It was hot, we visited loads of places, our flat was very near perfect, a total success.....
Chosen from the internet, our flat on the outskirts of Frome, but still within easy walking of the Town Centre and the station, was peaceful, with great views. I spied a Kingfisher on two occasions, a balloon and many cows who wondered round their large field throughout the day, seeking shade and sipping from the river from time to time. We watched the birds flitter amongst the trees and wheel over the fields. The flat was very well appointed, clean, quiet and comfortable and we wished for nothing more...
On our way down we stopped at Avebury. We had visited there many times, but not since the latest restyling by the National Trust. At first I felt that we were walking through a 'film set', but gradually as the usual relationship melted away, with the help of the room stewards, we came to feel that we could touch and explore far more things than is normally allowed. Mr S took a shine to the living room, and enjoyed a cool rest. There was music of the period playing over the radio, and lots of artifacts to look at.
In the dining room I had a go on the 'exercise horse', and then spent ages intrigued by the hand painted wall paper, no touching of this,
but D was invited to sit at the head of the table and imagine that lunch was about to be served.
He had a go in the library at the billiards, whilst I read an Edwardian Gardening Book. The Gardens at the Manor are coming on a treat, and were well tendered.
The small room again with hand painted wall paper was a delight
As we had a schedule to follow, there is much in the house, to draw us back again. We made the Horse at Westbury with wide ranging views for our lunch time picnic, and watched hand gliders waiting for a favourable wind, well any wind would have done, it was perfectly still.
When we got down to the flat, and had unpacked the car, we headed into town...as soon as we hit the first shop: James Gaunt Interiors in Church Street, I spied some really wonderful hats in gorgeous fabrics. Although this is not a hat shop, a local hat maker has a few of her hats in the window featuring the fabrics. I tried some on, all too large, I have a small head...but the hat maker was in the shop collecting some fabric. She offered to make me a bespoke hat, in fabric of my choice. When I went to collect my new hat later in the week, she had made two, it took me ages to choose... I chose one with ferns and dragon flies, lined in green, totally reversible. The other one I left behind was the same fern fabric but with moths!
Mr S also got his Panama Hat from Matico on Cheap Street. We had passed the shop when it was closed, when we saw a Panama Hat in the window. After being disappointed all season not finding a hat to fit, we were not holding out . We had a lovely conversation with the owner, who had been to Ecuador to meet with the Hat Makers. During the past seasons she had many chaps with large heads come in the shop, so she had specifically asked for larger hats to be made. As we entered the shop, one was already walking out with a gentleman. Mr S even got stopped in the street in Frome with questions about the hat. Also on Cheap Street, Mr S bought three belts...yes three from a lovely leather shop. He has been looking for just the right ones for several years now, and the old ones are years and years old!
Saturday we spent walking around Frome, visiting the markets, and found the same cheese we had bought down in Bridport. We bought some of Wootton Organic Dairy's sheep's yogurt, a whole soft cheese, and a wedge of their Millstone, which Mr S claims is the best sheep's cheese ever. We bought various other goodies to keep us over the coming days. By the river, near the market, in Frome grows a wonderful large multi stemmed tree. I love trees, and I was straight away attracted to this one.
I just had to take a picture under my theme of 'fifty shades of green'. The bark is well groved and mirrors the ripples in the river below, and from which the sunshine was bouncing back lighting the otherwise shady area. This multistemmed tree I discover is a wing nut, Ptericarya x rehderiana. It has long pendulous catkins but by this time was displaying its fruit which gives the tree its common name: wingnuts.
The following day we took a trip out to Cranmore to the preserved line and railway modelling shop. We had not realised that it was father's day, so were very lucky to get a cancellation at the nearby Inn for Sunday Lunch. We had one of the best Sunday lunches out for ages at the Strode Arms. The Ale was very well kept.
We were so hungry that it was not until the desserts, that I got my camera out.
On the way back to Frome we popped into Nunney Castle, just perfect with its moat...
Monday was the day I had plumped for to claim one of my birthday treats: A day at Bath Thermea . It was wonderful, after the treatments, delicious lunch, and sessions in the various steam rooms, the room pool, and the other pool, I was totally relaxed. In the evening our friends Peter and Catherine took us out a meal at Raphael. We were thoroughly spoilt, and then caught the return train to Frome. Bath has redeveloped the area around the Station, and the whole City looked very smart.
Tuesday saw us having a bit of a drive around before our special meal. We stopped for a cuppa at a small cross roads in Chewton Mendip at a cafe called Lynda's Loaf...we could not have been more surprised. The place was a delight, and the food looked sublime, but we knew what was ahead of us, so only had a drink. We sat at a big table and had a nice chat with someone from the village. He pointed us in the direction of a short walk which was totally hidden from the road which lead behind some cottages to the source of the River Chew.
I had recently been reading Paul Hollywood's Biography, and one of the Restaurants he said he would want to go to again and again was that at Ston Easton Park. I had looked up the restaurants he had mentioned and found this one close to where we were staying, and their taster menu was within our means for this special 'meal of the year'. The house and grounds were grand and well kept, and we were booked in well in advance.
In the morning, we visited the Victoria Art Gallery. In all the years I have been to Bath, this is the first time I've been there, and it won't be the last time. They have a good selection of paintings, porcelaine and glass. I found this beautiful screen depicting St Dorothea: Patron Saint of Florists, and St Elizabeth of Hungary. The inscription on one side reads In his celestial garden fruits and roses that never fail, and on the other, and in her lap there lay the red and white roses of paradise. As a gardener and rose lover this really touched my soul.
After that we picked up a picnic from a little cafe on Pulteney Bridge, and got this picture from their window, whilst we waited for our sandwiches to be made up.
We made for the Holburne Museum,
round the side is this delightful 'garderner's cottage', my name for it.
and had our picnic amongst many other picnickers in their back garden.
Thursday was picking up the hat, more walking around Frome, and I bought two plants from the Country market: a variegated scented pelargonium, and a fern: Athyrium Niponicum Pictum. As a coincidence there was a very good Pelargonium House at Stourhead, though I had to be politely assertive, after I had obviously been told a 'cock and bull story' by a young very confident ticket person, before someone from the shop very kindly went and found the key and opened the house for me. She was very suprised about the 'story' and said the glass house was usually open! They have a really good collection, and the names were only visible from the glasshouse walkway, there were fern like pelargoniums,
Friday saw us decamp and head home, via two super sites well worth visiting: Farleigh Hungerford Castle and The Courts Garden. As usual I spied a pretty pink ground cover plant which I am yet to find its name. So if anyone can name it, please let me know.