Early on Monday morning at the close of January, the Poulets came to Winterborne Kingston. Nick collected from the overnight ferry. Their arrival has been anticipated with pleasure. We drank coffee, ate toast and the first excursion was mooted.
And so we drove the short route to the National Trust property, Kingston Lacy. The way takes us along the splendid mile-long avenue of beech trees which was planted in 1835 as an anniversary present for Lady Bankes. Some present!!
Many National Trust houses are closed until March, but there are grounds to wander round and we found plenty to enjoy on the cold, bright day. Anne and I clicked away on our digital cameras and she donated some of her more superior shots to my Kingston Lacy portfolio. The guy at the ticket office had told us we were a bit early for the snowdrops – by 8 or 9 days 🙂 – but there were plenty enough to make a good show, and Anne and I were particularly taken by the marriage of bamboo and snowdrops. A multicultural coupling.
You could spot the winter aconites from some good distance, their garish yellow colour being rather singular in the winter landscape. I never managed to establish them at 88 but given the mammalian predations we endured I wonder if they were rooted out. I think a subtle space at Winterborne K must be found to try again.
Nick and Francois share a love of working with wood so the ‘Venerables’ – thus named by Francois – the ancient trees in the grounds, were the focus of their attention and discussion. We walked a circular route, until a troublesome ankle and the chill factor drove us into the shop where a few purchases were made. Marmalade, cards, a small book on bird song, bargain gloves and Christmas decs ….. Anne was pleased with her finds. National Trust gift shops sell a rather desirable range of goods and I was very taken with a range of pottery on sale, particularly a large bowl with a peacock feather design.
The restaurant had little to offer for lunch so we drove on, and found a farm shop with a rustic restaurant attached. Being just a short distance from the centre of Wimborne we then took the Poulets to Waitrose where they topped up on some of their favoured ‘English’ products: horseradish sauce, pickled walnuts, salt and vinegar crisps, gravy products, Chivers jellies, and Naan breads 🙂