I'm back. Phew, it was a hectic few days, but great fun as ever. It was lovely to see pregnant Sam looking so well in spite of the remains of a nasty cold and Jack, happy as always, also with the remains of the cold, mostly now it's a cough. I hope I haven't caught it.
I arrived late Friday evening and Jason picked me up in his super Merc. Usually Sam does the honours, but she was tired so J came. We had a good chat about his business and what he might do to give himself more time with his customers and less time doing admin. It seems like a good move to me as he's wearing himself out, is overweight and not spending enough time with Jack and with a little girl on the way, he needs to make more leisure time or he'll be in hospital soon. We watched some tv and I had some crumpets. They were delicious. It wasn't long before we were in bed and I read some more of Sue Guiney's book, 'Tangled Roots'. I'm really enjoying it.
Saturday was an early start. Jason had paid for Sam and I to go on a flower arranging course in the morning as a mothers day treat. The lady running the course is also the 'music lady' at Jack's nursery and lives in a stunning country cottage with a beautiful garden. Here is the front of the cottage:
Talk about chocolate box
The course was in 'The Granary', a little building beside the main cottage with a large room, kitchen and loos. All beautifully done out:
Sam outside The Granary
We had been given excellent instructions on how to find the cottage, the route took us down many remote country lanes. As we drove along one, we saw the most enormous bird, which had another probably in its beak, but that flew away. It looked for all the world like an eagle. The wing tips were like fingers and we saw a flash of reddish brown. When we got home, we told Jason about it and he looked on the Internet. Sure enough, there has been a programme of releasing 'Kites' along the A14 corridor. So it was a kite and huge. What excitement.
We arrived to hot tea and coffee, warm croissants with home made marmalade and chocolate biscuits. My kind of place. Francine is lovely, very friendly and very fast at demonstrating the arrangements she did. They were all spring like and fairly simple, something we felt we could all achieve afterwards. A break for more tea and coffee, scones and hot cheese straws and a wander around the glorious gardens if we liked. Oh, we liked! Sam and I explored every corner and I took many photos of course. There is a large natural pond, a long pergola, lots of grass and lovely bits of seating areas with interesting old materials used. A house I could move into tomorrow, if I won the lottery - which I don't do - so that isn't going to happen.
A twisted hazel by a bird bath. There are several ducks and an old female goose who waddles around with the ducks.
A super rusting butterfly
This bird bath is my absolute favourite
The long pergola and sundial
The back of the cottage
Beautiful daffodils, the butterfly in the centre and a tree house at the back
The shed door with a wreath of feathers
Sam blooming at the back of the cottage
I have more but think that's enough for now. Inside, we continued watching Francine's enviable skills. This arrangement was lovely and the container really set it off to perfection:
Pretty pink roses in the centre, moss, then pink hyacinths around the outside.
Francine making the first 2 arrangement, both the same
A simple spring/Easter arrangement with wooden eggs hanging from the central branches
This was an Easter ring, then the tied bunch of daffodils were placed inside. You could use a candle or any number of things instead.
We ended by each making a tied bunch of flowers, wrapped in cellophane which was then filled with water.
The class of March 21st 2009 with teacher in the centre. The little girl made the tied bunch for her mother as a surprise. Bless.
Doesn't she look angelic?
What a lovely shot of this pretty lady
All in all we had a fabulous time. There were only 6 of us, so it was a small and friendly group. We took our flowers home and Jack said we were the best flower makers of all!
This took us to lunch time! In the afternoon, Jack had a birthday party in a local village hall, so it was home to fetch Jack and soon we were off again. We were a little bit early so fed the ducks and huge fish in the village pond:
Isn't this fun?
Something made him laugh!
Some of the big fish. You felt they could have walked out of the water and picked up the bread!
We passed a bus shelter with this coronation bench inside. It was a bit shadowy.
A pheasant made by the thatcher when he'd finished this splendid thatched roof
This heron was on the very far side of the pond. He had caught something, it looked like a large gold fish or koi.
Then it was off to the party. It was a small village hall, packed with children and adults. At the far end was a bouncy castle which the children loved. There were lots of ride on toys too, Jack particularly liked this car:
Feeding time at the zoo! Jack is lit up by the sun at the far end, concentrating on his food. He was the only child who ate his grapes!
Jack shared his biscuits with Mummy
Towards the end of the party, there were 2 odd looking birds hung from the ceiling. The children had to take turns hitting theirs with a stick. It was boys v girls. The birds were supposed to break. There was some serious bashing going on but it took the larger children to eventually break into the birds. It was full of sweets and little toys. What fun. I managed to scoop up one or two for Jason.
Jack preparing himself
The bird gave up the unequal struggle
I loved these parents' faces as they watched the carnage
The party finished at 5pm, by which time we were all exhausted. Home it was and we had a take away for dinner. We watched some tv and were in bed fairly early as tomorrow it's a car boot sale, so up early again..
I think I'll leave the rest until tomorrow. I had to be up at 5am this morning to take Jim to the airport. He's away until Saturday night. I'm falling asleep now so will go out into the garden to wake myself up.