Today I took a small break from revisions. Actually it was in between drafts and so it is good to get my brain clear. We drove up to a friend's house in the Scottish borders. They were opening it for charity.
I was always envious of their old garden, but their new garden is absolutely glorious. 10 acres covered in a riot of azaleas, rhododendrons and other acid loving plants. They are right on the river Annan and the weather is just slightly more mild. Thus many things were slightly further on. Purple alliums vied with pink oriental poppies to create a carpet of colour. In the evenings, otters play in the upper pond. Unfortunately the house was built in 1863. An admiral and shipping magnate had it built so he could watch the water. And so I could not really used it for research purposes but it was one of those hidden gems that made me -- yes this is what Britain is supposed to be like.
Because of the scale of the garden, I couldn't be envious. All I could do was enjoy.
Now is the time of year to go garden visiting. The spring bulbs may be over, but the rhododendrons, azaleas and roses are just coming into bloom. By visiting the private gardens open for charity, it gives one a chance to snoop around and think about settings. When we lived in our old village, the annual garden open day was affectionately known as the garden snoop around. And there is one house -- the Newbrough Park that I still need to find a story for. It just is. And the owner of Newbrough Park during the Regency period has a life story that read like a Catherine Cookson novel -- illegitimate, abandoned on her father's doorstep, her grandmother insisted that she be brought up properly as the father had seduced a gentlewoman. She never married and became one of the largest landowners in the North East. Equally Nunwick Hall near is fascinating with its hostas growing in the ruins of the convent.
So do yourself a favour -- visit a garden today.
Anyway, the final edits of my Viking are calling. Hopefully my editors will like what I have done.