Tourists in our own patch
Occasionally, we find a good reason to take a day off and explore somewhere new. It doesn’t have to be far away and though we didn’t venture more than an hour and a half from home, we delighted in a bit of discovery.
Actually, Shepton Mallet wasn’t new to us at all. We’d even been to this complex of buildings previously to visit the Mulberry Outlet here, but since we were last here all kinds of developments have taken place and it was worth a couple of hours on a Sunday morning.
To begin with, we headed for the cafe, to work out what was where. I knew there were gardens here and I knew there were some shops, but that was it.
We made a start in the shops, some of which were full of an eclectic mix of bits and pieces, including these plaited rope baskets. Gorgeous colours, eh?
There were designer clothes outlets, a Paul Smith sale and familiar names like LK Bennett and Orla Kiely, but what caught my eye was a basket of remaindered Daylesford products. Dishwasher rinse aid, anyone?
We’d no need of anything there and looking at the sun trying to come out, we took a chance and headed for the garden, hoping the downpour wouldn’t happen when we were furthest from shelter. The gardens at Kilver Court lay beneath the towering pillars of a railway viaduct and the water from the millpond gives a peaceful feel to an otherwise industrial setting.
We followed the pathway around the pond, stopping to take a closer look at the Dovecote, where there were examples of weddings and other events which had taken place there.
Not a bad backdrop, eh?
A little further along I picked up a little treasure.
I loved that shape, vaguely indian in feel, the pattern and the texture! What a little gem. I couldn’t resist gathering a handful of them to bring home.
Lovely place. How glad we were that we’d come. Oh, and no, I didn’t buy a handbag
Feeling hungry, we decided to head for Bruton, Somerset. We’d driven through the town on our way back from somewhere last year and I’d earmarked it as somewhere worth exploring further. I had since read of The Chapel and had it in mind when we were talking about finding a spot of lunch.
Oh. My. Goodness.
All I can say is that it’s a good job it’s not closer to home or we could have a serious problem there. Delightful people, great food and oh so stylish, too.
As we returned to our car, parked on the bridge over the river Brue, we spotted the sign to Hauser and Wirth, the “other” thing I’d remembered about Bruton (though I knew nothing more than the fact it’s an art gallery).
It being Sunday afternoon, it was ever so slightly busy. Who knew there were so many art fans in this part of the world? (The Telegraph did it seems)
Sadly, no photographs allowed of the exhibition: Jenny Holzer’s Softer Targets, though I might not have taken many anyway as I found it somewhat disturbing. Where I would have taken oodles of photographs was the Oudolf Field, but excepting these amazing Michaelmas Daisies, I took none, unsure of where the “gallery” ended and the “garden” began.
Please, follow that link to the website and see why I was totally captivated by the planting. I’m not a gardener – neither of us are really – but we know what we like! If I listed a few places where I’ve stood and admired, it would certainly include the Lurie garden by Grant Park in Chicago, the Highline in New York and this one….and guess what? They are all designed by Piet Oudolf! How satisfying is that? Clearly, I am (we are) consistent in our taste for such planting and maybe, just maybe, it’s something to consider for our own patch?
(good grief, I can’t believe I’m even thinking about gardening!!)
Well, before we got too excited, we decided to head for the main goal of the day; to The Pig near Bath, where Mary, Diana and a group of American travelling companions were arriving shortly. We’d arranged to join them all for dinner and so settled ourselves in the drawing room with a couple of pots of tea and the Sunday papers.
Dinner, in the private dining room was spectacular! Not only had the staff realised that this group were focused on books and fiction and strewn the table with appropriately interesting titles, they had lit the room by candlelight and created such a lovely, comforting atmosphere none of us wanted to leave.
But who couldn’t love such delicious food, so beautifully served in such glorious surroundings?