Tuesday 31 October 2023

Tuesday 24 October 2023


Our elder daughter and her partner were with us at the weekend. They lead busy lives, often out of the country, so it was lovely to sit down with a cup of tea and have a really good catch-up. On Friday night all the family were together under one roof - what a treat! (Then the Bournemouth branch, but not us, went off for a half-term holiday in the sun.) On Saturday we went to the Dorchester Literary Festival where I was delighted to speak to Kate Adie whom I have admired since her days as a fiesty war correspondent for the BBC. What an elegant lady she is! On Sunday we had a birthday lunch in town. Yes, another one, but my last for this year.
Life is back to normal now - no cake on the cake stand and a low autumn sun hardly visible through the trees.
We've been living here now for a year and there are no more surprises to find in the garden. Now I know what I can clear or move and what I shall cherish. There is only a little colour to see at the moment but there will be another shout in a while when the maple leaves put on their display. There is a repeat flowering of clematis and the jewel-like berries of the American beauty berry bush look lovely when a slant of filtered sun shines on them.
The outdoor furniture has been put away and a number of potted plants pulled under the cover of the veranda. Wood for the kitchen stove is all undercover as well.
I could wish for more sunlight to fall into the house and garden as it really is very dark. It is, however, rather magical - and private - to be living among trees that were part of an old and large woodland. The whole area has a blanket tree preservation order. There are big limbs that threaten the roof of our house! The sun filters through and shines for a while on the small greenhouse. My auriculas are not in good shape. They are outside but I might have to reconsider their position as we move into winter. By contrast the lemon tree is laden with fruit and the blossoms always smell beautiful.

Tuesday 10 October 2023


Our daughter's partner and I have birthdays just a few days apart so we had three days of celebrating, the weekend and my actual birth date on Monday. Eighty years young! The weather was warm and sunny so on Saturday we took a picnic to the National Trust gardens of KIngston Lacey and ate in style. We stowed away our picnic things after eating and looked round the house before strolling around the gardens. On Sunday we ate lunch outside on the terrace overlooking the sea at Brasserie Blanc. It was such a still, warm day that it was hard to credit that it was October. I went for a morning swim on my birthday and it was glorious. (It was also a statement of, 'eighty, so what!') I was the only person in the water, the sea was calm and warm and only the thought of the preparations for the afternoon entertaining persuaded me to leave the beach.
In the afternoon I gave a tea party to some of the people that I've got to know since moving to Bournemouth last October, neighbours and friends that I've met at the writing and book groups that I've joined. I set up savoury food and teacups in one room and desserts and fizz in another, with plenty of chairs both inside and out where people could sit to eat. I had a lovely time, lots of chatting but hopeless hosting skills from me as I forgot to light the candles and cut the birthday cake. (Rectified later when the family came round after work!)
Here I am plonked in the kitchen after a very happy time. The family did a good job of hoovering up quite a bit of the party food but half of the chocolate cake has gone into the freezer!