Saturday, 21 August 2010

Getting There... maybe

I'm sitting here alone in my house tonight with a glass of Kentish white wine and a frittata, made with vegetables from a neighbour's garden.  I bartered the vegetables for a pot of the marmalade I make every January, a popular present.  Yesterday afternoon was spent sitting in the garden of another neighbour in the village, together with the latest additions to the next generation.  Tomorrow my next door neighbour and I are planning a blackberrying expedition in the country lanes that surround the village.



It's been just over a year now since my partner and I made the move from Kent to Suffolk and it's been a challenging and sometimes fraught time.  I have often been horribly homesick for my old life and familiar people and places, but having decided to leave my comfort zone, I am slowly beginning to reap the rewards. Friendships take time to grow, but there are some promising beginnings.



Today was spent sorting out the garden, a new challenge for me after years of living in rented houses.  It is a continual puzzle to me, what should go, what to keep, what will thrive and where.  There have been some successes and some ignominious failures. I am currently trying to work out what to grow beside my pink climbing rose, now planted in the courtyard outside the kitchen - should it be cat mint, lavender or a deep blue Hebe?  And what will do best in the very dry corner of the bed by the front door when the Cosmos has finished?  I'm tempted by a deep red lavatera framing the herbs - the silver thyme I planted there is spreading itself very nicely indeed. There is so much more to do, so many plans to make, but it's been a good first year and I'm enjoying myself, rootling around deep in the Suffolk soil.  It certainly keeps me grounded.




My peaceful time will end tomorrow, as it should.  I really wouldn't enjoy it so much if I had too much of it.  My youngest son, home from university for the summer, will be returning from his visit to his father in London, soon to be joined by my oldest son and his girlfriend, staying for a couple of days rest and relaxation - them, not me!  Then it's off to Holland on the ferry to join my partner, who took the boat over yesterday, for a week or two of cruising the Dutch canals and inland seas before it's back to earth with a bump and perhaps an end of summer Pimm's party for all our new friends and neighbours.


14 comments:

  1. Hi Marianne, glad to hear you're settling in well. It does take time, and I think it's harder getting to know people when your kids are not at school any more.
    Good bartering going on there - I wouldn't mind joining in there- could offer plum jam or plum chutney.... you guessed it, we had a bumper crop of plums this year!
    Your garden looks fantastic to me, I'm still trying to get to grips with mine, 17 years on.
    Have a wonderful boat trip, and enjoy your family visitors!

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  2. Thank you Mimi - you are so right about the difficulties when there are no longer children in school. I think all my friends in Kent came through the boys. Enjoy the plums and get bartering! The garden is fairly well established but has some glaring deficiencies and gaps so it's a process of constant editing and a way of putting our own mark on it. Thanks for the good wishes. See you in September.

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  3. You might find there is a local Gardening group that you could exchange plants with, and get to know people also.
    Dont cut your Cosnmos down when the flowers are over, as the goldfinch love the seedheads.

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  4. Hi Elizabeth. Thanks for the advice - any advice gratefully received. I hope they will seed themselves for next year.

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  5. Settling does take time, but after 5 years here in France (and don't forget at the moment, summer only), I have more friends, almost all French (and my French is rubbish)than I have ever had in my life. Really good friends as well who are more than ready to help with anything.

    Looking forward to seeing the photos on the barge in Holland that sounds like great fun. Diane

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  6. That sounds promising for you Diane. Are you planning to settle there permanently? Photos from the boat in Holland will be posted in due course - hope the weather improves.

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  7. Hello, lovely to meet you! Your garden looks so exciting - I know you have a lot of choices to make, but that's quite fun, I hope! Have a wonderful time in Holland.

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  8. Oops, I forgot to reply to your comment - I saw the road signs to the town you stayed in, but we haven't been there yet. We definitely intend to go back frequently, as it's very accessible from our home near Toulouse. Where else do you suggest we visit?

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  9. Hi Floss, Thanks for popping in. Hope the weather picks up for Holland and sailing though.

    Puycelsi is a very attractive fortified village with walks around the battlements and in the forest too - go to the Auberge in the centre of the village beside the church for lunch - best food, run by a lady called Dorothy.

    The Sunday morning market at St Antonin is a good place for a potter and to pick up some local produce and St Antonin is a lovely place, too. It was used in the film Charlotte Grey.

    Coming out from Cordes towards Puycelsi, we stumbled on signs for Chateau Margeaux - well off the beaten track and definitely worth a detour - it's the home of an artist and very unusual.

    We also found some very acceptable and inexpensive wine at Maison Bicery (I think that's what it was called) in the Gaillac region.

    We have friends who live north of Toulouse, so it's a place I have got to know quite well - whereabouts are you? (Don't say if you prefer not).

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  10. Hi. The garden does look beautiful. I am so not green fingered and so really admire people who are.

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  11. I can empathise with adjusting to a new garden as that's what we're doing too; having just moved to a large wild garden in a small town from a tiny inner city one.

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  12. A can't help but envy the amount of earth you have to work with in your garden! Mine is SO concrete slabs! LOL :)

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  13. What a beautiful garden, a lovely place to be. I can't imagine how difficult it is to begin again, but a beautiful place to think about it all would be a very good place to start. x

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  14. Thanks for the comments - it is a lovely spot and I should be very glad to live here. Gardening is very therapeutic I find.

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