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Time flying



Ben

Where’s the blog gone, you’ll have been asking… and time has been rushing by.

It’s been one of those moments where I have just had to get my head down and press on.  I have been deep in writing the final text for my next book – which I am happy to say is now finished. It comes out in the Autumn, published as before, by Ryland Peters & Small, and it will be called ‘English Houses’. People keep on asking when I’m going to be writing a book on my own work, but if I’m absolutely honest, I’m not really ready for that. So it is going to be another book of inspiring houses – the Parsonage, I guess you could have guessed; our flat in London, ditto; and then ten other beautiful houses where I have sneakily managed to persuade friends to let me and Jan Baldwin (with her camera) in through the door. Although I say so myself, it’s looking visually stunning.  In fact, I can say that because I’m merely praising Jan’s incredible ability to catch a moment and a mood.

Anyway – watch this space.

Meanwhile Charlie and I have been having VERY quiet times down in Dorset. From time to time I’ve stepped outside to snap a shot here and there as the light creates a moment in the garden. Spring is on the brink of bursting, but after the warmest start ever to the year, it has felt rather cold and restless for the past fortnight, as if the garden is a little held back.

But what is magical, still, is seeing how much changes in a week.  This was at the Easter weekend:IMG_0485 IMG_0486

IMG_0490 IMG_0510 IMG_0511 IMG_0512 IMG_0513 IMG_0523 IMG_0528 IMG_0530It has been an incredible year for primroses, I wonder why?IMG_0532

We went for a walk on Good Friday to Eggardon Hill, looking majestic:IMG_0549 IMG_0551 IMG_0555 IMG_0562

before making over way over to Powerstock to catch up with Jane and Johnny and friends. We got home at sunset:
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We haven’t seen a lot of sun in Dorset these last few weeks, but that evening, it glowed and was perfect.IMG_0591 IMG_0603 IMG_0606 IMG_0609 We were away on Saturday, during the midst of a huge storm, to our friends Kim and Pip over at the farm in Hampshire, and got back to Dorset in between blustery sunshine and huge clouds and rainstorms rolling in from the west:
IMG_0693 IMG_0699 I had to go back to London on the Tuesday, but Charlie stayed down for most of the week. Huge container loads of compost arrived and have been distributed; on Friday, three huge boxes of dahlia tubers turned up. It’s a full scale production in the garden right now, incredible. So these photos are from this weekend, and you can see how much has begun to change.
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The tulips have suddenly decided it’s time to come out:IMG_0805 IMG_0806 IMG_0807 IMG_0809 IMG_0814 The veg garden is looking amazing. Never has it been so neat and tidy. It was softest, mistiest light early on Sunday morning – the morning I got up to finish writing the book (a very good feeling to pen the last word).
IMG_0832 IMG_0838I’m writing on Monday morning now, at the end of a lovely weekend, although the rain clouds continue to roll through. The weirdest thing is, I am hardly here now for the rest of the month. Next weekend we are in Lisbon, which we were very excited about when we booked the tickets a few weeks ago but now are not quite so sure at all.  I mean, it is going to be wonderful, I’ve longed to go to Lisbon forever, but don’t you sometimes find that the most exciting part of a holiday is deciding to go? Then when the time comes you realise that you are basically very content at home (and always so glad to get back at the end). Perhaps, after all, this is the true purpose of travel – to remind you why you are happy with day-to-day life, which from the perspective of the here-and-now can seem a little bit relentless?

The following weekend we go to Suffolk, and the weekend after that we have a friend’s birthday party in London, and still we won’t be down here. I’m not quite sure I can cope. Charlie will be here dipping in and out of the tulip beds, of course, but to me it will feel like hearing a huge fireworks display, but not being able to watch it.  I may need to make an emergency trip. Watch this space.

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