The Medieval Historian and I decided to go to Westonbirt last weekend to walk the dogs and have a bit of an excursion. This was beyond stupid. Westonbirt is the national arboretum, with the national collection of Japanese maples. If you can’t get to New England in the Fall, then the next best thing in the UK is Westonbirt in October. At least that is what half of Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Somerset seemed to think. It was heaving with people.
I thought that I might get some nice photos to work with at some point, but only took my phone camera. This made me a considerable lightweight as people were hauling round cameras with two foot long lenses and the obligatory tripod. People formed orderly queues to take photos of particular trees, such as this one, without others standing in the picture:
Glorious, but it only gives you half the picture:
Everyone and their dog had their cameras out. Most people queued up and took the shot and moved away, but some families took another approach and set up shop to have picnics under the boughs of all this autumn colour. It struck me that it was like going to one of the big blockbuster art shows or even the highlights of the great national galleries. You begin to wonder if anyone is looking at anything or just using it as a photo opportunity. In the end, I got very fed up with the people and the cameras and the buggies and constantly looking out to see if the dogs were getting trampled and we left the maples and walked round the less visited native British woodland areas. That was lovely. It was my stupid fault for suggesting the trip and, of course, people have every right to troop through the trees en masse, I just wish we had gone on a weekday and missed the crowds. I did get some lovely photos, though, hypocrite that I am!
Even the seed pods were pretty.
I will end with a couple of very odd but interesting experiments my phone decided to make all on its own: