The bank holiday weekend found us driving to deepest Dorset, with a slight detour over the border to North Devon for a delicious lunch at the River Cottage canteen in Axminster.
Contrary to weather forecasts and bank holiday tradition alike, it was a beautiful weekend; with puffs of cloud scudding across blue skies while the sun shone down. Bluebells, cowslips, wild garlic and primroses lined the country lanes and hedgerows, while the trees were finally beginning to unfurl their fresh new leaves and the vivid green fields were almost too bright to look at for long.
We drove through the rolling countryside to the coast, where we walked along the quiet beach at Shell Bay, watching a hot air balloon drifting over Poole on the opposite shore, the ferry shuttling across to Sandbanks, and smaller boats bustling along the water.
The garden of our hotel was a delight, gently overspilling with a mixture of shrubs and herbaceous perennials swelling in the sun; while blossom, green alkanet, forget-me-nots and tulips provided splashes of colour.
Dorset is deservedly proud of its local produce, and throughout our stay we enjoyed a wonderful range of local food, skilfully prepared and beautifully presented.
We arrived back to find our own garden had raced ahead in the spring sunshine; new tulips open, aquilegias beginning to open flowers on lofty stems above the last daffodils, while the lawn had also shot up again and was demanding a cut.
After just a couple of days away, we have a lot of catching up to do in the garden; this weekend will mostly find us sowing seeds and planting out seedlings – hoping to find some respite from the plummeting temperatures, blustery winds and showers that the later half of this week has seen.