Tuesday 6 September 2011

An English country lunch

The English summer gets a bad press generally speaking - (and I'd have to include myself here, if we're pointing fingers). 

But the English countryside on a summer's day, however rare that might be, is a lovely thing to behold. So when we were invited to rural Dorset for a birthday lunch for a special friend ...

... I could have kicked myself when I realised I'd forgotten to bring my camera and had to rely on my mobile phone to snap the lush late-summer surroundings. 

Though it turns out that iPhone photos are not too bad really ... albeit a bit grainy, and including a few (unintentional) interesting effects that make it look as if I'd gone wild with photo editing ...

The setting was a rural idyll - the 18th century walled kitchen gardens of the Pythouse estate, on the border of Wiltshire and Dorset. 

After champagne in the garden, lunch was waiting on a tented flag-stoned terrace with hanging paper flowers, hand-made by a daughter ...

... at a long white table decorated with sweetpeas and lavender from the garden outside

... a seating plan drawn on a paper roll tacked to the ivy-covered wall ...

There was a warm and funny speech from a caring husband ...

the love of family and friends ...

... and a quintessentially English dessert of strawberries and clotted cream.

English writer and florist Sally Page, who lives in Dorset, is keeping a blog I've just discovered, on a year in the life of this garden. I was interested to find a mention of our lunch party in one of her recent posts, including some photos she took of it, almost identical to mine, over here

This is Thomas Hardy's corner of England, the "partly real, partly dream country" he called Wessex, after the old Anglo-Saxon kingdom it used to be. Every time I travel to Dorset I'm bowled over by its gorgeous, uniquely English charms.

A perfect day, summer's last shout, and apples by iPhone, haha!


  1. Karen, I love this post, and the previous one from Edinburgh. How I've always wished to visit that city during the Fringe...did get there in late November, while roses were still in bloom. I so thank you for your views!

    The party looks pretty wonderful and must have been great fun for everyone who was there. Best wishes! xo

  2. Sunshine and celebration - on the same day! Looks like a grand day out in beautiful surroundings - and captured pretty darned well on your i-phone. Technology I have heard of but know nothing of!

    (Incidentally, the four Glasgow pics on my first post about the BP movie were not taken by my phone - they were from the "still never to be found - lost camera". You probably don't remember commenting but just wanted to put the record straight!

  3. It does look like the perfect summer lunch! So lovely! And you're right, not bad for phone pics (the best camera is always the one you have with you). :)

  4. Love your summer lunch in Dorset , every single detail is lovely

  5. This is a real British Country Lunch, elegant, charming and with style!

    Very lovely and lively images - as usual! Can feel the atmosphere!

    Warmest greetings,

  6. Gorgeous late summer symphony!
    I had to share it on FB, too beautiful not to.
    I hope you don't mind.

  7. These could be stills from the movie, coming soon to your neighborhood theater!
    They make me quite nostalgic for England --
    obviously a fine time was had by all!

  8. Just lovely! What a perfectly English setting...


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