When the first job of the day is to go into the garden to pick roses (for Slamseys Gin), I don’t think life can get much better. Added to that, we’ve had a glorious week of hot, sunny days, partied all weekend in marquees set in beautiful gardens, watched the Lions and Andy Murray to victory, walked in glorious countryside and harvested fruit and vegetables from the garden. I should perhaps add that in this Pollyanna mode, I’m ignoring the fact that the fox ate another of my hens, the weeds are rampaging through the garden, the washing is piled up, the housework is neglected and there’s a heap of paperwork on my desk that needs attention.
This glorious week started with a few days walking. Having finished the Norfolk Coast Path, we’ve started to walk The North Downs Way that follows the chalk ridge across the south east of England for 153 miles, from Farnham in Surrey to Dover on the Kent coast.
We walked in the shade of woodland, through vineyards and across open downs, dropped down to cross rivers at the bottom of the valley and climbed back up to the ridge. Along the way, at the edge of a wood we found a cottage, with smoke curling up from the chimney pot and I fancied that at any moment Little Red Riding Hood would come tripping along basket in hand to visit Grandma inside the cottage. Bill thought I was completely bonkers. No change there.
We passed make believe houses hidden in trees
and ate lunch in grand follies. Life slowed down for a few days. We journeyed on foot or buses and trains, ignored the emails and just enjoyed the surroundings. If you’re planning to walk this route, there’s some brief notes about our days here.
When we returned home the garden had sprung to life. This is the first week that we’ve been able to sit down to a supper that’s entirely home produced. Scotch eggs, new potatoes, salads of beetroot, carrot, peas and rocket followed by gooseberry compote. No matter how simple the food, there’s nothing better than eating a meal that (mostly) was still growing half an hour beforehand with a vase of flowers freshly picked from the garden to decorate the table.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I must help make this Rose Petal Gin. And then, as we have some freshly picked strawberries in the kitchen and basil growing in the greenhouse, we may need to celebrate this glorious week with a Strawberry Gin & Tonic with basil leaves and black pepper.