On Thursday, very late, I drove from Cambridge, where I had been attending a museum private view with Briony, to Northamptonshire to stay with my mother for a few days.
It’s a truism that when we are at home we take each other for granted – we don’t seem to talk as much as we do when we are out and about. So on Friday we went out to run some errands in Banbury, and then headed home via Barn Farm Plants in Wardington which has a lovely cafe, serving simple but delicious standards – smoked salmon bagels, jacket potatoes and sandwiches, so that we could really talk and catch up.
Handily the garden centre is on the same plot of land as the Banbury Antiques Centre, which I had been meaning to visit for ages. It’s a huge barn of a place with lots of dealer cubbyholes, selling all manner of things from coronation mugs to stripped pine dressers. My obsession is with brown furniture, desperately unfashionable these days but much loved by me. I still find it extraordinary that you can buy a George III mahogany dining table for £200. I was quite tempted by this pot stand. (Pot – as in chamberpot, but I figure it’s quite some time since someone kept a brimming pot in there, and they do make great side and occasional tables and it was less than £100.
But what we actually bought was a huge antique gilt mirror for my living room, which will be my birthday present from my mama, and which my father has very kindly agreed to transport down to London next week. He will also be in charge of hanging it.
It’s my mother’s week on the church flower rota, so we swung by the parish church to titivate her altarpiece. It’s always a challenge to create something striking, large and beautiful from just her garden and the hedgerows but she’s done a wonderful job just using late season hydrangeas and foliage.
Titivating done, my mama headed home, and I took the dogsquad for a walk in the grounds of Eydon Hall – there is a convenient footpath running from the churchyard and down through the fields.
I was very grateful for my extremely comfortable and waterproof Penelope Chilvers Inclement Cropped Tassel boots, (gifted), as they really do seem to repel all mud, dampness and water.
In field selfie…I often listen to podcasts on my walks. It’s a great way to both keep walking further, and keep up to date with the world at large. (I particularly love the Bon Appetit podcast.) Headphones are my invaluable Beoplay H6, and the aviators are a new purchase from Roland Mouret, who makes excellent sunglasses.
And then home to flop on the Knole sofa with Lettice, toes snug in the Ruby & Ed slippers that my mother gave me a few years ago – she gets very cross when my muddy bare feet traipse across her clean floors.
Address: Wardington, Banbury OX17 1SN