Monday, April 25, 2011

The Lodge

Would you like to see more of my aunt's garden? Strictly speaking, it's not my aunt's - this is a long story which I have told before, but basically she and two friends plus (crucially) the much younger husband of one of these ladies retired to this house in Norfolk thirty years ago. The friend's husband was then 39 and he retired too! Being a whizz at DIY, he divided the house up, the top being three flats and the bottom being communal for visitors, entertaining, good works and so on. My aunt lent part of the money to buy the house but wanted the husband to own it, since he's likely to outlive them all. So she lives there, rent free, and does most of the work in the garden, which is remarkable since she's now 86. (The much younger husband does the chopping down of trees and cuts the lawns, and there's a gardener two mornings a week; otherwise, my aunt does it. Amazing.)

Now, the wife of the much younger husband has died (a couple of years ago, at 93), another friend has gone into a nursing home and my aunt and the chap live there in their flats, very happily - taking, as she says, a day at a time. Thus (alas) this wonderful place is not my inheritance... but we count ourselves very lucky to be able to visit. It's the nearest place to heaven that I can imagine.

This is the door to the garden.

Sorry, wrong order - first we pass the dining room.

We walk down the garden and look at the house. Can you hear the doves murmuring constantly: "Tak twa coos, lassie"? (But in a Norfolk accent. What would that be: "Take two cows, girlie"?)

Back down towards the house and walk along in the direction of the walled garden - looking back where you came from.

Glance to the left up at the orangery.

Oops, wrong order again - ok, walk backwards for a while, contemplating the archway through to the walled garden.

Here we are, a bit nearer the archway.

Inside the walled garden.

Walking round the paths.

The bird bath.

A patch of honesty.

A few weeks ago, this was a mass of daffodils.

Back into the lawned area.

Towards the wood.

Every time we go there, I wonder if it'll be the last. And this time might well be. I don't suppose my aunt and her friend's widower can stay there for ever. But it'll always be there in my memory, blossoming away in my head. I love it partly because it's so beautiful and partly because we've been so happy there: Mr Life and I and our children. Our son was not quite three, the first time we went there.

Daughter 2 is now back in London, alas. Still, she was here from Friday till this afternoon, so we had lots of chat and cuddles.

Back to work tomorrow. Hmm.


  1. Anonymous10:10 pm

    Goodness, I had to back-track to ensure that I had read your aunt's age correctly; she really keeps that garden as good as it is? Amazing. What lovely memories you must have.

  2. what a lovely bit of heaven on earth ... i am sighing away cuz there is no place like that in my life - except, maybe, the Denver Botanic Gardens and i don't think they'd allow me to spend the night

    i'm happy to hear that Sirius came back - bad kitty.

  3. What a wonderful garden! I'll have to go back and see your other post(s) about it.
    Your aunt does an amazing job considering her advanced age. She's a remarkable gardener and certainly has created a little bit of heaven.
    What a blessing for your family to be able to enjoy it, but what a shame it's not your inheritance! :(
    Thanks for sharing this interesting story and your lovely photos.
    I hope you had a wonderful Easter with your family.

  4. Welcome back from your truely deserved break! What a glorious house and living arrangements too.

  5. Oh how lovely that place is...and how remarkable a woman your aunt must be. Glad you got to cuddle your girl over the holidays!

  6. Wow. What a fun story. Surely your aunt doesn't do ALL that gardening herself? It's a beautiful home and garden. I can see why you have such wonderful memories of being there. Thanks for sharing the pictures!

  7. The wall with the arched doorway is my favorite!

  8. What an amazing place, I love that shot of the dining room.

    Going back to work's a bummer isn't it?

  9. oh how I wish I could visit too!

  10. How breathtakingly beautiful that garden looks. I would love to visit.