My last week at Old Park Hall was a busy one! Not only did we have the usual cleaning, turning over rooms, lighting fires, making dinner, and general upkeep, we also had family guests and I had a huge sewing project! I spent three days sewing blackout floor to ceiling curtains for the great windows of the Oriel Room. I took over the dining room, and went to sleep around 5am for two days. Tea and music kept me going, but they turned out just right!
Although the weather was still a bit chilly, we had a some days of sunshine, and spring was taking hold. The lambs were frolicking in the fields, the flowers were out, and April showers were in full force. Daisy’s grandfather, Roger was over from Canada for a visit, and company brought a lovely change to our hustle bustle. He is a marvelous cook, and we had some good English classics while he was around. I was particularly fond of the lamb kidneys he made for lunch, he also made us a tasty kedgeree, and a roast joint of lamb. Scrumptious!
Of course, all of that wonderful food meant going out shopping, and food shopping is one of my favorite things! Complete Meats, the award winning butcher in Axminster provided us with the kidneys, the roasting joint, and some gammon ham. Millers Farm Shop provided the rest. It’s a magical place, and since I only travel with a carry-on, I had to resign myself to leaving with only a cotton shopping bag with “Millers Farm Shop” neatly printed on it. Finally, we had to stop into a sewing shop, so I could get thread. The little room was completely overflowing! It was something out of a sketch comedy, with Daisy and I overwhelmed by the mess, and Roger puttering around looking for a way to hem his trousers. We finally convinced him that a tailor, and not fabric glue, was the best option.
My last few evenings with the family were really special to me. Daisy and Roger convinced me to join them in playing Scrabble. Rupert, Liz, Roger, and I talked politics and drank wine. Dogs were snuggled, fires were lit, and friends were made.
On my final day, I gathered my things, and Daisy packed Roger and I off on the train. I rode with him a ways, and he talked about his life, and he’s a sharp-witted, well-educated, traveled, vibrant 93-year-old, so stories and insights like his are no small gift. I have a LOT of living to do.
Anyway, I cannot wait to return and see my friends once again. Many thanks to Daisy, James, Julie, Rupert, Tamlyn, Liz, Roger, the dogs Louis and Max, and so many more at OPH.