The First of May

May Day, International Workers’ Day, Beltane, Walpurgis Night, May Queens, Morris Dancing, May Morning. It’s a significant day. And this worker celebrated it by having a lunch hour.

Lunch hours are one of the few things I miss from having a regular job. Being self-employed it’s easy to move from one thing to another, especially when Sarah’s out like today, and simply forget to have lunch.

Not today, tempted by the lovely First of May spring-weather, I set off to have lunch in Calderstones Park. Along the path into the park Spring is bursting out. DSC05458 DSC05463 DSC05465


These are not the glorious wild flowers of the other day. Because this is a municipal park, carefully laid out and cultivated. So beautiful in a different, more controlled way.

Then we get to the gates of Bidston Court. The building itself, transplanted in the early 1930s from its original site in, well, Bidston, to Thurstaston Hill. The gates though, somehow ended up here. And very welcome they are too.DSC05469

Then we get to the great variegated border, one of the prides of the Calderstones gardeners.DSC05472 DSC05473 DSC05474 DSC05475 DSC05476

It’s cut right back every winter and is just beginning its journey to late summer magnificence. We’ll no doubt be back to see how it gets on.

Also, here’s the Calderstones Mansion House. Looks like The Reader Organisation might have just had some more visitors.DSC05477 DSC05479

And like the magnolia tree on Plot 44 this one’s blooms have had a bit of frost damage too.

Into the English Garden, then, for lunch.DSC05480 DSC05481 DSC05483

But not on my bench, the one with its back to us. I don’t like where they’ve now put it, in the centre of the new Sensory Garden, and I’ll be moving it to somewhere different in the garden some quiet day soon.DSC05485

So I go and sit somewhere else, gazing out at this glory while I eat my lunch, drink my tea and read my book.

Time passes in this perfect place.

In fact me and my reading companion, Mary Ann Evans, move through the late days of 1829 in England to early May 1830. A time of great scientific and social awakening. Half way between the days of Cromwell and the English Revolution and this May Day of 2013.DSC05496

Having recently encountered 3 separate people all reading it, I have finally settled myself down to reading and hugely enjoying ‘Middlemarch.’ Where of course the writer calls herself ‘George Eliot’ because, well, that’s how it was for women trying to get published in the 19th century.

And when the tea is gone and my water too, I emerge from ‘Middlemarch’ in late afternoon. Not at all worried that my ‘lunch hour’ has lasted so long. It’s International Workers’ Day after all. And this worker’s been enjoying himself.DSC05486

So as the shadows lengthen on the municipal flowerbeds I make my way home.DSC05490

Meanwhile, beyond my English Garden, the workers of the world protest, celebrate and, just a few, morris dance.Morris dance

2 thoughts on “The First of May

  1. lindsay53

    Gorgeous planting! So lovely to have that inspiring park nearby. Too right to spend the day reading. Why not? Nice to see the Morris dancers too, perpetuating some May Day traditions. Looks a bit chilly though, people seem to have coats & hats on. Perhaps jumping about with a pig’s bladder is the best way to keep warm…!

    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      The Morris Dancers were early morning in Oxford. Up here it was the first day out with no kind of coat or heavy duty fleece. Despite ‘Never cast a clout ’til May is out’ I did, as it was so warm. Wouldn’t have needed a pig’s bladder even if I’d had one with me!


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