There was sunshine at the cottage on Saturday morning and for the first time since we bought the cottage we were able to sit in the garden and relax. (Good Friday was also sunny and warm but we were too busy building bonfires, mending fences and painting to sit down.) We had an amble around the hamlet and said hello to the very friendly donkeys. Eeyore, seen on the right, is eight-months-old and being weaned so his companion in the paddock is an old donkey.
And then on to Petworth to stroll among the daffodils in the pleasure grounds and to walk around the park where we came upon a clutch of newly hatched Egyptian goslings. To mark the 300th anniversary of the birth of Sir Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, who laid out the pleasure grounds and landscaped the park, the Embroiders’ Guild is holding a superb exhibition in the servants’ quarters of textile art inspired by Capability’s Petworth landscape. I liked the way the artwork was mounted on canvas blocks, it was very unifying and especially effective against the ink-blue walls.
Petworth House is a treasure trove for art lovers. I found the portrait of Lady Elizabeth Percy by the artist Sir Godfrey Kneller who lived in Twickenham. Elizabeth (1667-1722) was the daughter of the 11th Earl of Northumberland and an extremely wealthy heiress. She was married and widowed twice before she was 16-years-old (her second husband was killed by her lover) and it was her dowry, including Petworth, that she brought with her on her third marriage to the 6th Duke of Somerset that enabled the remodelling of Petworth House in the grand Baroque style, including a roof of Northumberland slate.
Sunday morning was spent at the allotment planting two rows of Charlotte potatoes, digging out the compost heap and direct sowing the first salad leaves, rocket, spinach, radish and beetroot. I brought home purple sprouting broccoli, perpetual spinach, herbs, rhubarb and an armful of Purple Prince tulips. I was pleased to see the asparagus is already shooting and I think an asparagus cookery challenge may be on the cards this year.
In the afternoon we went in search of lambs and bluebells and found both. It was a lovely relaxing weekend and I remembered my mum and dad who were married on 2 April 1956. I have their album of wedding photographs and today I found my mother’s wedding bouquet carefully preserved in a sheet of blotting paper within its covers. So no vase today, but a remembrance of a hand-tied wedding posy from 60 years ago.