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!