There followed four days in a rural setting, with no phone signal and no interweb access. Heaven, you might think. Time to paint, sit with jug of wine beneath a bough, write worms of wisdom for inclusion herein or simply read a jolly tome like À rebours.
Oh no. The Oldest’n’dearest chum has just retired and moved from her base in Bromsgrove School to the previous holiday cottage in the wilds, filling it with acres of clutter and tons of young, stupid and randy water spaniel called Cormac. The fields outside are full of sheep and rape (the crop, not an unseemly ovine activity in the same field). So when space can be found to sit, there is the constant threat of having to fight off a rather powerful animal with a strong sexual attraction to the legs of Yrs Trly.
Thank heaven for days out in the car (not the son’s one, which is also full of clutter). And time back home in bonny Scotland, to fill you in, gentle readers, on some of the stuff what happened in that bloggy hiatus. Let us treat said blog as a simple diary for now; more philosophical musings might appear at a later date. If you are loopy enough to want to be sure of catching them, do press the ‘follow’ button, and they will appear in your email inbox if and when. Would you really want to risk missing them? Oh well; please yourselves.
To Ludlow on the Sunday, to celebrate the day. Excellent lunch in La Becasse, duck terrine, lamb, and chocolate torte, with a fine, fruity Rioja, (in honour of the madrileño maître d’).
Your eminent correspondent gets the seat of honour in the restaurant bar and makes a half-cocked attempt to appear bleedin’ sophisticated…
(and is considering dumping wordpress as a blog home, ‘cos it can’t handle simple formatting like starting a newline after an image! I could do this 5x faster in raw html on my own site, grumble, grumble).
On Monday, the chums took their guest to Hampton Court. The original (or at least older) Hampton Court in Herefordshire. A wonderful mishmash of old and faux vieux. A maze, a river, an exquisite garden …
Another day, another castle. This time, Croft, a National Trust property famous for its family (and topical) associations with dead royal babies (and princesses), one of its gracious owners having been an unfortunate royal man-midwife.
Lovely gardens again, an interesting chapel and, within, a picture which stopped your overheating traveller dead in his tracks and stole his heart. ‘Twas a portrait of Nancy Beatrice Borwick, Lady Croft, by Paul César Helleu, in drypoint.
Not wishing to incur the wrath of the copyright gods by copying it to here, we refer you to this link, and show you some flowers and treelets in the garden, which it isn’t worth risking formatting to one side, only to spend hours fiddling and swearing lots, in an attempt to put text down the side neatly (grumble, grumble).
There is a place in Craven Arms, called The Land of Lost Content.
No, this isn’t a poem, though if it were, it would end, At least, my good friends said there was, But they’d closed it when I went.
So, in a sudden change of plan, they decided to see their guest onto his train to Manchester from Ludlow, after a lite lunch at Dalí, a Sidoli’s ice cream from the Chocolate Gourmet and a wander round the shops and antique emporia.
Lucy from Perth did the honours in the Dalí Tea Rooms in Ludlow’s Quality Square. One is always disappointed in places named after surrealists, not to be served coffee in a melting watch by a nun in a flaming wimple, with one breast not only exposed but also fitted with a small drawer, Oh well.
And what better way to break the journey home than by meeting the kid sister’s old Bangor roomie Shelley (of the singing Bailey Sisters)? At Manchester’s Pickledwilly Station.
More will follow — probably — in time. Watch this space — but don’t hold your breath.
As they say round these parts, Bye just now.