It has been a tough week. The evening before my 50th birthday our cat, Rio, was breathing rapidly and we rushed him to the vet hospital. He spent the night there on oxygen and we booked him in for a heart scan on the Monday, meaning we had to cancel our week in Cornwall we had planned to celebrate my big five oh. It turns out he has restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM), as well as severe inflammatory bowel disease. He cannot be stressed so we had to cancel my post-birthday afternoon tea party and postpone the extension building work to create a big kitchen/diner opening on to the garden with a separate sewing area (and downstairs loo). It will still happen in due course, but loses its appeal knowing we can only have the new kitchen when Rio has died. My old cat, Brian, died from RCM so I know what lies ahead. He is very well in himself now, but I know in due course he will lose weight and energy and he will need medication several times a day.
Anyway, I have friends going through far worse and have been trying not to be miserable – honestly, Mark, I have! – and yesterday finally managed to feel calm and optimistic and at one with the world. As ever, this remarkable transformation was created by a garden. The Peto garden at Iford Manor, to be precise. Seriously, this place should be prescribed on the NHS. There is no better food for the soul than this beautiful garden – and at the moment the wisteria is out, draped over buildings and pergolas and free-range, creating characterful, twisting trees.
We went round once – with my wide-angle lens – then stopped for tea and cake before walking around again – with my zoom lens.
Like all the best gardens, at Iford you wander between garden ‘rooms’, each with each own character. We spent quite some time soaking up the serenity of the Japanese style pool.
The gardens were alive with scent…and with the buzzing of bees.
There is something so calming about cloisters. When I came here in the Autumn, my friend Trish and I found ourselves alone in the cloisters and Trish couldn’t help but do a little yoga in the dappled sunshine, while I sang Alma de Core…it’s just that sort of place. Really want to go to one of the concerts there.
Mark felt the need to hold up the pillars to show off his manliness…not entirely necessary, I suspect.
I found a very strange woman down the well!
A quick goodbye to a rather lovely cat, and then just time to wander down to the river before heading home. We saw an egret, but I wasn’t quick enough to get a photo.
The address for Iford Manor says it is Bradford-on-Avon, but I think it should actually be Bradford-on-Heaven!