On the Saturday after our return from Devon we joined the Winterborne Walkers for a round trip along the Dorset coast taking in Ringstead Bay, led by Mike Griffin. The evening before Katharine had arrived from London to spend the weekend with us. This was a repeat of a weekend earlier in the year when she had come to spend some time with my mother and to see some of the family. This is a very happy arrangement, particularly as Kat likes to escape London and I was delighted to find another guest who would happily sign up to sleeping in the waterbed.
Later in the week Nick and I enjoyed a gastronomic highlight, another Lobster evening at Le Petit Canard, a delightful restaurant in Maiden Newton. This was a welcome opportunity to spend some time with Maddy and Andrew before they set off for their holiday in Canada. We dropped them at Poole on Monday morning then drove up to Surrey for an important rendez-vous. A few minutes out of Godalming Nick suddenly braked and pulled the car onto the verge. He had spotted some mushrooms, field mushrooms as it turned out and which he picked.
Andy who prodded us, then helped us create our splendid tiered garden at Peperharow Road was over from California and spending a couple of days in Godalming on a bit of consultancy work for Charterhouse School, his alma mater. This was a wonderful opportunity for him to see the garden and us, his alternative family. Barney drove across from Oxfordshire and together with Charlotte and Ryan we walked down to the Charterhouse pub for a curry. We had just been seated and ordered our drinks when a tall figure hove into view. To everyone’s delight Dan had made the trip down from London to join the ‘family’ gathering. We had an amazing time with so much laughter over tales retold, and some tales Nick and I had not heard before. It was a one-in-a-long while memorable occasion.
The following day my friend Diana and I visited the Compton Pottery having made an appointment the previous day. It is owned by an extraordinary lady, Mary Wondrausch, who at 89 continues to pot and paint. I was searching for gifts for Harriet and Briony, which I found, but I also fell in love with a series of paintings Mary has recently been working on which combine watercolour, gouache and patches of printed media incorporated on the surface. These give a texture to the paintings which is very pleasing. I bought two of her pictures, ‘Field Mushrooms’ and ‘A Glass of Riesling’ as a gift to Nick for the French house. He likes them very much indeed which is fortunate as the last picture I bought for him, an artist’s sketch by Peter Thursley, fell flat.
Back in Dorset it was time to wind TOW down and depart for a week in France. On Thursday morning we boarded the morning ferry and settled in for the four and a half hour cruise across the Channel.