Thursday, 11 August 2011

Fruit and Flowers, Tea and Showers

Today was a day I have both been looking forward to and dreading in equal measures. Looking forward to it because it is our fourth wedding anniversary (how in the world did that happen?! It feels just like yesterday!) but dreading because it is the 11th August, and for the past eleven weeks I have not been able to see past August 9th, my last contracted day of work. To me, August 9th was a big roadblock and there was no August 10th. August 9th was when the world ended! Needless to say I woke up and it was August 10th, and as they say, life goes on...

This morning was a much happier morning to wake up to. After an early oops moment from Carl when he asked if he could work late tonight, not realising it was tonight, I was really looking forward to it. We buy each other low key but thoughtful gifts for our anniversary, and our activites for the day are always built around sharing time together.

4 years is the fruit and flowers anniversary, and we decided we would buy a joint membership to either the RHS or National Trust or similar (on the basis there are flowers in the gardens of those properties!) and get each other a small token gift too. Carl bought me the most heavenly bunch of long stemmed red roses and grape hyacinths which really took my breath away. I bought him a blueberry scented bath bomb from Lush, some grapefruit scented tooth tabs (also from lush) for the 'fruit' part of my gift, and a bottle of organic locally produced beer for the second part (beer is made from hop flowers!).

Originally we planned to sit in a park with a picnic today, but alas the weather forecast was correct and it was a drizzly day. We started off by visiting one of my favourite places, the Secret Garden Tea Rooms ( where we drank coffee and ate bacon rolls with the drizzle tapping against the windows and damp chickens taking shelter! It is so peaceful there. The service is always slow, but in a relaxed way rather than a sloppy way. Just as well as it gave as a chance to decide what to do with the rest of our day! As it was not raining too hard by this time, we drove to Danbury Country Park. It is a place I have always known was there, but is far too far to walk to from my little library on top of the hill, so today seemed the perfect time to explore. My grandparents used to live in the next village, and their garden backed on to some woods, so I used to spend a lot of time playing in the woods as a little girl. These aren't the same woods, but they are very similar, and the scents of damp leaves, and soft mulcy underfoot feel took me right back. We took pictures of mossy tree trunks and wizened tree stumps. There are some beautiful little lakes there too.

It made me smile that the other people we saw walking there were all wearing jeans, trainers and anoraks. I was wearing a maxi dress, shawl, and was carrying a polka dot umbrealla! I felt very Lizzy Bennett-ish, as though I was walking to Netherfield to visit my neighbours! And of course, lucky me, I just so happened to have my own Mr Darcy with me!

After a long walk, we drove back to the village, and found ourselves in another tea shop! This time it was Tea on the Green. I really wish it had a website so I could share with you how lovely it is. Despite winning many Tea Council awards, it does not have one though! It is by the village duckpond and is just...lovely. I really faniced Welsh or Buck Rarebit, but it was not on the menu, and then Carl had the wonderful idea of having afternoon tea (seeing as it is our anniversary, and we had an afternoon tea for our wedding reception). Carl drank the most incredibly fragrant Earl Grey, and I drank English Breakfast tea. We each had a two-tier cake stand (mine was patterned with violets!) with two kinds of sandwiches, a scone with cream and jam, and a slice of cake. Alas, neither of us could manage the cake, so we had to bring it home wrapped in foil! It also put paid to our plans for dinner tonight, because even as I type, we are still full up!

Now as compatible and happily married as Carl and I are, there is one very serious matter upon which we will never agree. You see, Carl is one of those people who puts the cream on his scone first, then the jam, where I am very firmly from the school of jam on first, then cream. And before you even ask, yes it does matter, and it does make a difference! Devon and Cornwall are practically at war over the issue!

But that aside, we have spent the rest of the day very companiably indeed. We returned home and watched a film on Sky Box Office (there was nothing on at the cinema), drank more tea, and then somehow, it was half past ten! Where did the day go? Actually, now I come to think about it, we had that exact same feeling on our wedding day too!

You know, as soon as we were married, standing outside the church, holding hands and smiling as the photographer snapped pictures of us, we squeezed each others hands and whispered at how it felt different already. It still does, and in the best possible way. I know that marriage is not for everyone, but it is most definitely for us. There is a wonderful passage in Mrs Miniver, where she talks about the little but important things in marriage...the having somebody's eye to catch at a dinner party, and saving little stories and anecdotes from your day to take out of your pocket and share with your spouse at the end of the day. She is right, those things are wonderful....and so is having someone to eternally quarrel about the correct way to eat a scone....

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