Tuesday, 27 October 2020

The Distancing Diaries - 26th & 27th October, 2020


 Despite the clocks going back it was still dark when I got up at 6.15am on Monday morning and the rain hammered down whilst I did my Wii Fit workout, which didn't bode well for our planned National Trust day out. After our fruit and yogurt breakfast and armed with macs, umbrella and our packed lunch, we set off for The Cotswolds

It's been a couple of months since our last visit to Hidcote Manor Gardens (HERE) and, as we'd loved them so much in the height of summer, we were keen to see how they were looking in their Autumnal glory. 

 
As the UK's best known and most celebrated Arts and Crafts gardens, visitor slots at Hidcote are like gold dust, possibly even more so since Gardener's World filmed there a fortnight ago, so I was thrilled to go online at 6am on Friday and secure a booking.


As you can see from the photos, Walsall's torrential rain didn't follow us down the M5 and The Cotswolds, a mere hour's drive away, were glorious. I'm sure they must have their own micro climate.


Although our visit to Attingham last week was gorgeous, I think Hidcote may have had the edge, they were so beautiful bathed in golden sunshine that it took our breath away. It's the half term holiday this week and we were expecting it to be busy but, the car park was surprisingly quiet and, with a strict one way system in place, we shared the gardens with only a handful of others.

 
Although we were blessed with a dry day, there was a real Autumnal nip in the air. I don't think it will be long before we're swapping our hats for ones of  the ear-covering variety and digging out the gloves. 

I was delighted with the abundance of colour still in evidence at Hidcote and as usual, I came back with even more planting ideas to add to my endless wish list. 


I love coming across plants that grow in abundance in our garden, like the ferns and wild geraniums, then seeing what grows alongside them. I was rather enamoured with the Hart's Tongue Fern I saw on Lulu's last post, hopefully it should be okay in Stonecroft's garden if the other plants are.  


I fancied a Jade Plant after seeing this beauty in the glasshouse at Hidcote back in the Summer, although mine's a fraction of the size. I don't know what the amazing thing is in the photo above but I want one! (I've since been reliably informed by my friend Anna that it's a Haemanthus Albiflos.)


Back in the days BC (before Covid), Monday's were often boozy all-dayers spent in 'Spoons. Although we've always loved our hedonistic pub marathons, we're just as happy wandering around gorgeous gardens and drinking in their beauty.














Is this year's Autumn more beautiful than ever or is it just because we've got time to enjoy it?

















 After a life-affirming stroll around Hidcote we ate our sandwiches in the car whilst enjoying a Black Metal special on 6music ( I wonder how many other National Trust members can say that?) before driving back to Walsall where, judging by the puddles, the rain had hammered it down the whole time we were out.


Tea was a chana masala with rice. We watched another episode of Spooks before tuning into the latest Who Do You Think You Are? with the brilliant Ruth Jones (a 1966 baby, like Jon & I). It was lovely to see Newquay in South Wales, where I'd spent our family summers from 1967 until 1976. Afterwards I went to bed and continued with the book I'd started on Sunday night, the sequel to Snow Blind which I'd read at the beginning of lockdown. From hedonistic 1960s summers in Ibiza to Icelandic serial killers, I've definitely got eclectic taste in books.


Tuesday was yet another damp and dismal day. After my Wii Fit session I wrapped up the latest eBay sales, swept the downstairs rugs and threw a load of washing in the machine, hanging it up in the utility room fifteen minutes later. After breakfast Jon did a post office run while I caught up with blog comments.


Anything that involved being outside was out of the question, although The Lads managed an hour before giving up and retiring to their respective chairs for a nap. 


 What's a girl to do when the weather's grim and she can't go outside and play? F*ck it and frock up! 
(Jon took these photos at 3pm when we had half-an-hour of hazy sunshine).


Wearing my Afghan dresses always make me feel on top of the world. 

Click on the photo to enlarge it

If you've visited Sheila's blog today (and if not, why not?) you'll have noticed that we're both wearing the same turquoise pendant. While she bought hers from a vintage fair, mine has always been a part of my life and I was amazed to see another. Both the copper cuff and pendant were coming home gifts given to my Mum by her then-boyfriend, Bob, after he went travelling in 1965. That's them busking in the Scilly Isles in 1964 - Mum's the exotic brunette on the right. Mum ended up marrying Bob's flatmate (my Dad) in 1966, poor old Bob!


There's nothing I love more on a miserable day than switching 6Music on and doing a bit of hand-sewing and with a few of my clothes in need of repair, that's exactly what I did, with a break for noodles in between.


The hem on my lilac Dollyrockers maxi needed a stitch, yesterday's Janet Wood for Monsoon Afghan dress had lost a press stud from the cuff, Friday's Treacy Lowe silk maxi needed a side seam repair and the Phool block printed jacket had a wonky toggle and a pocket in need of attention. Vintage clothes, like old houses, need lots of TLC, just as well I've got plenty of time to lavish on them.

Click on the photo to enlarge it

My friend Beth had asked about the garment adorning my dress form. Here's a few more photos. It's part of a vintage Afghan dress from the nomadic Kuchi tribe, a glorious mix of bead work, mirrored insets, embroidery and patchwork. One of these days I'll turn it into a dress.


Jon had a day of playing around with some music gear and baking spelt bread...the kitchen smells most inviting. 


Talking of which, that's what we had for tea, along with Greek salad, some cocktail veggie spring rolls from the depths of the freezer, pickled cucumber and olives. We even had a beer, too. After such a dreary day we thought we'd earned it.

Stay safe and see you soon!

49 comments:

  1. You do post such lovely photo's Vix. I think you have convinced me that we need to visit Hidcote so it's now on our list for the future.

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    1. Thanks, Cherie! You should definitely look at a trip to The Cotswolds next year, Snowshill Manor was also gorgeous. I think you'd be inspired by the kitchen garden at Hidcote, I loved the cross planting with edibles and ornamentals. x

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  2. Hi there Vix, not so late this time! Ahh the lovely Hidcote. Stunning pics as always. Yes I have noticed that the Autumnal colours this year seem more vivid. Many years ago I was given an Acer tree which I am sure has turned a more beautiful red this year than in any other year (and I have had it sixteen years). I love the fact that both you and Sheila featured your beatiful turquoise pendants today! I thought of you. Boy you two are "artists of life" You certainly got on with your sewing and mending. I think you look absolutley amazing in the Afghan dress! and boy did tea look good tonight. Shazxx

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    1. Hello, Shaz! that was a speedy comment. I do love Hidcote, I was hoping we'd get back for a visit before the end of Autumn and seeing it on gardeners World fuelled my enthusiasm.
      How lucky to have an Acer tree, we were mesmerised by the one we saw on Monday. I bet opening the curtains and looking at yours every morning must lift your spirits.
      Isn't it funny Sheila and I having the same necklace. I'm pretty sure Bob bought Mum's in Canada.
      Tea was delicious, you can't beat freshly baked bread! xxx

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  3. Hello Vix, amazing photos of Hidcote Manor. Nice to spot the Hart’s Tongue ferns by that beautiful stream. They’d be great in a woody, damp corner of your garden. The Haemanthus Albiflos is gorgeous too. The topiary birds are putting my ‘big bay bird’ to shame a little ;) Great photo of your mam with friends on the Scillies …poor Bob indeed but lucky for your dad…and you! Your Kuchi tribe top is incredible, such detail…an absolute work of art. Would it have been worn for a certain occasion do you know? (On a side note, I’ve got a Zulu necklace and apparently there are ‘messages’ in the patterned beadwork). ‘F**k it and frock up!’ – haha, best moto to have on a wardrobe. Lulu x

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    1. Hidcote really is something special. I love how uncultivated and wild it looks when it's anything but. We are hoping to tackle to area around the pond over the winter, it's such a dark area I'm thinking it might just consist of a mass of ferns. We hoping to revisit a gorgeous bog garden next week which may give us a bit more inspiration.
      I love Afghan dresses. I've come across photos of the tribeswomen wearing the more ornate type, like my bodice, just to herd buffalo. They definitely believe in f**king it and frocking up!
      I'm fascinated by the messages in African beads, all the colours have different meanings, too. There used to be a hippy lady at Anjuna market who sold the most incredible African beaded jewellery, I always said I'd treat myself one day. xxx

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  4. Our pendants are identical - mine have the same marks! Mine has a thicker, serpentine-twist chain, but it hits me at the same point. How bizarre!

    Awesome pictures as always! Walking outdoors amongst plants is so restoring. I meant to mention, I have also read "A Man Called Ove" and loved it. There's a excellent movie made from it you might enjoy. Here's another book recommendation for you: "the Shining Girls" by Lauren Beukes.

    Look at your gorgeous mum! Aw. Hugs to you and snuggles to the lads.

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    1. They really are twins. I broke the original chain the pendant was on but found another 1960s copper pendant in a charity shop with the same length pendant chain and swapped it over.
      Jon's reading A Man Called Ove now, he's worried he won't like it after I'd bigged it up so much. I shall look out for The Shining Girls, thank you! I loved The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, another grumpy man of a certain age who you end up wanting to be his friend. xxx

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  5. Thank you for the close up of the afghan dress. So much beautiful details.

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    1. Isn't it gorgeous? I'm hoping to find an old green velvet curtain one day, i think it would be perfect for the skirt. xxx

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  6. Fall colors are pretty much gone so your pictures were a feast for my eyes. I am a fan of Ruth Jones, must be my Welsh ancestry. I did just comment on Sheila's blog that I need more accessories.

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    1. I still can't believe you've got snow!
      Jon's part Welsh, too. Ruth Jones is just fabulous, isn't she?
      I could wear the same dress for weeks as long as i had loads of different earrings and pendants to alter the look. xxx

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  7. Hidcote looks just as lovely as the last lot of photos from there. You and Jon look quite in place in these sorts of gardens, like beautiful people from another era. I like that xx

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    1. Hidcote is beautiful, I can understand why it's so popular. Lovely to see a couple of families with young children visiting, too. Get them interested in the great outdoors before they become obsessed with computer games! xxx

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  8. Jon's spelt bread looks as if it's in the shape of a heart. Perhaps he baked it for you, with his love. :-) I love spelt berries boiled, like brown rice, and used as such. So much more hearty & chewy, which I love, than rice. I love the picture of you hand sewing in the chair, Vix. What a lovely day-trip you & Jon took. Perfectly safe and perfectly within guidelines for the virus. People can still enjoy themselves while staying safe. I wish everyone could see your photos and follow your example. ~Andrea xoxo

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    1. Hi Andrea, I did giggle at the wonky heart shaped loaf!
      You had me intrigued there, I've just had to google spelt berries as I'd never heard of them. I think I need to try them now.
      It does annoy me when people keep bleating on about their "freedoms being taken away" because of the pandemic. Yes, we are living our lives differently but it's still easy to enjoy yourself whilst keeping you & your fellow humans safe.
      xxx

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  9. Autumn my favourite season. I love watching the leaves change colour and the summer plants fade and the winter ones come into a force of their own. Hildcote looked as beautiful as ever, I love red hot pokers, they are one of my favourite flowers.
    We went to one of our favourite parks in Kyoto but they have decided to close it this week for maintenance!! aggh, I wish I had checked before we had left. So me Paul and the kids have been wandering down the old part, it’s a bit of a tourist trap. But we know we’re to go. We cannot go far as his knee is still sore. So I have rented a car. 100 quid a day!! so we are making the most of that!
    I love hand repairing things but I haven’t done it in a while. I know have a yukata that needs the side repairing but that is going to a pro as it is 60 years old and I am scared to damage it.
    That spelt bread looked fab, I used to own a bread maker,but the stuff over here is well shockingly overpriced! Anyway take care and look after yourself and Jon and the cats.
    Off to eat udon now.

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    1. Hello Allie! I loved your first sentence, what a lovely poetic turn of phrase! I love red hot pokers, too. I never had much luck with them in previous gardens but I should could try them here.
      What a shame about those Kyoto gardens being closed for maintenance, inevitable but annoying and about Paul's poor knee. At least you're in a different environment,a change of scene is always good. Goodness me, the price of car hire in Japan, wow!
      If only you were closer I'd mend your yukata for you.
      Have a lovely break! xxx

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  10. Absolutely stunning photographs, Vix, Hidcote is quite something. And a great photograph of your mum in her youth. Like mother like daughter, eh? Both with a penchant for musicians!

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    1. Thank, Catmac! I think Hidcote is my favourite garden, I love it!
      Do you know, I'd never thought of Mum and me having a thing for musicians! My dad was in a band, too! xxx

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  11. Gorgeous photos of Hidcote, it looks wonderful. Also l have been meaning to tell you...have you seen the websites of Dilli Grey and also Naked Generation? They make the most beautiful authentic Indian block print dresses in amazing colours and prints. I have the Hannah dress from Naked Generation and it is stunning. I am just going to order a lined dress for winter from Dilli Grey too. They are a bit pricey but really will last well so worth it, l think.

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    1. Hello Amanda! I'm glad you enjoyed Hidcote.
      What have you done? I've just looked at both the Dilli Grey and Naked Generation websites and I'm in love! They're right up my street. That Hannah dress is a beauty. They're pricey but they are the type of clothes you'd love forever. Normally I'd be looking forward to a splurge in Anokhi but with no chance of India in January I'm seriously tempted with some of those dresses! Thank you so much! xxx

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    2. Oh sorry! I thought they would be right up your street - I'm so glad you like them! I have just ordered a dress from Dilli Grey and I got a discount code for 10% off which was WELCOME10 - it may work for you too. Sad you won't be going to India in January though as I love following your travels and interesting blog posts.

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    3. That's so kind of you to share that code. xxx

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  12. totally understand why you love Hidcote Manor Gardens - if i had enough land and 10 gardeners i would love to have a garden like this...... but we can always take some ideas from this beautiful estate.
    swooning over your afghan dresses - especially over the rich embroidered top piece! (i think you should only do a kind of "under" dress with little sleeves - to fake a whole dress but protect this awesome garment)
    our vintage clothing is a endlos row of little repairs too - it it pays out in more then one facette.....
    seeing your yummy food i´m getting very hungry now!
    xxxxx

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    1. It's my dream garden. I love everything about it, the fact that it doesn't look too cultivated but so much thought has been put into the planting schemes. I could visit every week!
      That's a really good idea about the underdress, it would be a shame to cut it up , it really is a work of art.
      I do love a bit of mending although I've just been in the stockroom and discovered a dress with a broken zip, I don't enjoy replacing them!
      If only you were closer and we were allowed house guests, I'd invite you over for tea. xxx

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  13. Hidcote looks even more beautiful in Autumn, if that's possible.
    New Quay is where Philip's Dad's family is from and where we head to in Wales, maybe you bumped into each other without knowing as children?!
    I love your Afghan dresses and you've made them your own. xxx

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    1. I agree, I think Hidcote was even more beautiful this time.
      Fancy Philip's Dad's family being from New Quay. We used to run wild on the beach, exploring rock pools and making loads of friends. It would be funny if he'd been there at the same time!
      I must have bought my Afghans at the right time, they seem to have quadrupled in price when I look on ebay now! xxx

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  14. Hi Bab, What a wonderful Autumn we are having, and all your photos I will search back through in the depth of winter to cheer me up, Autumn being my favourite season, we watched and enjoyed Autumn Watch last evening. When I looked at the black and white photo I would have known which one was your Mom without you even saying, her style just shines out of her, she looks very classy. I couldn’t live without music, all kinds, in Asda this morning I was dancing along the isles as the music was very Strictly come Dancing, I expected one of those handsome professionals to come along and cha cha cha me to the checkout, in my dreams! A wild and windy day out there, keep warm and well. Brummie Sue Xx.

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    1. Hello Sue! Isn't it stunning when it's not raining? talking of which it's not been a bad day in Walsall, we've only had a light shower although it's blooming cold!
      Mum would have loved to have been called "classy".
      I had to giggle at you bopping around Asda, it makes such a difference when they play decent music in shops! Take care! xxx

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  15. The rain is hammering down as I write, and it was already getting dark when Jos picked me up from work at 4.30, which is of course 3.30 in the UK. Not my favourite part of Autumn! How lucky you were that rain didn't follow you to the Cotswolds, and that you were able to enjoy Autumnal splendour at Hidcote Gardens accompanied by a blue sky and some sunshine! I can't blame you for revisiting, the garden look absolutely stunning.
    Both your outfits are magnificent, as usual, and how amazing that both you and Sheila own the same turquoise pendant. Your Mum looks absolutely fabulous in that photo, and busking in the Scilly Isles in 1964 must have been quite exciting!
    Doing some mending on a miserable day can be such a soul-soothing activity, especially while listening to great music! Loving the sight and sound of Jon's spelt bread and Greek salad! xxx

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    1. Isn't it grim? We've had another day of incessant rain here today, it's so hard to stay motivated when you need all the lights on in the daytime!
      Hidcote is absolutely magical, I'm looking forward to seeing it in the depths of winter (travel restrictions allowing), I bet it would look wonderful even then.
      Isn't it strange that Sheila and I both have the same pendant, my Mum would have loved it! xxx

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  16. What a lovely sunny day out for you, so glad the weather was nicer in the Cotswolds than at home. Amazing coincidence on the jewellery. You've inherited so many cool things from your Mom and Grandmother, taste must run in the family.

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    1. It was stunning! We've noticed that The Cotswolds often has better weather than us despite only being an hour's drive away. We used to trade at a couple of festivals there (when we were still allowed to have a social life!) and it never rained! xxx

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  17. There is a lovely light there at Hidcote on your photos isn't there Vix.A couple of years ago 2 types of fern appeared in my garden and they seem quite happy there.I hope poor Bob wasn't too heartbroken x

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    1. Hello, Flis! It's almost golden, isn't it?
      I love ferns, I'd got a couple in the bathroom that were looking really sick so I planted them in the garden and they seem to be flourishing now.
      Poor Bob, Mum & he were childhood sweethearts until she got bored! xxx

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  18. Hidcote really is beautiful, i love gardens that are lush and full of texture, depth and greenery in autumn. You definitely must make a dress out of that afghan on your dress dummy, it would look spectacular with black. Thanks for sharing your blog links, i am following the ladies you linked, its fun to find new like minded people

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    1. It's wonderful, isn't it? A real feast for the eyes.
      Black would show off all that detail, wouldn't it? I like Beate's idea of sewing an underdress rather than risking damaging all the intricate beadwork.
      I'm happy to hear that you've discovered Lulu and Sheila, they're both fellow cat lovers as well as being fabulous! xxx

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  19. Lovely photos - I am suffering a bit of cabin fever at the moment in our Tier 3 lockdown and should have had two weekends away this month. Hey Ho!
    I am a 1966 baby too so will check out the Ruth Jones programme.
    Stay safe and please keep posting.
    XX

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    1. We're not far behind you, our local news says Walsall will move to tier 3 next week. I'm so glad we managed to get away to Greece when we did, it's going to be a long winter without India to look forward to.
      You'll love Who Do You Think You Are! xxx

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  20. I do love Hidcote, but haven't been for a few years now, your photos really do show the garden off wonderfully. I've been really missing my National Trust properties this year.

    I clicked on the link and disappeared down a rabbit warren looking at your friend Sheila's many, many wearings of her gorgeous black shoes, what a nice way to spend ten minutes :-)

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    1. Hidcote is just lovely, I don't know why we'd not visited until recently, it's so close to us. I do love our National Trust jaunts especially the ones where dogs are allowed, there was a gorgeous little pug at Attingham last week.
      I'm glad you enjoyed your visit to Sheila's blog. She certainly gets her wear out of her amazing shoe collection. xxx

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  21. Thanks for the close-ups of the Kuchi dress top! It reminds me of the wearable fabric art being created by young Native Americans who incorporate bits of traditional beadwork into modern garments (e.g., chest panel of dress into back yoke of jacket).
    That over-the-shoulder photo of Jon walking into an enfilade of hedge doorways is one of your best, Vix. It's the cover for a novel I'd buy in hardcover.

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    1. My pleasure, Beth! You're quite right, the bead work is rather similar to the Native American work I've seen.
      I was quite pleased with how that photo turned out, the sun was blinding me so i just kept pointing my camera and snapping away hoping for the best. xxx

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  22. woww, those gardens are so beautiful, evocative, inspiring and totally a delight for my eyes!. Lovely pics!.
    No wonder that your afghan dresses make you feel on top of the world, they're Fabulousness and you totally rock in them!. And so lovely to know about your copper pendant and so serendipious that Sheila has one too!.
    I'm totally in love with that afghan piece of embroidery and beads!, woww, I'd love to see it becoming a dress!. Such a magnificent thing!
    besos

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  23. Our clocks are going back an hour this weekend, so it will be dark by 5 pm, which is so discouraging. It's been quite cold and very grey here this week, so it was nice to see your Hidcote garden photos.

    You and Sheila are the only people left from the original group of bloggers I have followed for years who are still posting regularly. I don't know how both of you find the time but kudos to you for keeping it up.

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  24. Hidcote is certainly very inviting. I'd love to wander through the door almost obscured by that wall climber. How nice that the sun came out for your visit.
    I can't remember the last time I was in a pub, and I don't have any inclination to go into but wouldn't it be nice to know when it'll be safe do so again?
    xx

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  25. Hidcote Manor Gardens are a sight to behold. Autumn looks amazingly beautiful there. So great you could visit and see them in their autumnal glory. Thanks for sharing these pics so we can enjoy a virtual visit as well. We get an occasional rainy day but on a sunny day it still looks like summer here.
    The red dress you wore is beautiful!

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  26. Hidcote looks glorious! What wonderful plants and space. I wonder if it was near where I was supposed to go last week? WOuldn't; it have been funny if we coincidentally ended up meeting there!?
    The Kuchi top is wonderful- so detailed! I would be scared to wear it! Your dinners always make me happy to see- yum! xx

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Lots of love, Vix