a holiday postcard
We are halfway through our lovely holiday in East Sussex. The weather has been sublime, very hot and sunny, which apart from the sunburn is a real treat for us pale-skinned northerners. My bones feel warm for the first time in ages, especially since the last two summers were such a chilly wash-out.
Garden visiting has been high on our agenda. On a hot summer's day, what better activity is there than a leisurely stroll through beautiful borders, down little brick paths and across wild meadows, followed up by a visit to the tearoom for a lovely pot of tea and some scones with cream and jam?
Much inspired by the recent BBC programme and Adam Nicolson's excellent book, we made Sissinghurst Castle our first port of call. The ruins of the Elizabethan mansion surrounded by Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson's gorgeous gardens are certainly very romantic and there is a wonderfully erudite atmosphere, but we were surprised to find the place seemed a little run-down and the toilets rather smelly. However, it did provide some lovely photos for this post, which is a good job as the next two days I forgot either the memory card or the battery or was too lazy to take any pictures...
As you begin the climb up the tower at Sissinghurst you come across these tiles on a windowsill. Vita's writing room was - and still is - halfway up. You can peep in and see her desk, books, pictures and rugs.
The second day we visited Great Dixter which we found a far superior experience and even though I had not expected to like Christopher Lloyd's exuberant planting, I found all the bright colours quite uplifting. The old house is beautiful and it is a far nicer place to visit, probably because it's independently run (ie not National Trust).
East Sussex is a very ancient and beautiful landscape. It is very wooded and has a very interesting history of farming, smuggling, ironworking and pannage (driving pigs into the woods to scoff acorns). Today we went on a delightful walk around our local area, down ancient holloways and sunken green lanes, across heath and streams and through coppiced woods to see a ruined priory and the earthworks of a medieval iron furnace. Plenty of cold pizza and kitkats were consumed and a large pot of tea was required on our return. Sadly no photos though, due to the aforementioned forgetfulness issues.
The other lovely thing we have done is pay a visit to the very sweet, charming and creative Gigibird who made us delicious sandwiches and cake and took me for a walk to the beach to see the beautiful beach huts. We had a lovely afternoon chatting and looking at ribbons and fabric while Rory was packed off to see old aeroplanes. She and her friend Stella make the most gorgeous corsages and other desirable things which you can see on their Florence Hope blog.
There are still so many places to visit and if I remember my camera I will share them with you soon. Meanwhile, here's a photo of beautiful Mrs Duck who hatched her eleven ducklings on the pond the day after we arrived. They are unbelievably cute!