‘Perfume of the Mountain Grass’ *

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An unassuming man writes unassuming songs with such power and poetry that he’s single-handedly dominating the UK music charts with 14 of his songs in the UK top 15.

EDEd Sheeran, a Yorkshire lad, grew up in a village not far away and it was his ‘Castle on the Hill’ that first grabbed my attention with his signature style of telling a story of his youth, simple and straight forward but beneath the surface a soulful and profound message.

Quickly other songs on the album grew on me but ‘Castle on the Hill’ stayed with me and when I learned it was only an hour’s drive away a visit was planned. I just hoped it wouldn’t disappoint.

The predicted hour became a long meandering two-hour journey through quaint villages, thatched houses centuries old hugging the roadside. Soon other houses took on bold and vibrant hues, painted in ochre, startling orange, scarlet, dazzling blue. Small hamlets with the extraordinary names such as ‘Nedging with Naughton’ passed quickly whilst pedestrian style hunchback bridges spanned the brooks. Once again we spurned the Satnav and trusted to instinct, good luck and ultimately the good-old fashioned road until finally, we arrived at Framingham (and it only took three circuits of the town to locate a parking space!).

Framingham Castle dates back to the 12th Century and it was built by a local Norman family and was their home for over 400 years. Later it was briefly owned by Mary Tudor as she gathered her supporters to fight for the throne.

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The castle is built on the natural highpoint in the village and it stands magnificently on the mound; a landmark visible across the county to the North Sea.

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Its imposing facade strikes me as I walk towards the main gate which would have had a drawbridge across the dry moat. Towers reach for the sky and now number twelve out of the original thirteen and on top of some beautiful brick Elizabethan chimneys have been added by later occupants.

These were for both decorative and practical purposes and seeing their corkscrew design it is easy to understand why!

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Having read about the wall-walk this was our first destination. It is unusual to find a complete curtain wall in a castle in England – let alone be able to walk around it.

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The climb up the 10.5 m (30 feet) high walls was well worth the effort with spectacular views, particularly looking down at the mere below. When originally built the mere was three times larger and the castle would have been reflected in the still water and provide a striking and stately effect.

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Walking around the moat, past the mere the sense of peace is palpable, the sense of history all around. Where Normans and Tudors walked, fought, lived, sightseers of the 21st-century swarm. People from the village gather, talk, chat…discuss music, compose songs. It is not hard to feel the inspiration which has become a top hit for Ed Sheeran.

As the album ‘Divide’ popularity grows and yes, I have become one of over 672,000 to have fallen in love with the album and bought it and quickly another song stood out to me. Its quiet, peaceful lyrical beauty is a tribute to his grandmother  – it is wonderfully moving, touching the hearts of all who listen to it. I’m sure ‘Supermarket Flowers’ will have many in tears.

*From ‘Castle on the Hill’

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96 thoughts on “‘Perfume of the Mountain Grass’ *

    • Annika Perry says:

      It was a wonderful place to visit and a very special day out – and to top it all an opportunity to research for a blog post! 😀 You perceptively note that the song is a journal set to music – I think this element of weaving part-true life events to such great music is one major reason for his huge success. So glad you enjoyed the post! 😀

    • Annika Perry says:

      The chimneys are amazing, I agree and I’ve had their design explained to me many times by my husband when we visit NT properties – it’s all about drawing the smoke up and out, so he says! 😃

  1. Inger says:

    What a wonderful place to visit! I love old castles like this one, don’t have many of those here in Norway so I am always fascinated when we travel and get to visit one. Those brick Elizabethan chimneys really got my attention, how beautiful! Chimneys aren’t usually where time is spent decorating:)

    • Annika Perry says:

      Inger, so glad you liked Framlingham Castle!! It was a wonderful place to visit – some castles I’ve seen were more ruins so it was fantastic to visit this one. The chimneys are beautiful and partly so for a purpose of drawing the smoke up and out of the building (so I’m told!). A lot of older houses in the villages around us actually have these type of chimneys too and they look just great.

    • Annika Perry says:

      Many thanks for the reblog! 😀 So glad you like the post, oh, Supermarket Flowers is definitely the saddest – his songs seem to cover the whole spectrum of human emotions, wonderfully so!

  2. reocochran says:

    I have been remiss in my reading, Annika. Such a great post and am not sure where to begin.
    First, I have loved Ed Sheeran for quite some time! My favorite song of his was, “Thinking Out Loud.” Now, I may change my mind after a few more times listening to your dear favorites! 🙂
    He has been in a movie and a television show where he was mistaken to be just a “common” singer. He has been featured on Grammy’s award nights. Ed S. seems lovely in so many ways.
    I loved the castle and your history notes, Mary Tudor and her “gearing up” to fight for her right to the throne!
    The beauty of the day was heightened by that view “looking down from above” photograph. The walk along the top seemed an amazing experience, I felt some of the emotions from your description.
    Ed S. is like your Sam Smith. Have you listened to his heart breakingly tender tunes yet? ❤ "Stay with Me" and "Lay Me Down," plus others are blues and pathos in a lovely man, also. 🙂
    Happy Spring, Annika! xo

    • Annika Perry says:

      Wow, Robin, many thanks for your wonderful comment! 😀 The post did rather cover a lot!
      Another blogger mentioned ‘Thinking Out Loud’ and the video of the dance – both the song and the dance are amazing and this is also one of my favourites. (How many favourites is one allowed to have? Is there a limit??😀) Also, I then heard the song in ‘Me Before You’ film on netflix. Coincidences, eh!
      I had no idea Ed Sheeran had been in America so much and even featured in a movie (don’t tell me it was the one I just mentioned?!). I do like Sam Smith a lot and he has an amazing voice which along with the lyrics really pull at one’s heartstrings. (Thanks for reminding me about him – I’m now having a wonderful time listening to him!)
      Yeah, wishing you a very Happy Spring too, Robin. ❤️ The sun is shining, it’s warm enough for lunches outside and time to start gardening!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Cynthia, I love that – an anthem to ‘home’! How true and it just proves we don’t need to look far for a winning ‘story’. Much of the album seems to be on the same theme of mini-memoir and particularly his grandparents – wonderful songs and shows their unique strong characters.

    • Annika Perry says:

      Many thanks for your lovely comment and ‘visit’! 😀 I’m so glad you liked the post – with Ed Sheeran and the beauty of Framingham it’s hard to go wrong!😀

  3. tpolen says:

    I was lucky enough to see Ed Sheeran in concert a few years back when he opened for Snow Patrol – he was actually selling CDs out of a box during intermission. Obviously that was right before he practically became a household name. Thanks for the tour, Annika – beautiful!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Oh wow! Now I’m jealous!!😀😀 That must have been amazing and what a difference a few years make. I so want to see him in concert….but it will be one of the big venues. Many thanks for your lovely comment!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Many thanks to you, Sally! 😀 It was an opportunity I couldn’t miss to link such history with a wonderful modern singer who always has a story to tell. Thanks also for the feature on your post today – that great! 😀

    • Annika Perry says:

      Glad you enjoyed the castle ‘visit’, Tiny – there was so much more I could say as it was a beautiful delight with such an unusual atmposhere spanning the centuries! 😀 The music is unique I find as it is so unasssuming whilst still beautiful and powerful – not your typical combination!

  4. Andrea Stephenson says:

    Thanks for the tour Annika, I haven’t been here and it was lovely to spend some time exploring. Interesting the way songs can inspire and touch us so that they become part of the fabric of our lives and give us so many memories.

    • Annika Perry says:

      Andrea, it is the seamless joining of past and present that made me write this post highlighting what you so beautifully call the ‘fabric of our lives’. The castle was a wonder itself and a precious day out…inspired by wanting to research the song and yes, creating our own memories. Many thanks for your lovely comment. 😀❤️

  5. Anonymous says:

    Liked your post Annika – particularly the photos and songs. I’ve heard a couple of Ed’s songs but not these two. He is a very talented young man and seems to be grounded too. – the two do not always go together. I am now listening to his songs rather than hearing then in the background thanks to you. I actually visited Framlingham many moons ago and the castle did have a feeling about it – from Mary Tudor’s time perhaps? They were future defining days. I hope the village itself isn’t now festooned with “Ed was here” paraphernalia – it would be out of keeping with a Suffolk village!

    Mike
    PS If memory serves there was a pub close to the castle which served excellent pub grub – and beer.

    • Annika Perry says:

      Mike, I did wonder too if Ed Sheeran’s fame would be on display around the village, but luckily not as this would have ruined its wonderful quaint atmosphere. The only reference to the singer was at a jewelry shop which I later read is his mother’s shop and she has an ‘Ed Sheeran’ range.

      It’s true we often ‘listen’ to music but just have it on as background noise, his songs definitely grab one’s attention. As for the castle, it has a wonderful peaceful aura about it and yes, Mary Tudor did own it at one time and sought refuge there for a while. As for the pub, the Castle Inn is just at the entrance and serves great food … and chilled white wine. (Not sure about the beer!)😄

  6. Miriam says:

    Loved your post Annika. What a magical and spell binding place to explore. I, like many others, have completely fallen in love with Ed’s new album. In fact I was playing it only yesterday. Wonderful post. Thank you for taking us there to the backdrop of one of his songs and reminding me yet again of how much I love his music. Enjoy the rest of your week. xo

    • Annika Perry says:

      Miriam, lovely to sense your exuberance and joy on reading/listening to the post and wonderful to come across another fan – his reach is certainly far! The backdrop of the castle was amazing, I could just imagine a group of lads heading up there in the evenings, gorgeous views across the landscape. On top of that, the history of the castle was fascinating and it was imbued with a great atmosphere of past times. A delicious meal (and glass of pinot grigio) at the Castle Inn wrapped up the day perfectly! 😀

  7. Tina Schell says:

    I too love Ed Sheeran – sadly had no idea he wasn’t from the US. Amazing how accents disappear when we sing. Hadn’t heard this one, thanks for sharing – loved it.

    • Annika Perry says:

      Tina, I’ve had the surprise about the origins of certain singers who I am convinced are from the States then find out they’re Scandinavian or even British! So glad you liked the songs…the ones on the album are all terrific and not a dud one amongst them, which is unusual for a whole collection.

  8. maryannniemczura says:

    I have been a fan ever since he released a dance video in which he did his own dancing. He has an amazing voice. Thank you for sharing your journey to the castle. It came to life for us when you described the journey and walk around the castle wall. History came alive! The YouTube link to Thinking Out Loud is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lp-EO5I60KA
    Thank you for a lovely visit to your site and the castle. Ed Sheeran possesses abundant talent.

    • Annika Perry says:

      Mary Ann, many thanks for including the link to Thinking Out Loud – another one of my favourites on the album but I hadn’t seen the video. The dance is exquisite, tender, sensuous, loving and how great that he starred in it.

      It’s odd how something as old as this castle has had new life breathed into it by this song, coming alive to new visitors/viewers! So happy to have you tagging along for the ‘visit’ and great to meet another Ed Sheeran fan – still so young so it will be fascinating to follow his career.

      • maryannniemczura says:

        How sweet of you to write such a lovely comment. I was mesmerized by that song and video. Your description is spot on. Ed Sheeran is a talented young man, and we benefit from his music writing, singing and dancing. I wonder what he’ll try next? When I sang country music with my sister last summer, I noticed that the music and lyrics are straight-forward stories about lives. Ed Sheeran is a storyteller at heart like many of us. I do look forward to your blog entries and am never disappointed. Keep up your fine work and take us on more nearby places. Have a great weekend! ^__^

  9. Idle Muser says:

    I am also in love with the rhythm and lyrics of ‘Castle on the Hill’ and its video too. And these pictures…too beautiful are they! ❤
    This whole new album by Ed Sheeran is a well-deserving candidate to rule over all the top-chart busters. 🙂

    • Annika Perry says:

      Aditi, welcome and many thanks for sharing your thoughts here.😀 Ed Sheeran really does have an international appeal and just proves how addictive the rhythm and lyrics of his songs are. Funny you should mention him ‘ruling’ the charts – the music industry is not too happy about this and are now looking at changing how the top hit single chart is compiled!

      • Idle Muser says:

        😀 😀
        He, without even my mention, is an international star.
        How does it matter now, Annika, if compilation process changes? Those who love his songs will keep on listening to them, sharing them, promoting them (for free 😉 )

  10. L. T. Garvin, Author says:

    I think Mr. Sheeran is a fine musician, Annika. I enjoyed both songs tremendously and the lovely photos of your magnificent and stalwart history. The Castle on the Hill song is profound depicting his personable story of growing up, the charm of childhood, and the essence of home. I like the beat of the music, also. Elton John’s Tiny Dancer, I’d like to listen to it as I blast down country roads too, although I rarely do 90 😀 I was fighting back tears on the Supermarket song, I certainly have a place in my heart for (grand)mothers and sons. So beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

    • Annika Perry says:

      Lana, as so often with your comments I’m happily sent to learn more – I’d never heard Tiny Dancer before and found it on youtube (Elton John in 1971!) Wow, so powerful despite being a very quiet song overall. I’m so glad you liked the two songs on my post and most of the songs are from his life or even his grandparents, who came from a large Irish family and two songs on the album have a real Irish feel to them – wonderfully so. It’s only in recent years I’ve really begun to appreciate the skill of singer/songwriters. One of the members of my writing group is a musician and he has at times ‘sung’ his work to us. Brilliant.

      • L. T. Garvin, Author says:

        Musicians are truly talented folks and can be great poets. Glad you looked up Elton’s Tiny Dancer. I’ve always liked that one. It must be great to be in a writing group, I’ve never done that before. Not a lot of people write where I live. It’s just me…and the cats 😀

  11. BrizzleLass says:

    I think I may be the only person in the entire country who has never listened to Ed Sheeran! Not my bag as they say! But wow that castle! If we are ever up that way we will definitely be visiting we have a real love of castles! Thanks for sharing!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Claire, I’m actually impressed you’ve managed to get through the days without hearing his music!! 😀 He seems to be everywhere at the moment. Totally understand that this isn’t for you – music is such an individual taste. So glad you liked the ‘visit’ to Framlingham Castle and I do hope you get a chance see it. Many thanks for your comment! 😀

  12. balroop2013 says:

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful song Annika. I have heard it for the first time and loved it as sentimental lyrics always drown me with them till they cease to flow. It is amazing how well-maintained this 12th century Castle is! Lovely pictures! Thanks for sharing.

    • Annika Perry says:

      Balroop, wow, your words have such beauty in them and love how you say the lyrics ‘always drown me with them till they cease to flow’. 😀 I also thought the castle was in very good condition, especially from the outside – it is only later reading the guidebook I realised how much of a ruin it is with most of the inner buildings missing. At one stage a report in 1580s stated that Framlingham Castle was falling into ‘ruyne’ – and I then realised those words were written 400 years after it was built!

    • Annika Perry says:

      So glad you liked the music, Jacqui – do check out the other songs on his album, they’re all on youtube (or on streaming if you have a subscription). I love these videos – and especially with the lyrics so clear!

  13. Julie Holmes, author says:

    Ed Sheeran is one of the most talented songwriters, IMO. And yes, he’s got a way with storytelling in his songs. How cool that you are close enough to visit the castle! Thank you for sharing the wonderful photos. I just saw an interview with Sheeran (and of course I don’t remember what news program it was), and I thought it was so neat he still lunches on the shore and watches the surf while he creates.

    Have a great week, Annika!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Julie, was the video on CBS? I watched one too on the computer just out of interest. He often goes home and says he likes it as everyone treats him just the same.

      I am wondering is he as famous in the States as here? It was quite something to visit the castle and knowing the connection made it more special – I was wondering what young people hang out there these days and will they become equally famous in ten years? Wishing you a lovely week, Julie. It’s been the warmest day yet this year and I tackled many pots with glee.

  14. restlessjo says:

    Thank you for making me very happy this morning, Annika 🙂 🙂 This young man is an amazing talent and I love the Castle song. His phrasing is so unusual. I’ve loved him from the first time I heard him. Many, many years ago (like so much else in my life 🙂 ) I visited Framingham. That shot of the young man on the walkway took me right back there.
    Though it’s not technically a walk I’m going to include this on my next Monday’s walk. I know you won’t mind? Have a great week!

    • Annika Perry says:

      So glad you liked this post, Jo! I was thinking of your blog whilst walking around taking photos and I saw so much I could have included and imagined you walking up to the local picturesque church to take more photos and learn about its history. And of course a lunch would have been featured at the aptly named Castle Inn and then later tea break in the town square out in the sun.

      The more I listen to the album the more I’m falling for all the songs, so thoughtful and a lot of wisdom – in one only 26! As for the young man on the walkway that is my son striding ahead!

      Oh thank you so much, I would be honoured to be featured on your next Monday’s walk.

  15. Sharon Bonin-Pratt says:

    I’m a fan of this fabulous young singer who writes with the maturity of someone much older. He invokes the wistfulness of being young and wild, of being a son saying good bye to his mother, with such clarity that you wonder how in so few years he GOT it all. But that’s what makes for genius. What a talent – I hope we get to hear his music for many more years.

    Your photos of the castle on the hill are wonderful. Thank you for sharing this lovely adventure with us and for telling its history. This is where being a relatively young country shows its limitations. (Of course, Native Americans have been here for centuries but their gift was to leave no mark, and they did that well.)

    • Annika Perry says:

      Yeah, another fan!!😀 Sharon, I was wondering how much of a hit Ed Sheeran had made on America – lovely to know from your comment that he has achieved some fame there too. I agree that it is his deeper inner wisdom in one so young that is especially striking and having seen interviews with him he seems to be balanced and aware of where he is going so I’m optimistic he’ll be around for a long time.

      I’m so glad you liked the castle, a gentle adventure, and researching for the post I ended up with so much material that the first draft of the post resembled a history lesson and had to be rewritten! Sharon, I love your last comment and has me thinking…why do we feel such a need to leave a mark of our existence? How different our approaches to life, death and eternity.

  16. dgkaye says:

    Thanks for the wonderful castle tour Annika. And, I do love Ed and his music. Thanks for sharing that heartfelt song, I hadn’t yet heard it. ❤

    • Annika Perry says:

      Debby, the first time I heard ‘Supermarket Flowers’ I just stopped what I was doing and listened completely – often the music can be in the background but this song commanded utter attention. Heartfelt is definitely the word…so simple yet searing into one’s heart. So glad you enjoyed the castle tour – not quite Arizona!! 😀 But quintessentially English and the quaint thatched cottages in the idyllic villages were a lovely sight.

      • dgkaye says:

        They certainly were a lovely sight. I’ve been to England quite a few times, so I can appreciate the castles. And I’m with you on Ed’s song. 🙂

    • JC says:

      Annika. Thank you very much for the tour of the castle and the wonderful music it inspired. I believe Ed will make a big sound sound in the with his music.

      I’ve never been to a castle before so this excites me. I’d love to send the night in one.

      • Annika Perry says:

        I had to smile at the thought of spending a night in this castle, JC! 😀 With barely any roof remaining you’d struggle to stay warm and those magnificent fireplaces haven’t been swept in hundreds of years!!😀

        Ed Sheeran has been on my mind a lot in the past couple of weeks and particularly how the very ordinary, the normal was rendered into such wonderfully lyrical music that is proving so popular crossing the generations with ease. A lot to learn for writers!

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment and perfectly summing up the post! 😀 It did indeed feel like an enchanted day (the sunshine helped!) with such a beautiful setting oozing with a sense of history.

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you so much, Kate! 😀 England does indeed have such a rich amazing history in its old castles and stately homes as well as the old abbeys. A pleasure to visit and photograph! Many thanks for your comment.

  17. D. Wallace Peach says:

    I listened to Castle on the Hill while reading your post and am listening to Supermarket Flowers as I write this comment. Beautiful music, Annika. This is the type of music, lyrics, and voice that I could listen to all day, and I’m not surprised at its popularity. The castle is amazing and in such good condition. I can imagine that the centuries of history there are imprinted on the land and that you can feel the ghosts as you stand where they stood so long ago. Beautiful post.

    • Annika Perry says:

      Diana, I had to smile about your statement that you could listen to this type of music all day…I seem to have been doing exactly that for the past week!😀 In the process I’ve discovered new favourites and would be hard put to just choose two songs to feature! They are wonderful creations on all aspects which is not always the case. Oh, the castle was magical and a definitely held the aura of bygone days in its walls, setting. Often whilst visiting castles I will feel a heavy sadness, this was not the case at Framlingham however and reading the catalogue I realise what a positive force it was in the community from the very start with a poor house added later as well as never facing any direct battles.

  18. Elaine Cougler says:

    Reblogged this on Elaine Cougler and commented:
    It’s not my music and I would never have heard it but for the wonderful Annika Perry. I’m so glad I stopped to listen to the two songs she’s put on her post. They’re not really that musical but the words are transforming. Ed Sheeran is a great writer. Read Annika’s post and enjoy!

  19. delphini510 says:

    I love everything about this post Annika. The title is great, the tale touching and informative.
    The photos now, wonderful. To be able to make a Saturday walk into such beauty is a gift.

    Ed Sheeran just walks straight into my heart with his poetic lyrics and voice that just hovers between tears and smiles. Wonderful choices.
    Thank you

    • Annika Perry says:

      Oh, wow Mirja, I think you should be writing this post, your words capturing so vividly the power of the songs: ‘Ed Sheeran just walks straight into my heart with his poetic lyrics and voice that just hovers between tears and smiles.’! 😀 The title is from his Castle song and just highlights the poetry and sensory imagery of his songs and you’re lucky – the post could have been a lot more informative with a history lesson spanning eight centuries, but thought I better be a bit brief!😀

      The day out was very special, one of those to treasure and nurture in one’s heart for a long time. Hope you get a chance to visit the castle one day and enjoy the eateries of the town!❤️

      • delphini510 says:

        Would you consider being the guide 😉 I buy the lunch.🍸
        Kidding aside, I will go and visit, it really sounds fascinating and I will
        catch some history too. 🙂

    • Annika Perry says:

      Shame on me too, I realised!! I’ve lived down here so long and it took this song to actually become aware of the castle and make the effort to visit. It was amazing and after many years of ‘doing’ National Trust properties a joy with something so different. Of course, it did help with the sun shining!😀

  20. Phil Ryan says:

    Great post, Annika. My daughter’s an Ed fan so she’ll be impressed when I quote these two songs to her. And you can’t beat England for castle’s, old and New, alike 🙂

    • Annika Perry says:

      Thank you, Ryan, and hope your daughter is duly impressed! 😀 My son introduces a lot of the new music to me, some of which I can take or leave and others like Ed Sheeran and Rag’n’Bone Man which I love. For several years we were National Trust members so it’s a lovely welcome change from the stately homes to see this castle…tempted to visit more now!😀

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