At long last my self isolation ended on Tuesday night. Wednesday rose shimmering with sun and I took to the lounger on the gin terrace for an al fresco breakfast, communing with my outdoor tomatoes and pip the lemon tree whilst Keith sweltered below in the gym. The old place was really looking rather fine in the sunshine.
We had planned a little jolly to Cragside, a National Trust property not far over the border, to mark my release and, as it was just the two of us, Lachlan and Lyra having stayed in Glenelg, Edna the Morgan was sprung from the garage and we roared off (sedately). There’s something very Agatha Christie about travelling in a Morgan and somehow it seemed to fit right in to the Edwardian/Arts and Crafts feel of Cragside. We could have been a complementary exhibit! Joan Hickson would certainly have been in her element pottering on the terrace looking for discarded weapons. I kept an eye out, but did not spot any. Poor Keith was denied tea and cake as there was rather too much to see given the time available (I expect he was having flashbacks to a rather similar trip to Inverewe gardens). The orchard house was a thing of beauty. It is currently being restored and the half that is finished was filled with rather tempting looking peaches, figs, grapes and apricots. Behind the greenhouse, tucked away, there was a tropical paradise garden of ferns and palms with a long lily pool. The house is perched on the hill with rock gardens all around, largely packed with rhododendron and azaleas so in the season these must be spectacular. One for the diary next year I think.
It was a glorious run home in the evening sun over the hills. The stretch between Morpeth and Coldstream has some stunning views. Once home I sneaked in a photoshoot of the Dovecot Labrador puppies before dinner at the Plough. (N.B. there are still two unclaimed, one black and one white – drop me a message if interested). They were ecstatic to get out on the lawn and rolled and tumbled crazily for twenty minutes then fell asleep, one by one, in a plump little huddle. Raymond’s delphiniums (on the right) continue to inspire and I thought compared most favourably with the Cragside ones (on the left). I finally got around to planting the seed he gave me last year yesterday so my fingers are well and truly crossed. If I can just keep the snails away, they would look splendid in the new border.
All in all an excellent day.