At last some quiet time to account for my movements over the past couple of weeks.
We usually take time off work for Howard's birthday at the start of September, but this year I had to work, so we decided instead to have a week off together at the end of the month instead.
There were quite a few events scheduled for the last weekend of September and the first in October, and we planned to get to some of them. On the first Saturday of our break we headed down to Sussex for the Sarah Raven garden open day. The food stalls were very thin on the ground, but Judges Bakery were there, so I bought a substantial sourdough loaf and a moderate stock of brownies for the journey. We then went to look in the garden shop to stock up on seeds in the sale. Sadly my favourite Sarah Raven "specials" (Cosmos Purity & Zinnia Envy) had already sold out, but I found a few useful Autumn sowing vegetable varieties, and a few indulgences, including some deep blue Anenome caen corms, which will look great next Spring against the front wall in a container.
Now, Sarah Raven's style may come over as twee and aspirational, but it's a hard working and practical garden. The small terrace beds cut into the slopes around the main building are very productive and a very wise use of space that would normally end up under hard landscaping. There are inspirational ideas dotted over the rest of the gardens, and the setting is marvellous, with fantastic view in all directions. In fact, it's a wonder any work gets done - I'd be transfixed by the constantly changing scenery.
On leaving the gardens, we stopped off in Heathfield, to satisfy my curiousity about the charity shops in the town. Not the great haul I'd imagine there may have been a few years back, but I found a little necklace and a long handled onion hoe. There was a second hand bookshop that we didn't have time to visit, due to strict parking regulations - that can be explored another time. But the best find of all was the delicatessen. Local cheeses in double figures, delicious pates and much. Worth visiting just for that.
On leaving Heathfield, we headed off towards Middle Farm. Not enough time to look round the open farm, but enough to go in the farm shop to fill the gaps in my Sussex cheese collection and a quick browse round the gift shop. Ashamed to say it, but I bought a couple of tree decs, a good three months before Christmas.
We decided to take a different route back, along the A27, skimming past Brighton and back towards London.