Tuesday, 17 June 2008

An AB FAB kind of day




This post could have gone one or two ways - it could have been a tale of bad Monday morning blues, grey skies and cat vomit but instead is one of Sunday afternoon grey skies and a trip to the countryside to revisit one of our all time fav places. It was a close call but here was a tale I wanted to share and besides the photos were far prettier!



This weekend M and I both felt in need of cheering up and it being Father's Day M got to choose what we were up to. A visit to Charleston Farmhouse was what he really wanted, we hadn't been for a while and he was having serious withdrawal issues! Readers of this post will know how much we love the work of the Bloomsbury artists and how lucky we are living so close to much of their old stomping ground.



So just a short drive away (and a brief entanglement with the London to Brighton bike ride) we found ourselves at Charleston. M and I use to pootle here in my old 2CV when we first moved down from London and it seems that we were here most Sundays when it was first opened to the public.



What I will always remember is that my 2CV somehow always just made it there before smoke started to come in through the dashboard, how we always came home thoroughly in love with the place and how M just adores the smell of the cow manure that hits you (the smell that is, not the cow poo) the minute you trundle down the little lane into the car park! Unfortunately it is now a smell that we will always associate with the place.



Even after nearly twenty years of visiting this house never loses its magic.



Even the beautiful dove grey paint of the woodwork makes me smile.




From the early days when restoration work was still in process and in evidence until today it has always been much more than a showcase for the work of the Bloomsbury artists, it has been very much a home. You get the feeling on entering that the owners have just slipped out for a walk and rather like Goldilocks you can snoop around this wonderful home undisturbed. What is also wonderful about the place is that the paintings on display always vary, items are donated, things turn up or are loaned and so you are never sure what you might see.



Unfortunately no photography is allowed indoors but if you visit hereand here, you'll be able to see what I'm talking about. No surface has been left unpainted, furniture, doors, tiles all have been painted. Lampshades have been made from wonderful old fabrics, upturned handglazed colanders used as lampshades, handmade crockery, paintings that would make you drool, and the worst thing is that it all looks so deceptively doable!



The garden was planted as an artists" garden.



Forgive the greyness of the photos it was a dreary day, there are masses of wonderful flowers here, hidden corners, areas where you could imagine Duncan Grant or Vanessa Bell sitting with their easels looking out onto the Downs or on their own little patch of beauty.



Terraces where you could imagine Virginia Woolf, Lytton Strachey and E M Forster involved in some heated debate. The pond where the children would spend hours mucking around on rafts







Beautiful statues made by Quentin Bell, perfectly placed



- I wish I could do the place justice!



Not a bad way to celebrate Father's Day eh? A good day, a happy day, you might say a fabulous day.



What made it an Absolutely Fabulous kind of day was a chance encounter with Joanna Lumley - Mr Ragged Roses was a very happy man!

41 comments:

Simone said...

After reading to the end of the post I know what you mean by Ab Fab! The house and gardens look like a lovely place to visit. I love the soft colours in the planting. I have some jolting reds and oranges in the garden at the moment that I am not too fond of except on grey, dreary days!

Lucy @attic24 said...

Oh this is on my list of Must Visit places in england, I read a magazine article a few years back about this house and the Bloomsbury artists etc, oh it looks unspeakably stunning in pictures and I bet even better in real life, yes?- I love how the Bloomsbury colours are soft yet strong at the same time. Ab fab indeed x

Heidi said...

You actually ran into Patsy??? LOL! This place looks amazing. I would love to visit it. I have never heard of the Bloomsbury artists before you talked about them.

Love the last photo. Wouldn't that be fun to have sitting in your garden? This looks like a really fun garden to mull around in. But the house is really beautiful!

Hugs ~
Heidi

Cathy said...

What an amazing place to be able to visit over and over again. It looks like the perfect place to spend a day. I would never want to leave!
Cathy X

Emma Herian said...

Was certainly an Ab Fab day! I do hope M was not so ragged for the lovely Mrs Lumley!
I must go, I shamefully haven't been so now I must!
Take care x
Em

Elizabethd said...

Charleston is somewhere I have always longed to visit, I love the work of the Blooomsbury group. Maybe on a visit to the UK....

Cowboys & Custard said...

Heavenly...
You have done great justice to this idyllic place and have certainly made me hunger for a visit to Charleston..
I just love the brick statue... so unusual but so Bloomsbury!

DXX

periwinkle said...

What lovely photos as always,, looks like a great place
Lisa x

Jessica said...

Beautiful pictures! It looks liek a great place to visit. And that's very cool you ran into "Patsy" - I love that show!

Sal said...

What a fabulous place!
I must put it on the 'to do' list right away!
Gorgeous photos! Sal;-)

French Knots said...

It is indeed a fab place, the pictures look wonderful and it is somewhere that will now go on my 'places to visit one day list'.
I used to have a 2CV, plums and custard, which I loved despite the fact it was always breaking down and I spent more time pushing it than driving it.

silverpebble said...

Such a gorgeous series of photos. I can see why you love the place - that little door in the wall, the flowers...I think the last photo is my favourite.

jo said...

What a lovely post. Will have to visit one day.

Rosie said...

What a wonderful place to visit, the garden looks amazing, looks like it has secret places in it where you could just sit and let the world pass by.

Rosie x

Heidi Ann said...

Kim, Kim, Kim...I have died & gone to Heaven!! This Charleston Farmhouse is simply unbelieveable! The grounds are so magical,...the area looks like something out of the "Secret Garden" or again one of my beloved J.Austin novels! I am an American, who definitely has a British soul!!...I can just imagine the inside of this house!..Thank you once again for sharing your England with us!...Heidi XO P.S. Again I am out of the loop!...Who is Joanna Lumley?...someone I assume very pretty, & famous??

Heidijayhawk said...

you always take us on such an amazing trip. thanks from the US where the history and pictures and sweet words are truly appreciated! ab fab indeed kim.

Pondside said...

Ever since seeing the movie Carrington, I've wanted to see the inside of one of the houses of the Bloomsbury group. I am assembling a very long list of wonderful places to visit when we go the UK, and you have been responsible for some of the entries!

Thimbleanna said...

You're SO funny Kim! Thanks for sparing us the cat puke LOL! What a lovely post. Thanks so much for sharing with us -- I can only dream of visits to such lovely places!

Nonnie said...

Ooh I love Charleston. Too long since I was last there. Your photos capture it perfectly. Glad you had such a lovely day.

Katherines Dream said...

Hi kim, what a lovely house and garden...one for the list of places I will visit this summer! Your pictures a lovely.
Just a very quick glimps back through your blog! it was lovely.
Carol x

Suzie Sews said...

Ab Fab indeed

gillie said...

What a beautiful place. I have to visit. In fact I would like to visit right now, pack up my bags and head to the station. Definitely a trip for the summer.

BeachysCapeCodCupboard said...

Absolutely gorgeous, Kim! Such a grand place! I want to put this onto our (imaginary at this point in time) itinerary! I just love the gardens and statuary, so I can only imagine how beautiful the inside must be.

Tracy said...

What a fascinating place and great outing! I've always wanted to see it...hopefully one day! The gardens look so beautiful, and I'm in love wiht all the staturary! *SIGH* Happy Day ((HUGS))

Wild Rose said...

Hi Kim,

What an inviting garden ~ it just makes me want to wander down those paths and explore.

Marie x

Garden girl said...

what an amazing day sweetie dahling! (sorry-poor impression of Patsy!) The photos are beautiful, and it looks as if you had a beautiful day for it as well.x

mollycupcakes said...

That was a truely magical post Kim.
Fabulous photos, stunning and eye catchingly beautiful.
Thanks for sharing a wonderful day.
Many hugs.

Catherine x

Rowan said...

Your post has made me want to jump in the car and drive down to visit Charleston right now. It's one of those places I'd love to see and have never quite got there. It's the garden that attracts me as much as anything so I really enjoyed your lovely photographs, it looks like one of those dream gardens that has stepped out of another age. Thank you for posting this.

LOUISE said...

Lovely to have a tour around Charleston. I haven't ever visited. Some interesting people went to make up the Bloomsbury Set. x

andsewtosleep said...

Hi Kim
thanks for this lovely post. This is one place I would so love to visit. Your post is the next best thing
Thanks again
Mary

twiggypeasticks said...

What a beautiful spot, glad you had a lovely day. Wonderful photos and much prettier than cat vomit :)
Twiggy x

Rhondi said...

What a beautiful place to visit. I can see why you like to go there often.
Rhondi

Louise said...

How absolutely gorgeous. Those gardens are just divine and what a lovely way to spend the day. Happy Father's Day to Mr Ragged Roses and glad he got an extra little treat on his special day!!

Rosezilla said...

Wow, now that's the kind of place where you can be creative! Thanks for sharing.

Alison Boon said...

It looks like you had a brilliant day out. What a beautiful place it is, even in the grey light. Your photos are lovely.

the homely year said...

Charleston looks so interesting...it has such a fascinating history. I would love to visitit sometime.
Margaret and Noreen

Cassie said...

Your photos are gorgeous. This was my first time visiting your blog, love it! Thanks for the tour.

Nostalgia at the Stone House said...

Thanks for sharing such beautiful photos Kim - the planting in the Charlston garden is perfect - casual, but so well placed and thought out. (Is that a contradiction?) Anyway - I just love it - yes, Ab.fab!
Love Joanna - she's such an elegant lady (when she's not being Patsy, that is!)
Niki x

Wayfaring Wanderer said...

That brick statue is too neat! Lovely photos :)

Clare said...

Hi Kim, I have had so little tiome to visit blogs over the past few months and even less time to leave comments - but I simply had to say a big THANK YOU for this post! I have long had an interest in the 'Bloomsbury Set' - both in their artistic talents and their lifestyle. I have never visited yet it is on my list of places to see. Now that you have posted this I am even keener to visit!

Happy Weekend!

Clare x

mountainear said...

Not sure blue skies were necessary to enhance your photographs - they were super. Gave a lovely insight into the wonderful place. I've never visited but it's now on the list.