By “The Photographer’s Assistant”
We are going abroad to the RHS garden at Rosemoor. The Photographer would like to attend a lecture on Grasses. The day had begun with rain, but now there was glorious sunshine across the Moor and the rural surroundings matched the mood of an afternoon out. The car sped its way through the delightful surroundings of rural Devon. The harvest was in and every sheep was neat and trim. The little villages were all pretty and sleepy, as they nestled into their Sunday snooze.
We arrive, and surprisingly, there is hardly anyone here. We are able to park near the main building, which is a great achievement in the summer. The air is clear of rain and we are looking forward to a small snack and a cup of tea. We are surprised. There is a enormous queue but we really want a cup of tea, so we join it. We are ushered forward. All is becoming apparent. This is all about Sunday lunch. It is clearly a prized activity.The lunch looks stunning. Plates are piled high with delicious and mountainous quantities of vegetables, and meat. All is topped off with a large Yorkshire pudding. Dessert is three profiteroles with a sticky toffee pudding type sauce. We are mere observers, having just enjoyed what now appears to be a sparse breakfast. The place is full and getting fuller. More people are arriving. There are all types and conditions of mankind. There are some very well behaved children with their own special carrier bags of food. It is just lovely to see families relaxing in this wonderful and seriously horticultural spot. There are the great retired, but we boomers are everywhere you go. There really is every age group, plus the disabled being trundled along with families. On his own, at a smaller table, there is an elderly man with a crutch or two, who has clearly been in the wars. As he eats, you can see quite prominently, on the third finger of his left hand, two wedding rings and we speculate that he has recently lost his wife, of whom he was clearly so very fond. We are sad for a minute or two. He is determined to join in this happy scrum. He has this wonderful two course lunch before him, and a nice half bottle of white wine. He is certainly not alone this Sunday as the children and the cutlery clatter around him.
Our tea and snack consumed, the Photographer and Assistant make their way to the vegetable plots, where they are pleased to see that some of their own produce has done well against the standard. The Photographer is content and in jovial mood, attends his lecture with many new ideas to think about. The twosome have had a happy day and top it off with a choc chip ice cream, which is delicious. They resolve to attend Sunday lunch soon. Everybody likes to escape into such a jolly atmosphere.
Joy of joys, we attend the fete in the next village from our hamlet on the same weekend. One of our neighbours has persuaded us not to miss it. We give ourselves another day off. Only that morning, another neighbour had invited us to coffee in the little town and we had had a lovely time.
We felt really guilty at leaving the garden and the produce for so long, but we set off with the Dog, who was delighted to be having a walk through the local woods. At the earliest opportunity, he allowed himself a paddle in the river, which was now low enough for an elderly dog to enjoy himself. At last, we all arrived at the fete, which was very pretty just like Larkrise to Candleford with its gay bunting and bright, colourful stalls. There was some very cheery steam fair music being played in the background.
The Photographer had no hesitation in making a bee line for the refreshment tent, where we met a few of our neighbours serving up a delicious tea with cake scones and sandwiches. Satiated, the Photographer sallied forth with his camera and took this picture of our lovely tea ladies.
We finished off with a look around a real cottage garden, full of produce and flowers, and headed home in cheerful mood.
In conclusion, even if you don’t go to the beach in Devon, and some people don’t make it that far because of all the distractions, you can have a really nice time just by parking up and enjoying its spirit and warmth at one of these events. If you are not too exhausted, don’t forget breakfast at Hittisleigh Village Hall on every 2nd Saturday of the month…. the best bacon rolls in the West!. In fact, there is almost no need to cater for yourself on the average Devon summer weekend!
There are certainly many reasons to be cheerful!