Quiet Times

We got back from America and have had the quietest time… Recovery and catching up.  But… we also collected Enid. Oh golly. 

For those wondering, she’s not a relation of Sibyl at all. They just look like that.

More Enid pictures to follow (and many more are to be found over on Instagram).

London weeks have been furious and frantic, catching up with life and work and a million things. Dorset weekends have been serene and quiet.

Last weekend we went to our friends Jasper and Oisin for lunch. Low February slanting light lit up the house and their valley.

Enid was basically the star of the show.

We got back to the Parsonage to find the garden still light at 5.30. There’s that amazing sense at this time of year of spring right around the corner…. coming and going, depending on the weather and the wind.  Last weekend, the sounds of knocking at the door have been getting louder…

This week, I’ve been busy too.  On Thursday, in serene spring sunshine, I was in County Durham, for a first look at an exciting new project at Castle Raby.  It’s an entirely new part of the world for me and I’m blown away. Tiny glimpses – here are the stables:

The ancient yew hedges in the walled garden:

The tropical house:

The main stable building, designed by Carr of York – serene.

Lots more to come from what I think will become a really wonderful and exciting project.   I got down to Dorset on Friday – brilliant sunshine again (when I was looking at the design of a new small village house not too far from us…which, I’ll just add, is my favourite kind of project).

On Saturday, a dense fog had blown into the valley. The light was grey and flat.

After Bridport Market, the first we’ve been to in weeks, we took the dogs for a walk in the mistiest of valleys.

We missed the sunshine of the day before, but it was strangely beautiful nonetheless. most of the day was spent doing nothing at all. I went to bed for a long sleep and a read. Charlie hung out with the gang on the sofa. Mum and Dad came round for tea, which turned into a drink.

This morning, the air was bright and optimistic.

Snowdrops on the little group of hazels that I remember planting as whips when I first moved to the Parsonage ten years ago:

The light was briefly golden and heaven-like. Snowdrops are at their peak this weekend, I’d say.

Enid keeping up with the gang…

The first daffodils are coming up the churchyard. 

But the day was getting greyer.  Daffodil yellow gloss-paint walls do their best to cheer you up though.  We had our friends Gracie and Adrian and Ed coming over for a long, lazy lunch. 

hours later, here we are. Ed and Enid.

Gracie & Adrian, as regular readers of the blog know, run the superb and extraordinary Little Toller Books.  Ed’s a brilliant artist.  We are plotting an exhibition and book on Dorset Houses which will be coming out this time next year – with an essay by me.  Watch this space.

I love this time of year, when we are all stirring out of wintery slumber, and cooking up plans. The year feels full of promise right now.

My strong advice – right now – ignore the news entirely. When I was over with Mum and Dad on Friday afternoon, we ended up watching the 6 o clock news, which is what Dad just does. It was full of the entire opposite – no promise at all. Depression, worry, angst – and all about things that are completely outside our control.  At the end of a long week, it was frantic and exhausting. I’ve definitely been known, from time to time, on this blog, to make a gentle plea for sorting out the things that ARE in our control. Is it a case of doing something you’ve been putting off for ages?  is it a case of getting in touch with an old friend who you haven’t spoken to for years?  Or of tidying up the front garden? Or just making the tiniest step towards fixing something that’s broken.  It’s the place to begin feeling better about life, trust me.

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