With midsummer here at last, I’ve been wondering if we have been touched by a bit of that good old midsummer magic of late. Don’t worry we weren’t last seen dancing naked at dawn around a stone circle or joining a load of druids on a pilgrimage to mark the summer solstice. (Although, Jerry swears he was on the 18:23 from Waterloo with Druid Arthur Uther Pendragon on Friday night). No, nothing all ‘Glasto’ drastic as that. However, trundling along the parish boundaries in an ancient village church tradition to bless the fields and the beauty of our little patch of countryside, I couldn’t help thinking that perhaps Jerry and I had gone native, dear Reader. In a month or two, it will be the anniversary of our first year here and it is difficult to imagine us anywhere else these days. Continue reading
Can you believe it?! We only have two weeks left in the Big Smoke. The countdown is ticking away and I have, so far, lived up to my ‘Last minute Lavinia’ nature or what my dear Mamma lovingly refers to as my ‘ostrich syndrome’. Nothing packed and very little sorting completed. Might have to do something about that pretty sharpish as can’t bear the thought of the removal men packing up my knicker drawer! To my list of achievements (and procrastinations regarding the move) this week I can add the following: talking about sorting through all our clutter (very important to waste time thinking about decluttering before getting on with it) and somehow managing to dye a significant portion of Primrose’s hair green. A lesson for us all, dear Reader: do NOT use a CD/DVD green indelible marker to name a sunhat in haste. Apparently not so permanent if the hat gets wet…
You will be pleased to hear though, dear Reader, that I have managed to somehow brave our hellish furnace of an attic and take some offending items to the charity shop. Unwanted wedding gifts from eight years ago which have moved house twice, a glass chess set from Venice that both Jerry and I have always hated, two Moroccan tea tables…(one can be justified, two is just too much Morocco)! After much debate about whether or not we should keep a car seat for our grandchildren, I realised that I was surprisingly sad about how quickly time has flown by and perhaps that could explain my fondness for avoiding the inevitable! Of late it seems that Jerry, the girls and I have been saying so many goodbyes….
Sod’s law too, that after 6 years of living in SW London, I discover a rather lovely new friend just as we are about to leave the Big Smoke. I only wish I had met her years ago but maybe then I might never have decided to leave London at all. Her website Life After London is such a fount of knowledge for all those moving and she has helped so many in their quest for the good life, it seems only fitting that I should be added to her list of ‘jobs well done’! I only hope that I do live up to her fabulous remarks about me and manage to fit nicely into the new life waiting for us all. I do hope that she and her rather delicious children will come and visit us very soon to make sure we are doing it right. I have promised not to give her any more jam in the meantime! When Margot met Bee.
With all these lavish farewells I seem to be bidding, there is nothing like the playful chiding of a dear old friend to bring one back down to earth, with a quip of “You’re only moving to Hampshire. It isn’t the moon!” Minty was, of course, entirely correct, dear Reader!! It seems as if the gods agreed with her too and felt the need to put things back into perspective for me as this morning whilst walking Monty in a slightly bleary eyed state and carrying Poppy in the backpack, I stumbled down a rabbit hole. No Alice jokes please, dear Reader….. Thankfully it was fairly early and there were not many dog walkers about to see my comedy fall, watch me hobble to the car with dearest Primrose acting as human crutch as she gave me her ‘expert’ medical opinion of “It will probably go black and fall off”. Reassuring. My ankle is now an old lady’s ‘cankle’ and I have taken Primrose’s treatment advice: “I think that you need a good long sit down and a drink, Mummy!” Gin, deep heat and a seat in the sunshine with my new ‘countryside kitchen’ book, courtesy of some very lovely old school chums – not strictly Dr Primrose’s orders but surely, these things are open to interpretation, dear Reader?! I shall never get round to doing any of the packing at this rate…..
Jerry and I decided that amidst the moving mania, we ought to make time to experience a few country pursuits before the packers and boxes descend on us (also because I am known for my ‘last minute Larry’ attitude towards such things and the move feels like ages away)! So we packed ourselves off (sorry couldn’t resist the pun) to Highclere aka Downton Abbey for the day and set about enjoying all the sights and sounds of the Highclere Countryman fair! Country fairs, dear Reader, are the summer staple for countryside lovers and a bit of a firm favourite with Jerry and I, bringing back memories of the county shows of our childhoods.
Well, it really didn’t disappoint, the whole day was UTTERLY brilliant. Falconry displays, jousting knights, a food festival tent and hundreds of country stalls from the sublimely satisfactory amount of tweed to the hilarious including a wonderful double take moment when I spied a ‘I’m a NOB’ badge. Yes…dear Reader…a badge for members of the National Organisation of Beaters and Pickers Up. Bet you didn’t know they were using that acronym! I was also astonished by the sheer volume of countryside gear on offer. Just how many camouflage jackets and boiler suits does one need in the countryside? Thank goodness, I had read all the helpful country fashion advice put together by the lovely Bea at Life After London (with help from Out of the City) otherwise I might have come away with some outfits that would really turn heads in our new village!
Perhaps the best thing of all was the fact that we could take Monty too! Child AND dog friendly…! One can see immediately, dear Reader, why such events are universally popular! Monty was adored by many a passer-by with ooohs and aaahs of “Is he is a Springer? He looks just like…” and was thoroughly chuffed with the overwhelming number of opportunities for hoovering up leftover lunches! He was also glued to the Gundog Field Trials and loved watching all the dogs retrieving and jumping over bales! I wondered if he was sizing up the competition for next year’s Countryman fair! Jerry and I (well I say Jerry but it was mostly me) got thoroughly carried away with all the ‘doggy’ stands and we came away with yet another lead for the Montster. That would be lead number 3….. I just can’t help myself!
After 4 hours or so of carrying Poppy, Jerry and I called time on the fair, especially as Poppy was considerably heavier after demolishing a hog roast sandwich with all the trimmings and poor old Jerry was developing every parent’s worst nightmare, “Backpack Back”. With sleepy children and a pooped puppy, we headed back to town and vowed that we would go again next year. Leaving Highclere, Jerry even managed to have the girls spotting ‘Lannies’ (his Land Rover obsession has reached fever pitch now the move is looming closer). It would seem that every journey is now to be accompanied by the excited whoops of ‘LANNY’ from Poppy and Primrose….so the sooner Jerry has one, the better, dear Reader!