Monday, April 28, 2008

Green Knowe

It was Ricardo's birthday today and after last years huge bash, I thought I'd try & compete with a mystery tour for him....
We've been re-reading the Green Knowe books and I decided we should go to Hemingford Grey, one of the oldest continuously inhabited houses in Britain, the house where Lucy Boston wrote and set her delightful books.
You have to make an appointment to visit and I was slightly nervous about snooping through someone elses house. Maybe we'd be overwhelmed by bus loads of Japanese tourists? Would it be presumptuos to have a picnic in the garden? Would the nostalgic images in my minds eye be ruined?
The house and gardens are truly magical. We were the only ones to visit on an early Spring Monday. It was much smaller and more intimate than I expected.
Dianna Boston, Lucy's daughter in law gave us a guided tour and was an absolute star. I had told her that there were three reasons for the visit. One was Richard's birthday, the second was our love of the books and the third was that as a textile artist I was interested in Lucy's pathwork quilts. She pointed out all sorts of wonderful fabrics as we meandered through the ancient house. Lucy only started making her patchworks when she was in her 60's and they are superb. Keeping to her goal of 20 stitches to the inch she continued to make them until her death in 1990 at the age of 97. There are not only fabrics to look at in the house, but sensational paintings & prints at every turn. The most enchanting part of the house is the very top room which looks out over the garden on three sides.
Today it looked over a buzzing froth of white Cherry blossom. This is where the character Tolly (short for Toseland) sleeps & meets his ancestors. There was the little Japanese mouse, the birdcage where the pet chaffinch came to visit and the splendid rocking horse.
We had a picnic in the hidden

garden with home made turkey sausage rolls and macadamia nut millionaires shortbread.
The photos of us in the garden are mine but the interior shots are from the website at
Go and visit this place if you can...... but first read the books. If you can't visit then read the books..... as quickly as you can, you're in for a treat.


Mardi Sommerfeld said...

What a lovely birthday treat ! And your baking from the weekend looked sensational. Happy Birthday to Richard from me... Love to you both xxx

JoeyJoJo said...

Hey Mard. Thanks. We had one of the best days in our whole lives. Wish you could come for a cup of tea and some millionaires shortbread. xxxxxxxxxx

suez. said...

I just noticed a new hat and wondered if it was a present.Also i'm glad you liked the flowers..

JoeyJoJo said...

Hey Thomsey. It's the hat we bought in France last year at a Brocante sale, the same time as my lovely linen smock.
Flowers are making the whole house smell divine. xxxx