Gardens – a trip down a  garden path. 

Have I told I have retired. Oh. Yes. About a million times. Not that I exaggerate at all. But I have. That was the start of a new adventure. I’m still asked. ‘Aren’t you bored yet’ I’ve learnt to smile sweetly. And just say.  No. What do you do they ask. This and that I reply. This and that. Here and there. 

So the adventure continues.- with a bit of there. Rather than here. Or here  rather  than there. Dependant on where there is. At any given time. 

For a long time Ian and I have wanted something ‘abroad’. We looked at France. We loved France. But why buy in France when we can stay at  Cuq en Terrasses where we have celebrated big birthdays. Friends who own a fantastic Small hotel. With amazing food. We love Italy. But we have an annual invite to go and stay with friends at their house near Sienna. Which surprisingly. We take up. Annually. 

We love Spain and have been back and forth for the last few years. Gaucin – too quiet. Benhavis. Lovely but not for us. Archidona – lovely but again a bit too quiet. 

In March we headed to  Competa in Andalusia. An hour from Malaga. To stay at a fab B&B Casa B  We had some viewings. I was pretty definite in what I wanted. In the town. A roof terrace. No pool. But it didn’t work out like that. 

We are back here at the beginning of May. To sign papers with the notary. . For completion at the end of the month.  A place 10 minutes drive from town. Not a town house. Without a roof terrace. 

So what sold it. What?  The house or the town. 

For the town it was  life. It had a soul. In March. When many towns are still indoors. Still recovering from  Xmas . Tapas in the square. Coffee. A glass of wine. Or two. One for me. The road is windy and narrow. 

 Less than an hr to a beach and on the edge of a national park. A shortish trip down the long and windy road to Nerja. To Frigiliana.  We met some great people on the viewings. Stayed at a fab B&B. Made friends. 

There was Tapas. And sunshine. And no. The horsemen riding by  in the square on a Sunday morning didn’t swing it. Not really. I didn’t  really see them. The oranges caught my eye.  I was photographing the oranges. They photo bombed.  I have been sat in the square for hours this time waiting to complain. They haven’t reappeared. 

The house? Need you ask. It was the garden. I didn’t notice the house. Not at first. We viewed because I’d seen pictures of the garden.  Small but beautiful. Both the house and the garden. A lock up and go. But the garden. Lovely planting. Lots of plants. Mediterranean. Dry. 

Interesting. Different to what I am  used to. 

With amazing views across the mountains. 

In time I will be able to tell you which mountains. But geography isn’t my strongest point.  The sat nav tells you the route. Not the name of the mountain ranges. The garden has citrus. It has lavender. Different types. Lots of it. Along the path. From the gate past the garage. 

It has succulents. Agapanthus. Jasmine. A grape  vine. Bird of paradise.  It has plants I have no idea what to do with. How to care for. It has fruit I can’t pronounce or know what it tastes like.  But  for me the house had been sold on the garden. 

So. I bought a book. On Amazon. Mediterranean  garden plants. A whopper of a book. . Pictures. Descriptions. I took it with me when we went to meet the owners again. 

But first. I Made the mistake of not deleting the email from our joint email account. Ian saw the price. How much? Well was more of a shout of disapproval. I couldn’t lie. He’s seen the invoice. 

 When we met the owners again I hear him say ‘he’s only gone and bought a bloody book  and spent a fortune’. Oh that’s  Lorraine they say, on seeing the book  the author – she lives here on the outskirts of town. Runs a garden centre. Supplies all the plants he’d like to have in his garden  – whose laughing now eh. Especially as we went in  and said hello. Where she gave me details of two open gardens nearby but sadly I won’t be here when they are open. Or there depending when you read this. 

But I’m on her mailing list already. That book.  Money well spent I say. He’s said I’m not  to go there alone. I said she seemed very nice. I’m not worried about her he replied. Your gonna spend a fortune in there. And that’s just on what he’s seen! I haven’t started. New plants. New pots. 

So it’s an adventure. A new path. Lined with lavender. From the garage to the house. 

 So we begin the adventure at the end of May where will be go between London and Andalusia. Gardening in both. Two very different gardens. Two very different climates. Both exciting.  Different. Fun. Who said I’ll be bored in retirement. 

A decision also  made that after 23 years we will sell our lovely cottage and garden  in the West Country and embark on this new adventure. We have had a wonderful time. A fabulous garden. But sometimes in life you need a new adventure. A change. Something different. Surprisingly we have taken the plunge. 

There will be pictures. Lots of them.  A bit of a blog here and there too. Apologies in advance! 

A day out- RHS Wisley

I love Twitter and Instagram for different reasons. Instagram for the pictures obviously and Twitter for information, top tips and a bit of banter. Often Twitter will remind you of things that you should do. Places to go. People to see. That’s how we ended up going to RHS Garden Wisley today. I love twitter for the gardening folk I follow and who are always there to point you in the right direction to a plant or a garden, help with some advice, identify an unknown plant that may have appeared in the garden and to generally talk plants.

So following a tweet from @jackwallington who had been to Wisley earlier in the week I decided that after a 25 year absence  a visit was long overdue. Finding my membership card was an adventure but find it I did. I wont mention my RHS disasters this week in deleting my print at home Chelsea and Chatsworth tickets. Ill save that for another day. 

Fighting the Bank Holiday traffic through South London reminded me why we generally don’t travel over a Bank Holiday weekend but I was determined. I had started so we wold finish.

Busy. Was the car park busy. So busy we were sent to the overflow car park but despite my grumbling i was rather glad. 

 The  walk from the car park was simply gorgeous. Bluebells were out everywhere like a beautiful carpet of blue loveliness. We would have missed this bit of the garden had we parked close to the main entrance. So every cloud and all that. 

Typically Ian was 30 paces ahead. You’d think that after all this time he wouldngave notnbeen so embarrassed to be out with me !  But i had to stop not just for the bluebells but for the other delights that were begging to be photographed. I hadn’t been here for over 25 years remember. 

The garden was busy. We realised only after we arrived that there was a craft fair in the grounds. A pretty decent fair to be honest and full of some top quality stuff. I was swiftly moved on through the garden toward the glasshouse, after a sausage bap! 

I love a good glass house. This one didn’t disappoint and was somewhere to get a little  inspiration for our new mediterannean  garden. 

It’s great to see the unusual and interesting and there were definetly  some of those here. The bird of Paradise plant so high it had a sign that said this is not a banana plant. The plant whose buds looked like a great big fat nose and opened into a simply gorgeous  flower – solandra Maxima – a blue brugisima, a protea as big as a dinner plate. Orchids which remind me of orchids bought in Castle Cary from another Instagram friend @ridgewayfarm when she had then best gardening shop ever, oh and the clivias also reminded  me of her too – she introduced me to them too and one sat in mine and my friend Janes office for years. 

The big pots of Agapanthus were further on than mine but then again they are in a glasshouse. Mine are in pots in South London. So they would be wouldn’t they! I wonder how many bags of Lou’s Poo they would need here. 

Outside the glass house is a Prairie garden. I’m spoilt in that we have the wonderful Piet Oudolf garden at Hauser and Wirth Somerset just down the road in Bruton but I love them. Not so much in Spring to be honest but later in the season. The planting I know at Bruton is stunning and there are glimpses here that show what it will be like later in the season.\

There is so much to see and not enough time in one visit to take it all in n  The fruit garden is full of the most amazing espaliers of all fruit types, apples pears medlars. The rows of apples some still in bloom some with fruit setting are like great long avenues. The planting is amazing with long avenues of paths to walk through.

Great big beds of Rhubarb. They hold the National Plant collection – with enournmous leaves and pink fleshy stalks, some being forced. The produce bing used in the restaurant and in Jams to be sold at the shop. I sisnt look to see if any rhubarb was for sale. Would have been good to have tasted a variety that you don’t usually get at the greengrocer 

To be honest you get lost  in the size and scale and the beautiful way it is presented. I can’t remember much about my previous visit  ‘ may be I wasn’t as interested in the planting and the plants themselves then. But we were both impressed. 

The perennial beds [ mixed borders]  on either side of the sweeping walk to the top of the hill look like they will be exceptional in the summer. The borders  are springing to life with the alliums  starting to pop into bloom in little drifts and singularly throughout the beds. Like tulips it looks like this year will be good for alliums too. The borders are massive  – the website says ‘ a sweeping 420ft’  – imagine the plant buying for that. They leave the beds to their own devices. No watering – no good for me –  i would have to be out there with the hose constantly.

Having recently stayed at Ard Daraich in Scotland I was keen to see the rhododendrons and the azaleas. The flowers were more advanced than Scotland and again the planting and the paths between them encouraged you to walk through. I still find the buds as fascinating as the flowers themselves and I was even more appreacitive of the guided tour of the Scottish  garden given to me by Norrioe Maclaren when we were there. 

Onto an area where I loved the colour palette of the planting. The last of the tulips- bright red with the start of the alliums. Simply lovely and a bed I would love to have. 

This is a glorious view away from the house along the canal with the  Henry Moore sculpture,  King and Queen and the beds of lovely scented wallflowers. my window box of wallflowers has an abundance of leaves and only two flowers. Those two yellow flowers smell glorious. Busy i was expecting a bit more!

Neither of us had any knowledge of the history of RHS Wisley and its interesting to see that it was gifted to the RHS in 1903 

Another cuppa tea. A scone and cream. Jam first of course. A wander to purchase some plants  – only one today a philadelphus Belle Etoille which we had in the Somerset garden years ago. I even think Ian was impressed. One plant only. That’s progress. He doesn’t know about the ones I bought earlier in the week, 

Was it worth the drive. The traffic. Running into ex colleagues. Definetly and thanks Jack!

Some more random photos. 

Tulips. More tulips. And tree ferns? 

I hadn’t been to our garden in Somerset for two weeks. I expected the grass to be as high as an elephants eye but to be fair it wasn’t that bad. Needed it’s first cut of the season but it wasn’t too daunting a task. Especially in such glorious weather. 

What I hadn’t expected were the tulips to have burst into life. I had potted up a dozen or so pots and had left them on the rear terrace. The terrace is south facing and I bring the tulips on there ready to be played at the front of the cottage where there is sun for only part of the day. So with some assistance we heaved  the pots through the house to the front. 

Two days later with this weather the majority had opened. Last year was the first time I had grown tulips at the front and it was a huge success. I like to change the front so this year the tulips weee changed too.  My mother would have said it was  showing off. To be fair I couldn’t disagree. The cottage is right on the road. You can’t help but notice the tulips. 

Ian is no gardener but he saw tulips he liked at the Malvern show last year so as he showed an interest I decided to buy them. So the pots were planted with Brown Sugar. His choice and separate pots of Purissama -mine. As usual with the generous advice of Karen from Peter Nyssen I ordered others as well. Too many as usual so I have planted a lot in a cutting patch. Which will all flower when we are not there. 

The Purissima are stunning opening into great big blousy flowers which at a quick glance look like they have a bee inside. They are stunning and close up tight again when the sun passes. 

The pots have opened well and to be fair look great at the front of the cottage against the warm Somerset stone. 

Back in London I grew tulips in one window box and two large containers – and with very different colours to the Somerset tulips. I hadn’t used them in window boxes before but good old Karen assured me they would be ok. 

These have opened beautifully in the morning sun – and have been a joy. 

The pots at the back have spring into life this weekend. Tulip Belle Époque has opened and there are a few rouge Brown sugars in there too.  I didn’t mention earlier that these also have a lovely scent. 

Tulips are a new one for me to be fair. But on the basis of how they have been over the last two years  they are here to stay! 

We also had a wander around Lytes Cary a NT property on Saturday where they also had some amazing Tulips. I have a list as long as my arm of what I’d like to grow next year thanks to the Instagram,twitter and Facebook posts of everyone’s favourites. At Lytes Cary these were added to my list. Such a beautiful colour and in the sunshine just dazzled. 

It Was also good to see that the professional gardeners get a rogue  tulip here and there too. 

This one was very obvious! Along with what was probably one of last years that missed being dig up! 

I don’t feel so bad now with the odd one here and there that I have found out of place! 

So it was back to London for a busy week ahead – I know. I’m retired. But I’m busy!  But first to water. When I left on Thursday the tree ferns were good. They had kept a lot of their fronds over winter. I hadn’t had to put straw in their crowns. But I get back and all hell has broken loose. The two days of  sun has made them spring into action and they are about to burst forth. As long as Fred stays out of the crown that is. 

I love tree ferns and we are lucky that we have a micro climate in the small ( tiny) garden we have here. But the tree ferns. The olive. The banana do well. 

So move over tulips. It’s tree fern time. 

Roses and a day with Sara Venn 

I’ve said it before. I got into gardening through my parents. They loved their garden and it was something they were proud of. Loved the attention when in full bloom. For years had borders full of roses. Gorgeous scented beautiful roses. Mum picked some. But not a lot if my memory serves me right. I recall her deadheading them. Every time she walked up and down the front path. She was obsessed with deadheading. No bad thing really. Dad did the planting. The pruning. Mum admired. And bought more. 

I spent a day with Sara Venn last week in our garden in Somerset. The person who looked after our garden had sacked us the year before – yes we were sacked. Long story . A very long story and since I had retired ( early – keep repeating it Andrew) I had been doing the work myself. With some success. What I didn’t know I asked. But I was worried about pruning. The roses. The fruit trees. Some of the shrubs. But the Roses. I could hear my mother tutting. A lot. Her saying. ‘Your not like your father’ He would have pruned them all. On time. And properly. She said that a lot. ‘ your not like your father’. 

Last year we were due to start an extension so I didn’t prune the roses. When the schedule was moved it was too late. Sara said. Leave them this year. We had roses. But not as good as in previous years. We were supposed to start the extension in the Autumn. And then the Winter. I could put it off no longer. If I had to dig them up later so be it. 

Sara agreed to come and spend a day with me in the garden to give me advice on how and what and when. But it was more than that. It was the push I needed to get going again. I’d been in limbo with the garden. Would I have another year of the flower beds?. Should I move things. Should I wait. Should I extend the beds? Was this space the right one for my new greenhouse? Don’t mention the greenhouse to Sara. Please. Don’t mention my greenhouse. 

So Sara arrived and we set to work. Talk of a practical. It was practical. Practically exhausted by the end of the day. Talk of a hard task master who encouraged me up a wobbly ladder – no elf and safety in this garden. But it was fun. Practical. Encouraging. And confidence boosting. I hadn’t made a total hash of the garden this last year. 

I always say I garden. I’m not a gardener. The garden is well established. We’ve been here 22 years. But I am rubbish at staking. I don’t plant deep enough. But I’m getting there. Slowly. Like my train journey this week accompanied by Doris. 

It hadn’t mattered I’d not pruned. The fruit trees were ok. Ish. The roses leggy but not dead. So We pruned. Cut back. Laughed. I fought with the rose prunings. They won and it didn’t matter I wore gloves. They just went for the jugular. We tidied up. Had tea and cake. She gave encouragement. Orders. Ate my cake. Took one home for Mr Venn. As promised. 

To be fair if we were being filmed it would have been more ‘Carry on Gardening’! Than big dreams – It was gardening made fun. ‘What do you think you are doing!’ was said a lot. And do you think you can wobble less’ what said I? As in walking or up the ladder? Both! 

The roses don’t look like this now obviously but now have had a severe short back and sides. A proper job. Like my Dad would do! 

Thinkimg of my parents garden got me thinking of their roses again All were bought in Woolworths when Woolworths had a gardening department. All grew well. Flowered strongly. From the department at the rear of the store. Memory is a wonderful thing. Before mum lost hers she could tell you the names of the roses. Each one. Not from the label. So I want some new roses. I looked up to see if I could get the named roses from their 1970’s and 80’s garden as I’d like to have a few. Josephine and Ernest were therir names so I may start there. Along with Superstar. That was my favourite. 

Who knew Woolworths won not one but five RHS Chelsea golds! I didn’t.

Woolworths history
Superstar; Iceberg; Ena Harkness; Blue Moon ! ; Peace; queen Elizabeth ;Just Joey; Josephine Bruce; Ernest Morse. fragrant Cloud; the Fairy. Compassion 

Those are ones I remember. None of that David Austin stuff for them. It was the wonder of Woolies !


To be honest in the past  I was never  a big snowdrop fan. I don’t know why but I suspect it wasn’t something that my parents grew but as you get older ( and I am) things change. I garden more. I listen to proper gardners read their blogs. 

Last year I managed to go to the Chelsea Physic Garden for one of the snowdrop days. Interesting  but the snowdrops were a little late. I was a little early. But I was staggered at the range and the variety.  I missed the garden bloggers get together there this year which looked great fun. Thank you For inviting me – I will try to come to something! 

 Last years snowdrop theatre was interesting and I was tempted to buy some snowdrops.. but I’m always tempted. 

I had a wander last week along the Thames path and found a couple of clumps of snowdrops in a small park along the river. The King Edward memorial park is currently being dug up in places for a new sewerage to the dismay of the locals. I hope they leave these alone. Thames Water. Not the locals. 

I’m lucky though. The lanes near the cottage in Somerset seem to have burst into  life with snowdrops. There are little drifts along many of the lanes – I’m not sure I’ve really looked before.  The green lanes I know and have used for years are full of wild garlic  but somehow I’ve missed the snowdrops. Probably as I’m a bit of a wimp and don’t walk so much when it’s cold. The two pics here are of a clump as we drive out of the village on the hill. Just one of many dotted around. 

We have one clump in our garden. One measly clump. I think I need to order some in the green quickly.

We are also lucky enough to have a fab tea room 20 mins walk away from the village. Cole Manor Tea Rooms a gentle stroll across a field called Rye Ash along the river to Cole.  Most of the ash trees have now gone. Just like in the opposite field Alders – which once had alders lining the river bank. 

The tea room reopened  at the beginnning of February for the season to tie in with the snowdrops in their garden. This year they are awash with them. On the banks of the river. Under the trees. By paths. Great carpets of white which from a distance ( q Bette Midler song) looks like a blanket of snow. 

 I popped in yesterday for a cuppa tea and a cake (and a quiche and a cake) and thankfully had my camera with me. To be honest I’d probably need an operation to remove it these days. If I haven’t got it at least I have my phone. 

Great place for lunch or afternoon tea and for now with the added bonus of a great snowdrop display. You may see me there eating cake. 

Hello 2017

How have we already got to 16 Jan ? Where has the time gone ? Seems like only yesterday I was dodging the over filled shopping trolleys indicating it was some holiday.

I’ve started the year with my RHS Chelsea tickets booked. My RHS Chatsworth tickets booked. Both of which I’m looking forward to. Chelsea for me is a tradition – lunch first at Poulet au pot in Chelsea then a potter around the show. It’s become so familiar and samey but I darent miss it. But  I’m more excited about Chatsworth. Last year I loved Malvern. Next year I’m aiming for Tatton Park. 

I’ve been lucky to have had two outings already so far this month. A hot date with Georgie from Common Farm Flowers to  At the Chapel to the first of their 2017 events – a talk by Satish Kumar. A thought provoking talk on Soil Soul and Society. Helped along by putting the world to rights in the bar after the event. 

We are lucky to have Hauser & Wirth on our door step and the wonderful Piet Oudolf garden. It’s a stunning garden. Thomas Piper has made a film of Piet Oudolf and his  projects which is beautifully shot and has some great music. We were lucky to have them give a preview of the film at a sold out Hauser and Wirth event  followed by a Q & A after the film with them both. Piet Oudolf movie is definetly worth checking out. As is the garden at Hauser and Wirth. In all seasons.  Was interesting seeing the comments on instagram after the event and realising that people who I follow and who follow me were there as well. Next time. Badges.  

January is a dreary month in our garden in Somerset. More so this year as I’ve put off jobs as we weren’t sure of the timing for some work on the cottage which meant the borders would be moved. Looks like I may have another summer out of them. 

So in need of some advice I’ve persuaded the lovely Sara Venn to come and visit. That is if she ever stops to take breath. She’s here there everywhere and I can’t see a hairy biker without thinking of her! 

The last time we were together we were like naughty school girls at a workshop at Common Farm Flowers.  So I need to make sure I feed her cake and lunch. And listen and learn. 

I’ve ordered seeds from Mr Higgledy – where I’ll get said seeds and a note written in really writing. In ink. That is if Flash hasn’t eaten the seeds. Or the pen. Or Ben. 

I’ve a pile of catalogues to look at – gardening ones not Grattan or Freemans ( some not all will remember them). Dahlias to plan. A greenhouse to research. When I retired ( early. I have to keep saying that) I was given money towards a new greenhouse. That’s been on hold and the old one strapped together and glazed in parts with plastic. So…. decisions. 

It’s not all been gardening though at times like this weekend it’s been all I’ve done. Looks like the year has started as it will go on. A call to see if I was around and if I could have the boys for two days. Well it was one and I offered two. My hat goes off to parents. I don’t know how you do it full time. I can give them back!! Didn’t help I had to be a responsible adult with a 10 and 12 year old. In central London. In the lego shop. And the M and M shop. Or being embarrassed in the Chinese supermarket in China town as the 12 year old said  ‘ Uncle Andrew –  you need to check the sell by date on those crisps’. Thanks I said. It’s in Chinese. He picked them up. Turned them over. In front of the person behind the till. And said. Yep.  They are ok. I forgot. At 12 he’s learning Chinese. 

So we’re at back in London where I have geraniums still flowering on the first floor window and where a white agapanthus is in bud.Theres a micro climate on the patio – the frost hasn’t  caught them. There’s a potted orange by the front door. With blossom. It’s madness. 

And we are only two weeks in. 

Gardens. Villages. Days out. 

Have I told you that I have retired? Ok. I have. On more than one occasion I know. Well I’m still getting used to it – it’s nearly 9 months now. How fast time goes when your having fun  

When I retired I decided that once a week I would have a day off. A day off Ian remarked. Surely every day is a day off now. Ha. I said. Look at the list you’ve drawn up. Septic tank. Boiler service. Alarm service. Flood gate service. Garden. Weed. Tidy. Check this. Cancel that. ( please don’t mention the attic or the cellar. That’s winter work)  I’ve enough to keep me busy for months.

 That and school runs. Courses. Jeremy Kyle and Tipping point.  I need a day off all duties and it’s called Me time. So I rebelled  and I have. Well not every week but some of them. In London I go to galleries. To lunches with friends and ex colleagues. Who happen to also be friends. I walk. Have coffee at my favourite coffee places. Breakfast at greasy spoons. Alone sometimes. With friends other days. But it’s always what I want to do. Selfish. Me. For those days. Yes. 

In Somerset it’s been lovely to visit villages and places that I haven’t been to for a while. Or for some not at all – which – having been here 22 years is a bit shocking. There are places still on this years list. I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t been to the garden at Hauser & Wirth this summer. It’s a glorious prairie garden designed by Piet Oudolf  and is only a 5 minute drive away. Shocking. There’s also a fab gallery and the great Roth Bar and Grill 

Last year at Hauser & Wirth 

So today I have had a lovely trip to Bradford on Avon. A short drive from the cottage but we were last there over 10 years ago on a wet and miserable Sunday where there was little open. I know it was over 10 years ago as it was pre two god children and we were there with their parents. All I remembered was this cute tea rooms The Bridge Tea Rooms in the centre of the town where we ate cake in damp clothes. It still looks exactly the same. Well it would really given the age of the building! – former blacksmiths cottage c1502. Previously  we didn’t see the canal. Or the Tithe Barn. We saw very little now come to think of it. Except clotted cream. Scones and some sandwiches. Oh. And rain. 

The Bridge Tea Rooms 

The tourist attraction  for the town is the canals. I’m not sure a canal holiday is for me to be honest. Enclosed in a small place with nowhere to go if I had a hissy fit. Which I have been known to have every now and then. Nowhere to stomp off to. But everyone seemed happy and smiley as they worked the boats. And the locks. Those amazing inventions. I’m sure we’d have a few rows with those. And the directions. We have usually had at least two before we navigate out if the car park at the airport. God help us on canals. I don’t suppose they have sat nag? Do they. 

Canal Barges 

Made me think of my  mother. She had a saying ‘ oh. He has feet like canal barges’ – seeing these today made me think of that! 

Even the dog looked cntent. 

There’s a fab old Tithe  hall. Beautifully crafted. Gorgeous light. Stunning open space. A 14c monastic stone barn. You couldn’t use it for dancing tho. The floor is too uneven and ridged in parts – so no dancing – especially in heels. Which I wasn’t wearing. Obviously. 

Tithe Barn Bradford upon Avon
Glorious crafted roof 

Glorious light 

It’s amazing how these structures are still standing and thankfully this is grade 1 listed. Looked after by English Heritage so it will be around longer than me. 

You don’t go to Bradford in Avon to shop. If you want coffee or cake then that’s fine. Or to eat. Or more coffee. There are  lots of coffee shops.  lots of eating places. But there again there are lots of tourists. But it’s not packed out. Well not today anyway. 

Lovely light & flowers in the alleyway 

There are cute views. Small little alleyways. With a plant here and there. 

There are narrow  streets – the type I drove down unintentionally in Spain breathing in and praying I met nothing coming toward me. It worked. I didn’t. But I realised at the end it was a one way street. I may have or I may not have uttered a few swear words as I drove through. 

Gorgeous views. The friend I was with likened it to Bath. Without the madness. The crowds & the high street shops. Which isn’t a bad thing. 

She’s right. I will be back. And before another ten years. 

Last week I ventured somewhere new. I had heard about it from friends. From Facebook posts. From witters on Twitter. But had never been. Shame on me. I was taken to  lunch at The Walled Garden Mells

Tables near the cafe 

A fab place for lunch. A great garden. Awesome pizzas and great quiche and the delight of a scone and cream. Jam first. Of course.  There are lots of lovely sitting areas. It’s fab. 

I don’t want you to think I’m entirely selfish and exclude Ian! We do manage to do some days out together. We have been making the most of our National Trust membership. This month we have visited Lytes Cary Manor a nice (ish) Manor House but I was more impressed with the borders in the garden and the lovely allotments.  

Moody shot of the house 

Fabulous allotments 

We also returned to another we hadn’t visited for a while  Stourhead
It’s such a lovely house and garden. We decided to give Kylie a run out and to walk around the lake. Just us not Kylie. 


The walk around the grounds is stunning and I wished we had taken a picnic to sit by the lake and take it all in. But we didn’t. So managed a takeaway tea and a sarnie. To be fair it wasn’t bad at all. 

So it’s been a good few weeks. I’ve visited The BP portrait exhibition in London. Twice. Because once is never enough. I liked it more the second time and I had a few favourites. 

There were some I didn’t get & some I liked more than others. 

So the rest of the month is busy but with no days out. We have our annual river clearance coming up where for one day and one day only each year I don waders and long gloves and with the village people ( better phrased –  people of the village- before you think Indian headdress leather chaps don’t really work in water) clear the river of debris and crap. Not your actual crap. That stopped flowing in the river years ago. 

River Pitt – the river. The old bridge and the Heron 

Then  it’s off on our annual holidays! Together. Where no doubt there will be photos. And a bit of a blog.