Midsummer in the English Countryside (and in Putney)

by Sasha Wilkins on June 22, 2014 · 12 comments

peach mozzarellal salad

I often don’t quite notice when Midsummer falls, but this year it was the most perfect sunshine-y day that one could not fail to register and luckily I was in the Northamptonshire countryside to enjoy the day, and with friends in the evening.

On Friday afternoon, after a morning pinging between a Burberry presentation at HQ in Pimlico, a vaccination clinic in Soho (a trip to Ethiopia is on the cards), Loon Fung supermarket in Chinatown, and Suzannah’s jewel box boutique in Portman Village to return my borrowed Ascot hats, I flung myself into my tiny motor, drove my sister to her monthly drug therapy at the hospital and headed for the open road.

Well, the M40.

But the moment we were free of the sweatbox motorway – and the thirty five minute traffic jam at junction 9, I put the roof down, buckled Posetta Baddog into her seat, and had a glorious drive to my mother’s cottage. (She needed help putting things in, and retrieving things from, her attic, and this was the only tiny gap I have in my schedule for the next two weeks.)

Midsummers day

After three years, her garden is now starting to take shape, (that’s the view – above – down to her nascent potager), and we took full advantage of its terraces to eat all three meals outdoors. On Friday I cooked a supper of shitake, choi sum, tofu and enoki, garnered from my Chinatown expedition, and we finished with a bow of tiny white fleshed nectarines from my greengrocer.

2014-06-20 19.49.07-1

We retired very early and I was passed out from tiredness by 2230hrs. Billy is always a very luxurious – and luxuriating – hound.

blue whippet

We breakfasted royally in the sun on poached Chestnut Maran eggs and sourdough toast, whilst my mother tackled the crossword.

Midsummers day

plum ashby calendar

The Plum & Ashby calendar in my mother’s dressing room.

Midsummers day

We both flopped out in the sun, reading and talking, and then, as the heat started to get a bit much, we gathered up the dogs and took them down the lane for a quick trot.

Midsummers day

Midsummers day

Tiny dog roses dot the hedgerow like white stars

dog roses

Back in the garden, the Philadelphus is in full bloom

philadelphus

The dogs lay gasping in the shade, whilst we tackled the attic.

blue whippet

foxgloves

I’m very taken with this ravishing Ferdinand Pichard rose with its raspberry ripple petals.

Midsummers day roses

After attic climbing (and sweltering in its sauna-like atmosphere), I snarfled down a Solero in the baking heat (not ideal for clean living, but only an astonishing 100 calories), and headed back to London.

solero

Midsummers day

Successfully navigating the snarled up M1, I whizzed through Hampstead to my sister’s house, to hand over the small cross hot dog, before dumping the car at home, sticking myself under the shower, buying a huge bag of delicious fruit for a hostess gift from Parkway Greens, and running to the tube to travel the 45 minutes down to south west London to Putney, where the most delicious supper awaited me at Hannah and Mark’s new home.

We celebrated Midsummer by feasting in the garden on white peaches and mozzarella with basil and balsamic, and many, many glasses of Prosecco, followed by an epic tart of caramelised onions and goats cheese. Just the kind of food I adore.  (Similar coming to a good bookshop near you soon!)

caramelised onion tart

And pungently perfect Epoisses, and sticky figs for afters.

cheesboard

oh and lest I forget, a bowl of pineapple and vanilla ice cream to round it all off. I was poppingly well fed.

As the light started to fall, we walked gently down to the banks of the Thames. My camera clock tells me I took these photos at 2241hrs, and yet the night was not yet completely dark.

river thames at putney

river thames at putney

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Ms McPiggy June 22, 2014 at 23:36

Lovely. Thanks. I know that your thing is fashion and lifestyle so, after the cookbook, I hope that you and Mum hook up on a gardening blog.

Reply

Julie June 23, 2014 at 09:48

What an absolutely perfect way to spend Midsummer day. I’ve just ordered the raspberry ripple rose, so gorgeous. I used to really enjoy your mother’s blog, her writing was beautiful and her garden descriptions mouth-watering. I hope she’s happy and well.

Reply

Marina(Makeup4all) June 23, 2014 at 10:04

Thanks for posting these beautiful and inspiring photos! x

Reply

Beccy June 23, 2014 at 11:18

Beautiful photos! It looks like such a wonderful time – the Ferdinand Pichard Rose is absolutely gorgeous.

Beccy ~ Bluebell & Bumpkin

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Catherine June 23, 2014 at 15:16

So many beautiful images. I love the green plates in the food pictures and also the wonderful looking bedspread Billy is on. Can you post details?

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Little Miss Katy June 23, 2014 at 16:52

Lovely photos. Those flowers are sublime!

Love the sound of that goats cheese and onion tart. Please ask your friend if she’ll let you share the recipe with us!! xx

Little Miss Katy | UK Lifestyle and Fashion

Reply

Samantha Heathcock June 25, 2014 at 20:43

Looks blissful. Thanks for sharing.

Reply

Adele June 26, 2014 at 22:58

This post is so beautifully written, my shoulders dropped with relaxation just reading it! I’m really looking forward to your book, x

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Adele June 26, 2014 at 23:02

PS, I have been dithering over colours for crockery as I have just opened a beach cafe in Hayle, Cornwall, I really wanted turquoise but was a shade too unbrave to try it – seeing your friends gorgeous plates showing off the colours in the ingredients has made my mind up – turquoise all the way, white is for wimps x

Reply

Sandie B June 29, 2014 at 09:56

Sheer bliss! You made me smell the roses!! I’m just off out to the garden to cut some lovely blooms to put in my “cottage garden” jug on the kitchen table! Thanks Sasha x

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