Wednesday, 13 September 2017

In Which I Buy A Strangely Curved Squash, And Then My Day Goes Pear Shaped...

Yesterday was to be a day of relaxation - we got up slowly, enjoyed a Full English [thanks Bob] and filled our travel mugs with coffee. We set off for Kingston Lacy. It was looking glorious in the autumn sunshine.
We meandered round the grounds, and looked in the little Potting Shed Bookshop. The flowers were still vibrant and colourful, although the dahlias were beginning to shed their petals. There were butterflies and bees flying everywhere.
We talked about the plants as if we were experts on gardening. I took lots of pictures on his old Motorola phone [my phone recently got drowned in a water spill, and was resting in a bed of rice at home]  And we invented a game called "National Trust Bingo". This would involve scoring points if you spotted any of the following whilst you were visiting NT properties

  • North Face or Berghaus jackets
  • Genuine Tilley Hats
  • Timberland Boots
  • Joules or Seasalt Raincoats
  • Hunter Wellies
  • Anything Boden...etc etc
...we were having a lot of fun with this. Bob remembered that in our childhood, this game was often called "Housey Housey", and if you got a line, you shouted "House!" so maybe in this version the winner would call out "Stately Home!"  We walked to the furthest side of the property, to the Kitchen Garden. 
This fell into neglect after WW2, then some of the land was leased out to a Bonsai Company. Now it is all being restored. One area has been set aside to provide Community Allotments [which are well tended and thriving] and there are plans to rebuild the Vinery [KL had a reputation for its amazing exotic fruit and veg, second only to Kew - Queen Victoria even sent her gardeners down to learn the tricks of the trade] Nowadays the glorious purple brassicas, rainbow chard and other produce are sent to the restaurant - but spares are sold to visitors. 

Look at my amazing Trombocino Squash - nearly a foot long. We sat under an arbour and enjoyed our coffee, then began the long walk back to the car, stopping briefly to go into the shop and to visit the loos.
As we were driving away from our parking space, Bob pointed out an interesting motorised caravan - which had a little Smart Car attached to its towing hook. Now this is where things started to go a bit pear-shaped. 
"Stop the car, I need to take a picture! It's a Hymer!"  Bob duly pulled into the side and asked for an explanation. Hadn't he seen Matthew's pictures on facebook? Matthew takes pictures of Hymers [Matthew takes pictures of all sorts of very interesting vehicles and puts them in his fb page]  "I must take a picture for him"
But where was my camera? It wasn't in my bag, or on the floor of the car, or in my best Seasalt jacket pocket. It wasn't in Bob's bag, or in the boot...
I went back to the entrance, and showed my NT card, and said I needed to go back in again to search for my camera. The staff were incredibly sympathetic. 
Not in the loos, nor the shop - Bob tried, unsuccessfully, to track the phone using his mobile. No signal. We asked a gardener by the Main House- who kindly radioed through to the Kitchen Garden. No phone handed in yet- but they would keep an eye out for it.
I hunted from the car park [bottom right of map] to the Kitchen Garden [top left] It took ages, and I felt I was running a half marathon!

The last photo I had taken was these grapes growing on the allotments.
Finally I got back to the entrance. I went inside and said "I couldn't find my phone, but the gardeners said to call later just in case" - and then the other staff member came inside and said "It was handed in 5 minutes after you reported it to us - someone picked it up in the car park"
So a huge thank you to the kind NT staff, and the anonymous visitor who handed it in. I was able to photograph the Hymer after all. The couple inside were very friendly. 
By now it was 1.30 and we both felt hungry. We stopped off in Wimborne and grabbed a bite in Wetherspoons. 
As Steph had encountered David Cameron this morning [he was jogging along the towpath by the canal in Manchester] we drank "Tory Tango" with our meal
[I understand from Liz that this is the popular nickname for Sam Pellegrino]
And we came home - I checked out Matthew's Facebook page. After all that, I had remembered it wrongly. The vehicles he was posting were not Hymer but Hymek - and they are trains not road vehicles!
But as I pointed out to Bob, if I'd not stopped to take that final photo, we'd have gone home and I would not have realised the phone was missing till much later on...
It is never dull round here.


  1. What a day! So glad you found the phone. I went to KL many years ago and loved it.

    1. It is so beautiful - I know you'd love to see the way they are restoring the gardens. I could have done with your expert eye to identify the flowers as we walked around!

  2. What a fun AND eventful day! I want to play NT bingo also! So glad the phone turned up! That squash is brilliant!! I really do like squashes!
    I've not heard that moniker for a San Pellegrino! Funny!
    Nice picture of you!

    We had a loss like that on Boxing Day a few years ago- CBC and I walked 5miles round Lullingstone castle grounds and got back to the car and discovered the car keys had fallen out of his pocket. He walked the entire walk again but never did find them....x

    1. Losing keys is REALLY distressing, especially when you do not have a spare set to hand!

    2. Esp as we were in Kent and the spares were in Essex! It was Boxing Day too so he couldn't jump on a train to go home.

  3. Really posh people would shout, "Hice!" to rhyme with "ice" or "Historic Hice!". "Stately Home" is wot us plebs say.

    1. That is a very good point. I can see we are going to have to work hard on pronunciation and accuracy before we actually market this product!


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