The Easter weekend was a lovely long break. We had invited the girls and their husbands/partners/children for a morning brunch on the Saturday, as church was the order of the day on Sunday, and we had a long standing engagement with Celia and Mottisfont Abbey on the Monday.
Good Friday was spent generally getting the house in order, and preparing things for Easter. The tree was brought down from the loft and decorated.
We felt that a few more eggs were needed, and decided to take a trip down memory lane and decorate some eggs ourselves. Oh, how I remember those school days when we would tap away at each end of a raw egg shell until two tiny holes were made, and then one tentatively fixes mouth to hole and blows the contents out. There is a certain smell that goes with raw egg, and never nice.
But we blew out four, and had a fun filled afternoon listening to Classic FM, drinking tea, and decorating our eggs.
Our two best efforts were these. Amanda's is above, and mine below.
Saturday came, and things were laid out for the brunch.
Claire had brought over a fabulous Simnel cake. They are incredibly hard to get hold of around here, and we only found two outlets before. Safeway's, always quality food, but theirs was plain and ridiculously expensive for a cake. The other outlet was a farm shop in the middle of nowhere, and to be quite frank, the cake was just a dry fruit cake with marzipan balls stuck on top, and ten at that!
Claire is the cake baker in the family, and just as with last year, hers was delish, and had a sweet layer of marzipan through the middle as well! Needless to say it didn't last long at all.
There was a homemade fruit cocktail, hot cross buns, rustic bread, cheeses and jams. Ella and Josh, like the rest of us, tucked in until they were full, and then I took the kids out into the garden for the chocolate Easter egg hunt.
Monday was cold, very cold, and we decided to give the gardens at Mottisfont a miss, and instead just take a look around the house itself.
An odd sort of place, with the interior appearing to be covered walls, floors and ceilings in what felt like a theatrical facade. The cellarium below was the only part that resembled what one might think of as an abbey, but I suppose they come in all shapes and sizes, and styles.
It was nonetheless a fascinating building both inside and out. Amanda found a beautiful mosaic, hidden in a small alcove.
The interior has been kept pretty much as it was when lived in by the owner, Maud Russell, a society hostess who led rather a racy life.
The gardens shall wait until it warms up a little. We are members of the National Trust, and so have free entry as much as we want to any of their places.
As far as the working week has gone, it's been a complicated and frustrating stinker.
While parked up on the road outside a property, my van was finally targeted by members of the gangs that go around robbing us gardeners of our tools. Last year saw a huge amount of activity in this area, with gardeners spreading the word quickly should they have something happen to them, so that the rest of us could take what precautions were possible. Only ever after the small petrol powered tools, they scout the area in vans, looking for our vehicles on the road, or even drive into the properties we are working on and rob you while you are working a few yards away.
On this occasion, with it being just after the bank holiday, and all manner of work to catch up with, I was carrying a full set of stuff, as they will have known. No fancy lock picking here. They window was simply smashed, the rear accessed, and as usual they are gone in less than a minute.
A knapsack blower, small hand blower, hedge trimmer, long reach trimmer, and a strimmer......£2400 worth! Luckily I keep a cash reserve to cover replacements until the insurance pay up eh?
And now I have man flu, so my Sunday is being spent doing this before I fall asleep. I thought that before I wrote myself off for the day, I would top up the bird feeders. Among others, we have two hanging from the Acacia tree on cords that need to be untied so that the relevent feeder can be dropped for feeding. Unfortunately, ending up feeling like the bad guy in 'Home Alone', I undid the wrong cord and while looking up at my chosen feeder, the other one dropped and caught me smack bang on the bridge of my nose. Now I feel really sorry for myself and so time for the sofa, hot sweet tea and an old movie I think.
Here's to a better week ahead.