Easter is celebrated at Shillingstone with Easter Trees and ancient cardboard eggs filled with small presents. Even our egg hunt does not feature much chocolate as granddaughter is not allowed anything sweet. Michael and I, however, seem to have accumulated a pile of little eggs to eat!
The last lot of snow flattened the daffodils which were just putting on a show down the drive.
Amazingly now that the snow has gone the daffodils have popped up again!
Winter is the time for refurbishment although this winter has been challenging as the lawns have been to wet to walk on and we have had two loads of deep snow.
We added some box balls in pots to the rose border to give some interest for our wedding in January. We thought they looked so good that we have bought some new bigger ones. They look very new so we are going to paint them with yogurt to age them!
Just back from a wonderful residential cheese making course with Louise Talbot, a cheesemaker who lives near Blandford, so she is very local. The course took place at Denman, the WI College, which holds an amazing array of courses open to WI members and non members alike. https://www.denman.org.uk/
The course was fantastic and what is even better is that Louise holds four hour courses suitable for Hen Parties. She can be found at "Cutting The Curd" - https://www.cuttingthecurd.co.uk/
As you can see from the pictures below, I brought back a huge amount of cheese and had an amazing time with a very patient and excellent tutor.
Luckily no wedding today!
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY TO ALL OUR COUPLES!
Valentine's Card from our grand-daughter using confetti from the last wedding!
Chris from Abbas Marquees came over to bring photographs on a USB stick for couples to take away and look at. (www.abbasmarquees.co.uk/) They are based in Somerset and Devon but work all over the UK and have been Marquee specialists for the last 15 years.
They seem to cover every type of Marquee from traditional to Tipis and have a vast range of additional items that they can hire as well. Take a look at the listing under suppliers on the website.
The snowdrops are out this year before the daffodils grow and hide them and look magnificent. They were just beginning to show for our first wedding in January.
We had a wonderful ceremony only wedding in the dining room on 20th January. Taking place in the dining room with a fire in the grate and candles and fairy lights on every surface it had a beautiful, warm and cosy feel to it on a cold and wet day. (more photographs and a full write up to follow)
Christmas seems so long ago now but I felt that I must share how the garden is very much part of our lives even at Christmas!
Aliums from the big border sprayed silver on the Christmas Tree and honesty seed pods and old man's beard on the staircase.
Leaves and twigs from the garden dried and sprayed white, mixed with the red twigs of the Cornus on the dining room table. Otherwise, here, it was a recycled Christmas!
September brought a History Festival to Shillingstone with incredible records and photographs on display in the Church Centre and a celebration in flowers in the village Church.
I joined our village florist, Emma Whitcher from Martha and the Meadow,(https://www.marthaandthemeadow.com/weddingflorist / email@example.com) and many other ladies from the village to celebrate historic moments of village history in flowers.
My task was to fill the porch with the many items that used to be sent up to London from Shillingstone Station and Emma's huge arrangement to commemorated the fallen from the village in World War 1 with every soldier represented by a red rose.
Other arrangements showed the Roman Villa which once stood at the Blandford end of the village, the maypole which at one time was the tallest in Dorset, the WI, the Brownies and Cricket and Football club.
Our old prams took their place by the font as we used to have a maternity home in the village.
The event was a huge success and hopefully the records will be put onto a website in the future.
Leigh Palmer is now practising once a week in the Stable Block. She is an holistic therapist as her flyer above shows - just the thing for a relaxing time before your wedding!
Ross Kidner returned to the Walled Garden to pick figs and damsons to make into his wonderful jams and chutneys. It was quite a hectic day as we had a wedding clearing up around us and they had to carry the ladder over the wedding bell tent
Ross made last year's crop into chutney and it was really successful. To buy or catch him at one of the markets he sells from go to -
If you wanted to give some of our Shillingstone Fig Chutney as your favours please let us know and we can ask Ross to pot them up in little jars for you. He can design a label for you.
Ross made a donation as thanks and we gave this to Home Start North Dorset -
For the second year running the garden filled with members of PEDAS, the Poole and East Dorset Art Society. ( www.pedas.org.uk ) The sun shone, so many of the members chose the shade but several hardier soles sat out with their easels. They produced some wonderful paintings and sketches as you can see from the pictures below. To see more of their work go to the website above.
In thanks for the visit each member donated £3 and we were able to donate £36 to the North Dorset branch of Home Start which was wonderful.
Rob Beale Ltd who has produced loos in the past now has a very smart two stall shower. I know that some of our 2017 brides were keen to have this information. They brought them to show me the other day and they are pristine and well equipped. Fully recommended. They can plug into our electricity and water by the camping site. wwwrobbeale.co.uk
We have just put the Bell Tent up in the Walled Garden and have tried out our new interior. Take a look at the photographs below!
Very late in writing this post! We had another great new photographer visiting last month. He has enormous experience and has worked in London and abroad until moving to Chettle, just outside Blandford. He brought a marvellous selection of photographs of past weddings, each one adapted to the style of the wedding - some formal and some very much not - I think he would be great fun to work with and very easy to get on with.
Have a look at his website - http://oligreen.net/ or send an email - firstname.lastname@example.org
We had a visit this week from Mark Cornwall who has recently moved to Dorset from Hampshire. He took some photographs of the grounds which are looking stunning at the moment with all the white daffodils, primroses and bluebells in flower, and is going to put some on his blog.
We have not used him here before so cannot personally recommend him but he seemed very easy to get on with as well as being very professional and was very enamoured of all our old doors - perfect for shots I am told!
I have put a photograph from his website below to give you an idea of his work and you can look at more at https://www.morethanaphotograph.com
I went on training for work and found a new mobile Pizza Kitchen! The Portland Pizza Company is based on Portland but will travel - Tel: 07936-518871 or find them on Facebook. I have not tasted their pizzas but Natasha who works was really lovely.