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It was sort of a quiet weekend; sort of action packed. I'm sure you know what I mean. Friday started bright and early, with an amazing visit pre-gates opening to the Chelsea Flower Show, which could have been the blog all on its own... but I decided to save those photos, perhaps for another day.
Charlie headed straight down to Dorset and that afternoon I left on the train, weary after a rather full two weeks in London. The countryside was transformed in that fortnight into a vivid late-May bursting bright green. It was such a relief to be home.
Early on Saturday morning we headed to Bridport Market before the crowds of Bank Holiday trippers clogged the roads into our favourite little Dorset town. After breakfast at Soulshine we headed west. The clouds were clearing, sunshine breaking through, and I thought Charlie might like a look at the gardens at Forde Abbey.
I thought I'd put up a little mid-week post, before we forget it, of the beautiful window that Charlie has done for the shop this week. It's Chelsea Flower Show and London is going Chelsea Flower show mad, of course... Bridie and Charlie included.
We have our very own woodland border of Foxgloves, lupins, apple trees and moss.
Not to mention Bridie's amazing, giant decoupage platters which you can find adorning Charlie's old Plant stand or here...!
It was a bright and sunny Saturday. We were in London, for no particular reason other than we wanted a change of scene. Charlie got up at dawn for Portobello; I stayed in bed. But when he was back, and we were both up and about, we decided we needed to do new things. It was time to be tourists.
One of the things about spending a lot of time down in Dorset is that we can tend to ignore things right on our own doorstep in London. Bridie had been telling Charlie about Maltby Street Market. Breakfast beckoned.
At the entrance to the Market is a branch of fantastic salvage and antique dealers Lassco; beautifully arranged and displayed, always worth a visit in its own right. Continue reading
Hasn't your week flown by? It's something in the air of spring. No sooner had we blinked but it was Friday night, and a delicious, mad, funny dinner with our neighbours the Goodwins... and that Saturday morning feeling when you don't quite think you can get out of bed safely without being ill. Our first glimpse out of the window revealed leaden, overcast skies and we gratefully closed our eyes and went back to sleep.
But the clouds were blowing away, the sun was coming out; and we knew we needed to do something otherwise the weekend would evaporate away. Charlie had a sudden urge to see rhododendrons. The garden at Minterne is a place I'd never visited before but had heard a lot about... and seemed that it would fit the bill. We set off in the car, pottering down lanes I've never been on.
Our first discovery was the beautiful church at Compton Valence, which was a revelation.
I loved this single tulip in the long meadow grass of the churchyard:
Rain and mist swept across Dorset this weekend, but it didn't seem to matter. We needed something to remind us it was a bank holiday, after all.
Charlie and I had our friends Lulu & (her) Charlie and Bunny and Xan staying. Lulu Lyttle runs the amazing shop Soane Britain on Pimlico Road. And, I suppose, even more importantly, she introduced Charlie and me to each other... it was at supper at Lulu's flat on a warm evening last summer that we first met; so she is responsible, I suppose, for even more than the nicest chairs and wallpapers in London. Thank you Lulu.
On Saturday morning we decided to head to Lyme Regis. A grey sea-mist was blowing into the Parsonage garden.
But as we sped along the coast to Lyme, which regular readers will know is one of my favourite Dorset towns come rain or shine, but especially in a giant storm, the sunshine broke through. Continue reading
I have a strange feeling, from time to time, judging from the comments pages, that some readers might have decided to lie in bed for a whole weekend, turn off the phone, and read all 429 posts that I've apparently written (this one will be number 430, and for number crunchers there are apparently 4,478 comments which I think is rather wonderful in its way).
If you are one of those readers you will no doubt know that I've got a bit of a thing for tulips. "Tulips or Dahlias" I said to Charlie early this morning as we walked down Great Ormond Street. I suppose it's just one of those questions isn't it, in a list to which one must add sweet peas, lupins, bearded iris, hollyhocks and foxgloves. "Dahlias", he replied, which I think if I was very honest I must agree with. But there's something nice about the two isn't there? Tulips are coming up about the time that the dahlia tubers must be planted, and vice versa. So the finest hour of both is well separated by six months and we have completely forgotten how much we love the other when it is time for their moment in the sun.
So anyway, if you've navigated your way through the blog archive, you won't need pointing in the direction of Tulip Time, Tulip Time 2, Easter Garden, Any colour so long as it's black, Normal Service Resuming, or On the Cusp to know that it's the time of the year when, if I have nothing else to say or to write about... It's going to be blog about tulips.
Charlie and I went to visit Mum & Dad on the Isle of Wight this weekend, for two days of beautiful spring sunshine. The talk was of New Zealand travels and future plans and we had a lovely time. It was Mum's 80th birthday last December and to celebrate she's planning her circumnavigation of the Island this summer in her kayak, which you and I and my father might think is a little short of bonkers, but she's quite set on the idea. Which is quite exciting, looked at another way.
We went down to Newtown which is one of their and my favourite spots on the whole of the Island, which you will already know if you read the blog... and the story of Jim Downer that I wrote about last summer, here. It was lovely to be back. Jim's house was just there, but about to be knocked down by the looks of things.
We popped into the little Gothic church next door to his plot, at the beginning of our walk: