Early Autumn in Dorset doing nothing very much at all

The garden has reached that peak early autumn moment – wild and ebullient, blowsy, waiting for the first frost. I arrived on Dorset on Friday evening, and we had a slightly mad night in Bridport, with friends, riding home in a taxi, and jumping in the freezing lake at midnight.

The following morning, Charlie and I had to set off early to retrieve the car.  Time for a quick wander in the garden at first light. Charlie’s lilies have been amazing this summer.    Last week Charlie decided he didn’t have enough space in the vegetable garden for growing all the flowers and veg that he intends to enter in the shows next year.  About a minute later, nine huge new beds have appeared in the meadow, looking a bit like freshly dug graves in the lee of the church.  It’s going to look very beautiful in the height of summer next year to see Giant pumpkins and dahlia stands in amongst the meadow grass. 

The dahlia border is at peak too.  

We had a fantastic Saturday, after the hangovers had worn off… lunch in Beaminster, our favourite town… which has been on its knees since the summer, when some idiotic thieves decided to try to rip the cash machine out of the wall with a tractor – only to pull the whole building down. You can see the results here. Our friends Louise and Cass run the brilliant Brassica restaurant and the fantastic newly enlarged Brassica Mercantile.  Trade has been slashed since the road closures and the huge pile of rubble and security fencing hit the centre of this beautiful little place.  So, do me a favour, visit Louise’s website, and buy something amazing!!!

While we are on the subject of small shops, please don’t forget to visit the newly and beautifully redecorated Pentreath & Hall shop – looking resplendent in its new colour, which is, in a nutshell, the perfect cup of strong milky tea.  Just how we like it. I’ll get some photos on the blog soon.

Will and Brandon left after a long, lingering lunch and Charlie and I headed over to the Long Bredy Harvest Fete.  We arrived as the prizes were being given. It will come as NO surprise to readers of the blog that Charlie won first in the Animal made from Vegetable competition (Adult section), although it’s probably true to say the competition wasn’t quite as stiff as the Dorset County Show.  You’ll see photos of his entry in a bit (strictly speaking, not an animal at all, but a bird).

We got there so late that the prize rosette was actually handed out across the churchyard wall. 

But a win is a win!

Long Bredy church is one of my favourite in Dorset, with its beautiful setting in the bowl of a tiny valley, surrounded by hills and trees and, at the right time of year, grazing sheep. 

As the raffle was called, everyone anxiously watched their tickets.  A very large number of yellow tickets starting with the number 3 were called.  People holding blue and pink tickets were not amused. 

Our friend Caddy had grown an insane number of squashes, which decorated the porch.  Here are a tiny proportion.

The church was looking beautiful.

Apple Cake table. Stiff competition. 

Animals made out of Fruit and/or Vegetable.  Any guesses for which one’s Charlie’s?

My favourite:

We’ve admired these incredible Victorian windows on the blog before, but they looked even more beautiful decorated with Autumn flowers.

And as everyone knows Bridie & my stacking plastic chair fetish (found in churches around the world, needless to say), you’ll know I was happy to see these. 

Gwen Kinghorn, winner of the apple cake competition.

More chairs.

The Morris Minor has been having a good summer, after a little care and attention from the Charles Ware Morris Minor Garage of Bristol last autumn.  Never has she run better.   And she doesn’t feel happier than parked in a field with chalk downland rising behind.

Today has been incredibly quiet. Charlie went early to the Mapperton plant fair, while I walked the dogs; after lunch in the pub I went for a long sleep while he zoomed up to the Yeovil Chrysanthemum and Dahlia show (and don’t forget the tuber sale, in November… last year’s blog here).

This afternoon we picked 24 pounds of crab apples and Charlie’s making jelly.   And that’s about the long and short of it today.

In other words, a heavenly day doing nothing at all.

On Thursday, Charlie and I off to New York – my favourite time of year to go.  And when we’re back, there’s also some exciting news, but that’s going to wait for another blog!

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