My mum says I was born middle-aged and I am not ashamed to stand up for my love of old houses and lovely gardens…food for the soul. I am not averse to a tea shop or two either, although Mark is a savoury person so on holiday with him, we are more likely to have something breakfasty rather than cake. I rather feel cake is like alcohol, and is a social consumable – best shared with friends and a bit sad and desperate when scoffed alone – so my sweet tooth is best satisfied when out on holiday or a day trip with my sister…or Karen B…or Karen L…or Alison…or Hayley…or Gail…or….well you get the picture. My most pleasantly surprising sweet goody this holiday was a breakfast at the Watch House in West Bay the day we came home; blueberry pancakes with pineapple, melon and strawberries, topped with yoghurt with fresh mint and tarragon and a balsamic vinegar reduction!
Anyway, to the houses and gardens…
Abbotsbury sub-tropical gardens
One of my favourite places in the world. We go every time we visit Dorset, so I hope you are not bored with photos of here (if you are skip on, as there is a house and garden we visited for the first time this week with never before blogged photos – well, never before blogged by me anyway)
Another favourite haunt – starting to look beautifully Autumnal.
Mark’s parents left a leaflet about days out in Dorset in the flat (including discount vouchers) so we decided to head somewhere we had never been before. Athelhampton House is a few miles the far side of Dorchester and I can safely say is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The house is large and fine, but homely – the smell of wood smoke entices you in to the great hall, and you can feel the house is lived in and loved. The family who owns lives in the house must be torn between the income from visitors necessary to maintain the house and grounds and the longing not to be invaded on a daily basis.
The garden is set out in a series of ‘rooms’, separated by walls and hedges and water features. I love that the river that runs through the garden (a shallow one teaming with trout) is called the river Piddle!
Sadly the church the other side of the road was locked, the toilets at the back of the church made me laugh though – quite a come down from the grandeur of the house and gardens!
the swannery at Abbotsbury
We just had to fit in one last visit to the swannery at Abbotsbury before it closes for the Winter. It is a beautiful place crammed full of wildfowl and other wildlife.
When we got home – to a house and garden looking way better than when we left them (thanks to Sue and Don who stay in our house and look after the cats whenever we are away) – we went to pick some courgettes for tea and found this little fella in our vegetable plot. I think he’s beautiful!