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The View from Here



Ben

Apologies for those who use this blog as a way to ease themselves into the week ahead on a Monday morning.  Last week, for some reason, I couldn’t quite think of anything to say. Too many bad things happening?

Just one photograph then, taken on Sunday evening a couple of weekends ago, in the middle of the heatwave…. Charlie’s garden heavy with flowers now. We’ve tipped beyond the longest day, and our friends and relations in New Zealand have had the shortest day – the world turning gently on, despite everything. 

This weekend we’ve had our friends Austin and Spencer staying over from New York. I would have posted as usual on Sunday evening but everyone was too busy getting drunk. I have had long days on site on Monday and yesterday; here we are half way through the week already.  So, sorry for lateness.

We didn’t do anything new at all, so my blog resolution to always do something new is slipping, in a sense; but it was a case of visiting favourite haunts for new people to see rather, than the other way around.  On Saturday, we went to Abbotsbury, and, as the fog lifted, for neo-classical pints in Poundbury.  On Sunday, after church, we went to Mapperton – screeching to a halt as we drove through Beaminster and noticing that John & Jenny Makepeace’s fabulous garden was open that afternoon….. 

The perfect facade of the house, and then at the back of the garden, Jenny’s fabulous cottage planting at its peak. 

We sat with Jenny in her idyllic garden shed, and drank home made fruit spirits and consoled her about the destruction of their remarkable former house, Parnham, in Dorset, a dreadful story, when it burned to a shell in a terrible fire, caused by arson, earlier in the year. Some actions are unforgivable, and this was one.

Mapperton is perfect as always. If you are visiting Dorset I cannot recommend this beautiful house and garden more highly.

Spenny and Austin take in the Georgian facade….

Steps down to the Orangery:

Dreamy Edwardian days….

The pool garden, one whole level below the terraces above….

Meadow bank goals…

We drove back through empty Dorset lanes, the countryside heavy with high summer.

Back home, dramatic skies and sunshine. 

Cocktails and cake on the terrace.

The very first dahlias are arriving.  Watch this space…

Mavis basically hates me taking photos when I could be doing something useful, like throwing a ball.

The meadow has gone crazy.

Charlie’s veg garden is looking amazing.  Standard sweet peas.

Icelandic poppies.

First year of the delphinium.

We went to look at the sunset and met our neighbours Jim & Nic going for a walk.

Drinks back at home, which drifted into a happy dinner.

Outside, that magical moment when the light turns blue.

And as sunset fell, we popped up to Nic’s garden to look at the view, newly revealed since they chopped down a few scrappy old trees… which had been in the way… of this…

Nic’s garden:

We rolled back to the Parsonage for supper cooked by Charlie.

It’s been a dreadful couple of weeks; I think we are all distraught by the horror of the Grenfell Tower blaze.  I’m finding it hard to know what the questions are, let alone the answers.

With all this going on, is it so very wrong to bury one’s head down in our tiny burrow down here in Dorset, and take wonder at this amazing, unchanging view of our valley, and take comfort in the company of new friends, and old?

It’s been the weirdest of summers, the strangest few months; I can’t help focussing on things as I always try to – concentrate on what you, personally, can affect in front of you.  Do what you can to improve things, to make the world around you a more interesting, happier, friendlier, better and more beautiful place. Don’t worry about the things you can’t influence, but worry a lot about the things you can.

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