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Business as usual



Ben

In the interests of business as usual, here is a blog about nothing particular at all. I’m glad to say that some things don’t change in Dorset…. Charlie’s huge flower arrangements, for instance.P1020244 P1020245

But look carefully, and some things do…P1020249

The garden is behind. The weather has been cold and stormy this month, and things which you’d expect to be up and about are not.  The first lily was a welcome sign of high summer coming.P1020254 P1020256 P1020258 P1020270There was beautiful sunshine on Friday evening, and the garden glowed.P1020271 P1020273 P1020274 P1020277 P1020278 P1020288 P1020291 P1020295 P1020296 P1020299 P1020301 P1020303 P1020318 P1020322

But Saturday was a day of showers. This was Bridport on Saturday morning. We’d gone for an early breakfast at Soulshine with our friend Maria, who was staying for the weekend. Downpours hit the market, to be followed by bright sunshine. It felt more like April than July. P1020338

In the afternoon we went to our friend Gracie’s, up at Toller Fratrum, the home of the wonderful Little Toller Books that I have written about several times as regular readers of the blog will know.  Gracie has just opened a new gallery in their wonderful farmhouse – The Room at the End, and we were nipping into say hello. If you are in Dorset, very worth visiting.P1020342 P1020344 P1020345 P1020346

The new gallery space is brilliant – very beautiful.  Large drawings by Bea Forshall.P1020348

Part of the Lost buildings series by my great friend Ed Kluz hangs on the opposite wall. I should also admit that Charlie and I bought the Dark Town painted chair by Johnny Hannah…. very exciting.
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A box of letters by Johnny Hannah:P1020367

The door, appropriately, is held open by the Common Ground stone.P1020379

It’s a hidden away spot with views down a beautiful soft valley.P1020380

The drinks tent was necessary from time to time as rain showers swept through. That’s Ed Kluz in the shorts, feeling summery.P1020387

Here is Gracie’s mum, Sarah, Hugh Dunford Wood (founder of the National Gallery of Lyme Regis and wonderful wallpaper designer and artist), John Makepeace, furniture maker extraordinary, and finally his wife Jennie, who does not like being photographed. P1020393

Gracie and Charlie. Smiles all round.  P1020394P1020395We had to tear ourselves away for dinner with friends down the valley in a beautiful Baroque house with a dreamy garden, a place with a deep and romantic sense of history.

If you happen to follow Charlie or me (or, and please don’t scream, Mavis) on instagram, you will already know about Henry and Percy our kittens. My niece Daisy was given a pair of kittens for Christmas. Unfortunately there was a teenage pregnancy in the family. Both her kittens were pregnant aged 3 months. So my sister-in-law found herself with nine kittens to look after.  We’ve taken two, and they are christened Henry and Percy. This is Percy. Right at the beginning of the blog you caught a glimpse of Henry.

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They are very very funny and very cute, as you can imagine. They are going to be Dorset cats. We will give Mavis a bit of respite in London. She wasn’t very happy when the kittens first arrived but they are all very friendly now, which is a bit of a relief. P1020412 P1020413 P1020414

I’m sure many more photos will follow, although I promise this is not going to turn into a kittens blog.

In the afternoon we went to our friend Emily Cave who was opening her garden for the church over in Litton Cheney.  A beautiful house, a beautiful garden, and a beautiful hot afternoon.
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The setting, with leafy streams and ponds running deep below the house, is spectacular. P1020447 P1020450 P1020451 P1020469 P1020471

For many decades, the house had been the home of the artist and wood engraver Reynolds Stone and his wife Janet. The greats of the English Art world for a generation came to stay here. Reynolds’ gravestone is in the churchyard next door.
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And that of his son-in-law, Jonathan Gili, remarkable designer and film maker, who is someone I never met but know a bit about and who sounded the most amazing man.  It was good to see them resting in such a beautiful place.P1020472We came home and basked in the heat of the July sun, and Mavis tore around the garden chasing her ball, as opposed to chasing the kittens.
P1020481And then Maria and I had to pack our bags and with sadness in our hearts drive to the station and catch the train to London and get ready for another week. I’m glad that the sunshine is streaming in through my bedroom windows this morning. We need it!

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