk.

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