Springtime in Yorkshire

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The English countryside in springtime is a riot of life. Everything is bright and fresh. Flowers bloom on all the hillsides. Trees leaf out in brilliant green, lambs frollick on hilly pastures, birds sing. The world vibrates with newness.

Lenora, a friend I met in Tokyo who's been transplanted to Harrogate in Yorkshire, extended her hospitality to me and shared her knowledge of local history, flora and fauna as she toured me around her lovely district. We visited Bolton Abbey and enjoyed a long walk along the River Wharfe to see the bluebells in bloom. Along the fringes of forest, they form a dense haze of vivid blue-violet punctuated with white stars of wood anenomes. Now I understand the color inspirations of classic English floral textiles.

Harrogate was formerly a spa town. Victorians travelled north from London on a new train line to take the waters. Today there's only one bath operating and the town is more famous for its civic flower displays, but back in the day, there were grand hotels, an opera house, and the beginnings of several long-standing culinary traditions including toffees (to help remove the sulphur-water taste) and Betty's cafe tearoom.

I spent two days in Yorkshire, but it passed too quickly. Enjoying the scenery of the Dales was a pleasure I hope to have again. I still have the theme song from the BBC's All Creatures Great and Small running in my head.

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