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Home thoughts from abroad…

by Julia Aufenast July 17, 2011 2 min read

I’ve been very quiet recently, I know.  It’s because I’ve been away, and then when I returned, was so backed up with orders and admin that I feel I have been struggling to surface.  Oh, and we moved house as well.  Anyway, after a month of freezing and shivering in the UK (10 degrees, raining.  Raining sideways, no sensible clothes/shoes packed for me or the Critter) we are back to the opposite extreme, steamy hot Hong Kong.  But just to give you an idea of my travels, heres a picture of my husband, mum and child, like True Brits, picnicking in the rain.

Actually, my husband is Canadian so shortly after this photo was taken, he said ‘This is depressing, I’m going to the cafe’ and so we traipsed off after him without putting up much of a fight.  My blood has definitely thinned after several years in Hong Kong.  That house in the background is sadly not the family seat; it’s Parham House in Sussex and it has beautiful walled gardens, lovely mixed beds bursting with colour (which the husband nonetheless described as ‘messy’).

It also had a kind of summer house/wendy house built into the garden wall, which the Critter absolutely loved, could hardly get her out of it. Apparently, every summer, the lady of the house organises a barbeque for her children and they stay there overnight and tell each other ghost stories.

We also went to a place called Mottisfont Abbey , famous for its collection of old shrub roses, left the husband at home for that one, good thing as it turned out as the higgledy-piggledy planting and trusses of heavy-headed blooms shedding their scent into the summer air may have caused him to have a conniption fit.  He’d have been in there with his long-handled pruners, back-hoe and graph paper.

They also had, to my great happiness, my favourite rose of all time:

This is called ‘Mme Pierre Oger’ and is an old fashioned Bourbon Rose.  It’s got terrible resilience to disease and is horribly prone to black-spot but it is such a delicate colour; those pearly white petals blushed with pink.  It’s got that beautiful globular shape as well, the petals furling tightly around each other, and best of all, the scent is sweet and intoxicating.

We also had a visit to London (picture of me with the Critter and my niece), went crabbing and had some fun making sand-castles in the dunes (the observant viewer will notice that it has by now stopped raining – this merely reflects the fact that this was our last week in Blighty, so obviously the sun came out and apparently shone for a good couple of weeks after we left…!)

Right, that’s it for now, before you all think this has turned into a gardening blog.  Next time it will be something gemstone/jewellery related, I promise!

Julia Aufenast
Julia Aufenast


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