So, after many days, probably more like weeks, of preparation we opened le Jardin Insolite for tea, Mark's marvellous cakes, music, and celebration of all things floral and fauna of which there is an vast abundance within the boundaries of the garden. Having not completed a year of living here yet, each day reveals new plants which Anna, the previous owner and botanical super enthusiast had introduced over the years.
Thanks to our local Emmaüs we had managed to find enough old chairs and tables needing a loving home to provide the seating and a random pot of blue paint from the same establishment started off a vague blue theme which was then carried on into seat cushions, table cloths, etc. I've always loved miss-matched crockery and this was a perfect excuse to spend time mooching around all the local charity shops and re-house many, many, tea time accoutrements.
As if requested the weather was perfect: blue sky, hot but with a breeze. Swallows and house martins swooped and dived into the outbuildings, river frogs chorused, and the odd train passed - Sunday hours so not too often. Our resident and intermittently vocal dogs next door were silent for the afternoon - our neighbours had taken my plea for tranquility seriously and not so much as a whimper was to be heard from over the hedge.
Mark excelled himself and made, starting at four in the morning (insomniacs? us?), citrus cheesecake, shortbread, chocolate cake, rich fruit cake and a mysterious gluten-free gateau which was also delicious. He hopped into piano mode and regaled us with a laid back jazz set, interspersed with me singing a few songs from our jazz duo set and the odd dog disagreement between our usually silent greyhounds.
Our friend Jean-Paul, local grower of organic veg par excellence set up a stall of his produce under the lime tree along with part of our red and gold Gamelan, (Mark was going to assemble the whole thing but the effort of doing so in the afternoon heat had suddenly seemed an effort too far . . .) If we do another similar event I'd like to invite other local producers to join in, maybe some crafts, basket makers, pottery, anyway, many ideas surfacing . . . and many other things to catch up on.
Special thanks to our lovely friends Mike and Tracey at Les Peupliers, and Béa, who helped in so many ways and dramatically reduced any lurking panic inherent with any new project.