Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Do you believe in magic?

On the longest day, we returned to the fairy woods.
We scuttled around, children shrieking as they opened the doors at the foot of tree trunks to find little things for little people.
Since our last visit a couple of years ago, a few of the doors are in need of a bit of tender, loving care.

But there are new additions springing up all the time in the enchanted forest, which is a ten-minute drive from Lush Places.

We even saw a fairy homestead complete with swings, slide and a tea set.
It was called Fairytopia.
You just have to believe.
And, having had this picture on the wall of the bedroom I shared with my sister, I can tell you I do.
It's called Do You Believe in Fairies and it's by Margaret W Tarrant.

Our magical day began in our own enchanted village with a walk up towards Bluebell Hill.
And then, my Midsummer's Eve grandchild and I called in at Bridport on a friend who was launching a children's book written by her late daughter, a folk singer, artist and good person, who died tragically about this time of year in 1994.
The books sold out.

After our walk around the woods and the children snuggled down to bed, Mr Grigg and I took turns to slip in to the pub for the open mic night.
And then the longest day ended with this sunset captured on camera from the pub doorway.
Longest day?

Perfect day.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Friday, 20 June 2014

Oh what a beautiful morning

A squashed adder, flat, like a toy shop snake, lies in the road, its curving wiggle preserved for all time, or at least until natural decay and car tyres wear it away completely.

There are horse flies bothering the horses and humans. Mares stand under the shade of leafy trees, tails swishing.

My friend's dog, Martha, sniffs and trots through the fields, heading for Bluebell Hill.
In Dorset, we're having a heatwave. In the Ionian islands, there's been sun and rain and twisters.
One hundred people speak silently over telegraph wires. Vapour trails glide listlessly through the morning sky in dreamy white lines.

Sheep graze, the sun glowing on their backs.
And then a lost lamb calls to its mother. From the other side of the hedge, Mother answers: where are you, little one?

And in a clear, Greek-flag blue sky, a solitary, wispy cloud, like a washed-out tide mark, stops for a while to take in the view.

It's the Pastoral Symphony without the music.

And then we shut the gate, brush past the ground elder which is beautiful in the right context and head up through the village. In the distance, the church clock strikes eight. Oh what a beautiful morning.
Mrs Bancroft is up early doing a morning shop in Bridport and Champagne-Charlie is getting out his mower.

There are children in secondary school uniform walking down to the bus and, up on the village green, I can see the legs of primary school children swinging to and fro. There is a mild argument going on.

'This is boring,' says one boy, about to head on.

'Well,' a rather confident little girl says, 'you'll be waiting outside the school gate for fifteen minutes. Where would you rather be, in a park or at a gate?'

My thoughts entirely. The Force is strong with this one.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Monday, 16 June 2014

Slow down, you move too fast

Back in The Shire, the weather has been Corfu-like in its warmth and sunshine.

West Bay - known to millions of television viewers as Broadchurch - is sparkling, with people chilling out, enjoying picnics and barbecues on the beach and the kiosks doing a roaring trade.

There are plenty of boats in the harbour and skippers pottering around in slow motion.
There's not much mackerel about - yet. But give it time, they'll be back.
From the sea, the sandstone cliffs look more beautiful than ever. Just don't stand on the edge or underneath them.
Inland, the young men who work for agricultural contractors are roaring through the narrow lanes of Lush Places at breakneck speed on tractors towing machinery the size of the Channel Islands.

Time is money, so they try to do it as quickly as possible.

I'm a farmer's daughter. I appreciate work needs to be done. I live in the countryside and farming life goes on, just as it should do. But these contractors are something else. It's not the local farmers' fault but it gives them a bad name by association.

As the crops stand by unfazed, these huge vehicles tear around as if they were late for a World Cup match.
(This is one of the slow ones. The bigger, wider ones went too quickly for me to capture on video.)

In the grand scheme of things, it's hardly the worst thing in the world. Terminal illness, war in the Middle East and the abuse of vulnerable people are rather more pressing.

Still, it's annoying when these leviathans on great big wheels refuse to slow down, charge around corners and hurl foul-mouthed abuse at women in wheelchairs who are in their way, which is what happened last week.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if someone doesn't put out a stinger before too long. Especially if they run over one of my cats.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Monday, 9 June 2014

Back home in The Enchanted Village

Back in the Shire, the verdant green foliage and hedgerows waved hello as we drew into Dorset.

We arrived in Lush Places to find for sale and to let signs plastered all across the front of our house.

I think our friends and neighbours were trying to tell us something.

A week and two days on and it's like we've never been away.

There was Mr Grigg barking orders in the village hall kitchen as a team beavered away to serve up one hundred and twenty breakfasts at the start of the Lush Places fun weekend.

There were scarecrows on show all around the village (naturally, we chose Odysseus tied to the mast), cream teas in the old people's home, a barn dance that took me back to the days of learning country dancing at primary school, a church service for Pentecost in which the vicar used a bottle of bubble mixture as a prop (I can't imagine our priest in Agios Magikades doing that) and then the annual parade of shields bearing the names of village organisations, led by a bagpiper and the fire brigade's Land Rover around the one-way system.
It's as eccentric as our Greek village.  But, as the wandering Odysseus might say, it's good to be back.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Batten down those hatches, it's recycling day

It's blowing a hooley out there.  The wind is lashing against the windows and the dogs are play fighting in front of the Aga before...