Sunday 26 May 2024

Bank Holiday

No one can say that the weather in Blighty is predictable. On Friday the skies were overcast but there was no wind and no sign of impending rain so we went to the beach for a walk and had the place pretty much to ourselves, just a few dog walkers and people fettling up their beach huts, making ready for the weekend and the season ahead.
Saturday brought warmth and sunshine so we took ourselves off to Christchurch to have a look around their food festival and soak up the holiday atmosphere.
The priory can be seen to the right of this rather fine Victorian bandstand.
Ladies in pink were choosing their tipple, although I preferred the look of the Dorset tea stall.
It was too early in the day for the stalls of cake or fudge or anything else to tempt us so we went on to Mudeford to walk by the water. It was heaving with the people at the sea front so we parked inland and enjoyed a far quieter spot overlooking Christchurch Harbour, walking along Fisherman's Bank.
This is such a lovely spot. The front of the houses, on the road side, are unassuming, but on the harbour side their frontage is delighful. I liked the simple planting in front of this house that combines wild and cultivated flowers and grasses.
More fettling up to be seen as we approached the sailing club.
As we returned to the car I spotted this lovely rose, a delightful welcome to the house. (But it's their back garden that I covet!)
It rained overnight and today there is a strong wind. We are staying home. Himself is painting the shed. Who knows what we'll get tomorrow.

Tuesday 21 May 2024

I LOVE it when the sun shines!

See how the colours are changing as the temperature lifts. The blues are fading but here comes bronze and purple and a promise of pink.
A vey wet spring has created a bit of a jungle. I like it!

Sunday 19 May 2024

Thomas Hardy at Athelhampton

We looked around the gardens at Athelhampton last Sunday but not the house. We watched a short film about the writer Thomas Hardy and his connection with the house and the use of it's architectural features in his novels and short stories. Hardy was born in a small cottage only three miles away from the hall. The house that he designed and had built when he became famous, Max Gate, is six miles away, by which time he was a friend of the Athelhampton owner and a regular visitor. Endelstow House in 'A Pair of Blue Eyes' is partly modeled on Athelhampton as is Weatherbury Farm, Bethsheba's house in 'Far From the Madding Crowd.' The library reading group discussed 'A Pair of Blue Eyes' this spring so I intend to return at some point to take a look around. Hardy first visited Athelhampton in 1859 when he was nineteen years old and visiting his father, a stonemason, who was doing work on the building. In August 1914 he was having lunch at the hall with Florence, his second wife, when war was declared. Both Max Gate and the pretty cottage were he was born are now owned by the National Trust. What a contrast the three houses make, and quite a statement about the English class system, something that Hardy had an opinion about!

Monday 13 May 2024


On Sunday there was a rare plant sale at Athelhampton Hall. Flask made, sunhats on, off we went to take a look around.
Our first glimpse of the yew trees was enticing and the plant sale was put on hold until after we had explored the gardens.
An aerial view of the yew tree garden showing the central pool and fountain.
There are many pathways and arches that give tempting glimses of the house and other areas of the garden.
Here we are framed before one of them.
The various 'rooms' of the garden all have a pool or water feature of some kind. The water is sourced from the River Piddle, a shallow but fast flowing river that runs through the Athelhampton property.
As we watched we saw a grass snake swim from one side of the river to the opposite bank.
We made our way in leisurely fashion to the plant sale. Nothing there to tempt me. Himself was shocked, it is the first time I've come away from a plant sale empty handed!
We admired the beautiful dovecote and some of the planting near to the house.
We drove home through Puddletown, stopping to take a photo of one or two of the many thatch cottages in the village.
That's what I call a great day out!