Day one of our glorious trip to the West Country with Boden was spent at Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage, baking bread, making canapes, and eating vast VAST quantities of food. Of course, as Newton’s Third Law has it, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In this case the day of shoving everything in sight in our mouths was rewarded with a four mile uphill hike the next morning.
The weather was glorious: a perfect English summer day, hot with a light breeze, as we started to pull uphill.
It was worth it for the view from the top. (I had marched ahead to take some photos.)
I flumped down in the grass, and was quickly joined by Sprout, who wasn’t tired AT ALL. That dog seemingly has springs instead of legs. It is not fair.
We admired the view, whilst Johnnie Boden told us about the country we were walking through.
After the obligatory group photo,
we headed down the hill, only to discover another we were taking another very, very long upwards section. Thank goodness I had brought along my years old hiking boots, nicely broken in, and perfect for a good tramp.
Since I’ve moved back from America and, in particular the West Coast, I’ve missed enormously my daily hikes through Los Angeles’ canyons, and I could feel my lungs start to open, and my head clear. It was glorious. Until the right ridged sole of my ancient boot fell off after I had splashed through a ford. (Fortunately they have double moulded soles so I could still walk.)
We had been told that there was a surprise waiting for us at journey’s end and, as we walked through this lane, we came out to a field bathed in bright sunshine.
Down amongst the trees is Mapperton House, a ravishing manor house, with its origins in the Doomsday Book, and its oldest extant parts dating from the reign of Elizabeth II. Today it is home to the Earl and Countess of Sandwich, and we were heading there for a flower school session and lunch in the gardens.
Charlie, the founder of the British Flower School had spent the preceding week picking nad gathering the most beautiful local and British flowers for us to make hand tied arrangements.
After lunch we wandered through the gardens. The mid-afternoon light was so strong that nearly all my photos were irredeemably bleached out.
Laden with flowers and River Cottage booty we caught the last train back to London.
The British Flower School
firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: 07712 155 250
Mapperton Gardens, Beaminster, Dorset, DT8 3NR. Telephone: 01308 862645
Huge thanks to everyone at Boden for two of the most brilliant days in the West Country, in particular to Lizzie, Johnnie, Emma and Josie.