Thursday, 17 March 2011

Life in the Manor: Let The Sun Shine In (Or Not.)

If there’s one thing I’ve learned so far during my time at Harlaxton, I’ve learned to hate sunny days.

You read that correctly. I hate sunny days. It’s absolute torture to look out my window in the manor, look over the sculpted towers, always-green fields and mossy woods and see the sun shining brightly. Because then I have to sigh, crack open my British Studies textbook or head down to one of the State Rooms for class where the enormous windows will continue to taunt me with views of the gorgeous British countryside.

It’s a good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless.

The reason I’m constantly tortured is that one of my favorite things about living here at Harlaxton for the semester is what lies beyond those windows. Don’t get me wrong, I am in love with living in the manor. But for me, being from the snowy part of the Midwest, being out and about in the comparatively balmy England is heaven. Things are just so beautiful here in the spring, even when it isn't sunny, which is most of the time. People weren't kidding when they told me I would need an umbrella over here!

I love walking the mile down to the grand gate and back, enjoying fantastic views of the Manor on the way back. (I can never get enough of this.)

I love the violets on the way between the Carriage House and the Manor. 

I loved seeing the robin perched in the branches of a tree in the Pegasus Courtyard, singing his puffed-up little heart out. British robins are my new favorite birds- they're just so cute and little compared to our big hulking robins in America!

I love the daffodils that are just now beginning to bloom and starting to see signs of spring in the Italian Garden.

I love the (unfortunately still rare) days when it’s warm enough to sit and sketch in the gardens.

And I especially love the trail in the woods, where you can see snowdrops (sadly now fading) carpeting the woods, bluebells poking their heads out of the dirt, and even-if you keep your eyes open- a rabbit or two, some pheasants, or on one memorable occasion, a stray peacock!

It's where I go when I need to think, when I'm feeling a little homesick, or just because I feel like it. So you could say the woods are a special place for me. It's nice to have a change of pace from classes during the week and to actually get outside for once. Being in the woods definitely gives a different perspective on the manor and on Harlaxton life in general.

During my time here, I’ve also learned a new word for these silly little descriptions: “twee”-- meaning overly flowery, sunshiny, and cute. But isn’t that what spring is all about, in a way? 

Or perhaps I’ve just been reading too much Wordsworth. It’s hard to tell, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.  Either way, I’ll still hate the sunshine— but only as long as I stay indoors.


  1. Alayna, it's so true! I used to hate being at school doing my final exams each year because they'd fall in June and July, when the REALLY good weather hits England! You've just got to make those lunch breaks count ;)

  2. Oh my God, I wish it was me who went for our school's student exchange program. If only I said yes then I would have experienced and seen an amazing scenery like what you posted here. Thanks anyway for the pictures and sharing your experiences.
    paper writing service