Normal Service Resuming

We are pleased to announce that normal service has resumed. No more politics, no more sadness. It was a beautiful early Summer weekend in Dorset and the blog contains nothing more than images of the garden, of houses and landscape. Which is really what we all like. I had my old boss and friend Charles Morris and his wife staying, and their friend Charlie, and Will.

We went for a walk to Abbotsbury and the coast. The grass seemed particularly vivid after months of turning shades of brown; there’s something about that moment when the trees finally break that is magical; and clouds quickly scudding over the folding hills.

I love the walk to Abbotsbury, and the moment where the land suddenly falls down to the coast and to Chesil Beach.

Like so many Estate villages, Abbotsbury is picture perfect. Nothing jars. But what I was liking most of all was the little gardens and allotments tucked about the place, ready for Summer.

We returned via Waddon House, to show Charles and Rachel the perfect proportions of the Portland stone facade.  Waddon is a fragment of a much larger house of which the central section and left wing burned shortly after it was built… I have written about it before. It is my dream house.

Back to the Parsonage in time to catch late afternoon sunshine in the garden.

On Sunday, we went to Chettle House, up towards Cranborne Chase; a beautiful, romantic, English Baroque house  in a gently decaying village where not a lot has changed since the 19th century. The house, by Thomas Archer, is strange, restless; I love its curious detailing and tall sash windows with ancient glass. The curved corners used to be at the ground floor only, and it would be so good to see the upper floors removed… a different house altogether.  To be honest, it is collapsing a bit now. How do we define that moment  when romantic decay gets too much? I think that Chettle may have just slipped over that edge. “It’s looking a little Chettled” is a phrase that might make its way into my language.

From Chettle, we made our way through villages and via the Museum at Farnham (The Museum is an excellent pub, in case you were wondering) to Rushmore Park, where a very long time ago I’d been at school. The soft expansive beauty of Cranborne Chase always takes my breath away.


Monday was bright and brilliant. I spent all day in the garden.

I put up my bean poles, and planted beans and peas, sweetcorn and lettuces, courgettes and squash.

The tulips are putting on a crazy display at last. But I suspect will soon be over.

And the auriculas are just turning, as irises and aquilegia come through. It feels like it’s been the shortest spring ever, rather like being in New York, where winter suddenly turns to summer with just a week of spring in between.

But it was, basically, a perfect weekend. Normal service has resumed.

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