The Broadchurch Experience and Other Jaunts

So………… to use common parlance, we got back to Winterborne K with a couple of days to prep up for the arrival of our friends Tanou and Jean-Pierre.  We tended the garden and I shopped for provisions.  I had brought back meat from France and other goodies but we needed to have fresh fruit and vegetables as well as English cheeses.  With the kitchen stocked we were ready to receive our guests.

During the three full days they stayed with us we were able to offer them some of the best that our county has to offer.  On Tuesday we drove over to Chesil Beach to brave the wind on the prom by the Cove Inn, then up to the Bill for a quick stroll to watch the seas pounding the cliffs. On the drive down we stopped to show the classic view bird’s eye view of the Chesil Bank and the Fleet then drove west to West Bay.  I think this location will forever be known also as Broadchurch, the setting for the popular TV series which has travelled with great success to France.  We ate fish and chips in The George then walked along under the now famous cliffs with the seas adding natural high drama to the setting.  We wrapped up the afternoon with a very agreeable visit to Canterton House where Tanou and Jean-Pierre were in thrall to the English garden that Paul and Viv have created.  A cup of tea and coffee and walnut cake were enjoyed with P and V and their own guests before we headed back to Winterborne K.

The following day our original plan had been to visit Abbotsbury gardens however Tanou and Jean-Pierre were keen to visit the Garden Centre where I had bought some globe garden lights.  They spent a good hour and a half browsing.  We called in at The Countryman for lunch before driving into Dorchester for a short shopping trip.  It was a low key day but our guests seemed pleased with their purchases.

On Thursday we drove across to Lulworth in the morning and walked over to Durdle Door in sunshine.  On our way back from the cove we called in at the fish shack and bought a fine brown crab for a fiver.  Nick cooked omelettes for lunch after which siestas were taken before we drove over to Maiden Newton to have tea with Maddy and Andrew.  We ate supper at The Greyhound.

And so we found ourselves on Friday morning with an early afternoon departure for our guests.  Nick and Tanou dressed the crab which we ate with salad at lunchtime.  Nick set off for Cholsey to collect our next guests, and I took the Lerminez to the ferry terminal.  On the way home I called in at Lidl and was amazed at the range and quality of goods for sale.  I completed a replenishment of the larder and fridge and had just enough time to unload and stow before JACS tumbled through the front door.

Putting the Garden to Bed

We have had yet another splendid interlude in St Vaast.  Whenever possible Nick and I have spent time in the garden.  By the time departure has arrived Nick has managed to work his magic on the potager and we have a picking of rhubarb to take back to Dorset.  I have continued to rationalise the pot situation, emptying several by planting the contents out.  The hellebore bed is beginning to fill out and there are specials to enjoy.  The Polygonatum is looking lush in the shady bed and a new pale-flowered Vinca is sitting pretty.  I am thrilled with the Cerinthe major plants, which came from seed given to me Kate Brice, and during this stay the dwarf Bearded Iris have flowered and the arc of mauve-flowered iris by the fig tree have been a welcome splash of colour down in the potager.  The parrot tulips in pots, which I just managed to catch before they started to turn, are pretty much finished.  Other containerised plants – Paul’s Primula candelabra and my Primula auricula collection on the iron étagère have pleased me greatly.

I have put in a fair amount of time working on the area under the mimosa tree.  Sadly the largest of the three trunks has died.  We are not really sure how many trees there are so are waiting to see what happens next.  But underneath there are now primroses, cowslips, foxgloves as well as some of the bee orchids and other wild plants.  I am trying to develop a wild aspect to this bit of the lawn and will help it with some wild flower seed mix.

After Maddy and Andrew leave St Vaast we join various friends around a meal table.  I do a ladies’ foursome lunch with Fefe, her friend, Claire at Le Debarcadere, whilst Nick and Francois T go fishing.  Another lunch is taken at Criee de Tomahawk with the Daniells and some Dorset friends, and on our final evening Francois P cooks cote de boeuf.  In the very familiar company of the Poulets and their neighbours I feel we have come full circle since our move to St V ten years ago and we’ll keep right on circulating.