At the end of half term week we take the girls back to Hackney. Emsie cooks us a delicious roast chicken dinner then we head back to Winterborne Kingston. A sustained interval of visitors and visiting has drawn to a close. We face a month in our Dorset home before we repair to St Vaast at the beginning of December to prepare for Christmas. I have many tasks I would like to tackle, some are long-standing and involve rooting out cupboards, weeding out drawers, organising and arranging the trappings of my life. Above all I want my garden back. I began to lose it in April and May. By the end of June when we returned from France after our three week sojourn in the south of France I had acquired a wildflower meadow. The borders had run rampage. Fortunately I had made the decision back in May to vacate many of my pots and leave them with montages so I did not have many dried out and shrivelled plants to dispose of once autumn arrived. There is a resident in the village who is a keen gardener and grows an assortment of plants which he sells and gives the proceeds to charity. I walk round to Broad Close to see what he has to offer and buy small Viola, Primula, Wallflowers and small Cyclamen. I spend £40 and get all the plants I need to populate the pots I have waiting in the wings, some of which, with bulbs, will be overplanted.
Out of the blue I get a message from Barns enquiring whether we will be about over the weekend of the 12th. Fortunately we will although I have committed the Saturday morning to a pro-EU group who are running an Outreach stall in Bournemouth. This will be my first experience of lobbying, in a minor way, out on the streets. Meanwhile Barney and the children will join Nick for the village walk during the morning. After my ‘reaching out’ I get home before the others return after their pub lunch. The rest of the weekend is spent playing games, eating good food and on Sunday we do a walk in the morning which does push me to my limits. Barns proposes we drive to Worth Matravers, walk to St Alban’s Head, along the coast to the cliffs above Chapman’s Pool and back to the car. This entails those nightmare steps which need to be negotiated in order to cross the deep valley running down towards the coast. We count 217 down and about 180 up the other side but there is a stretch of unstepped slope on the up side. I complete the ‘crossing’ having found it extremely taxing. (My leg muscles will ache for at least four days afterwards). After a delicious slow-roasted shoulder of lamb Barns loads the kids into the car with all their clean laundry and drives the back to Oxfordshire ready for school the next day.
A relatively uneventful week ensues, culminating in a pleasant inaugural lunch at The Old Workshop to launch Splinter, a somewhat conspiratorial group of erstwhile village book group members. Four of us eat my quick version Paella followed by Lemon mousse, choose our first joint title to read for discussion and decide on other titles that we have variously either read, or intend to read and which we will talk about as and when. The following day I am going to drive to Sandford Orcas to forage for a basket with Kim.