Tuesday 21st June
It is necessary that I cut this blabber short as the diary is falling behind. We stayed three nights with Mark and Anne and their baby Jack. Tuesday was rise and shine at 5:30am as we were off north to the RHS Wisley trial grounds and gardens, near London
. The delphinium trials at Wisley are a feature and many of the "Delphinium Society" "who's who" attend. So did we, and met lots of people with whom we had only corresponded in the past. Alan, at seventy, nine typified the demographic of the group and accompanied us north in Mark's (by far the youngest) car. Alan, an ex merchant seaman purser, was great fun and a thoroughly likeable fellow, as were most. We learned quite a lot, not the least of which was that our delph are great. Back home to Romsey, bbq and bed.
Wednesday 22nd June
This day was spent sloping off. Janice, Anne's Mum and Anne shopped for quilt material while Mark, Jack and I shopped for blokey stuff - like ice moulds for Jack. We caught up on e-mail but couldn't upload the diary (technology rules ok!) visited a lovely garden and saw the plot that M and H are hatching. They have bought an old house on a quarter acre section (plot) and intend to knock the house down and build a real one. Mark has lots of energy. So does Anne. Jack has twice as much as both of them put together.
Thursday 23rd June
It is hard to leave Mark, Anne and Jack but we have appointments to keep
. Today is very much business and we finish satisfied that good progress was made with a couple of new clients who may be the key to the garden centre delphinium plant market in the UK. We drive to Chertsey, near London and find a great camping ground at the first attempt. On our way we also found a great pub meal. The first so far that was anything like the price of NZ food. You can usually substitute pounds for dollars, one for one, but this meal converted to NZ currency that was cheaper than the Rutland...and tasted pretty good too.
Friday 24th June
Another good nights sleep and we are ready to find a "Star Bucks" for coffee, second breakfast and a WiFi connection so we can upload this rant, then off to a quilt exhibition and Sandown Racecouse - and maybe to Hampton Court too.
"Longleat". A well appointed residence with very royal connections now famous for its Lion Safari park, previously famous for its huge maze, previously famous for its Capability Brown designed grounds, previously famous as the family home of the Duke of Bath, which it still is. The gardens are lavish and as flamboyant as the current Duke. The interior of the house suggests "flamboyant" is a family trait. The Dukes and Duchesses of England certainly knew how to live and we certainly needed a good night's sleep which we got on Monday night at the home of our friends, Mark and Anne Lyman at Romsey, near Southampton.