Great Dixter with Val

Wednesday 21st August 2019

I was so low with dread of Jeremy Corbyn and the end of my life as it is known. Not perhaps the best frame of mind for Val but I took my Mr Henry with me, also dusters and Windolene. We set out at once for Great Dixter from the Los Angeles-style Hastings low-rise and got the last bit of quiche in the lunch hut there. Then the wrong way round the garden. Within minutes my cares had flown. No thought of Jeremy Corbyn. They’ve gone mad with tiger lilies in the top garden. The utter joy. Val wanted to sit down on a bench. I’ve never done that before – sat down in the top garden. You’re perched on the edge of a tiny muddy path and engulfed by vegetation. A Dutch lady came by, just arrived at Harwich, she said, comes every year. ‘It’s a marvellous jungle,’ she said. So true. You hide in it. Only by sitting down on the bench do you get the full effect.

Dear precious Dixter. I was there in April, for the Plant Fair and unfortunately missed the poor Photo Multi because I was putting my purchases in the Official Car. Robert Nevil encountered him – still raving about not being invited to my tiny Ivy 60th birthday. So sad. Even then Dixter soothed and lifted.

Val wanted everything. He wanted tropical. He wanted a meadow. He wanted a fruit farm. He wanted fuschias. He wanted grasses. He’s still planning to smother his lawn in cockle shells and do a beach garden. We saw the Dutch lady again in the nursery, even more radiant from Dixter. We saw Fergus and poured forth our joy.

Back at the Los Angeles-style low rise, Val showed his knitting. He’s doing a seamless Arran or Norweyan on a circular needle. I dusted and vac-ed before dinner. Val said he’d been a van going by with ‘Vision Express’ written on it. He’d thought How extraordinary! –  emergency mink. Could demand be high for high-speed mink delivery ? How many were suddenly without and screaming for replacement mink that a van must screech to a halt at their door and fur be rushed in? Only finally did he grasp. The French for mink is ‘Vison’, you see. He’d been momentarily deluded.

Val served Polish sausage on a bed of sauerkraut. We switched on a programme about the moon landing but paid no attention to it. The next day we went over to Rye to look for the right gauge of needlework canvas for Val’s cushion covers that he’s doing. Not to be had.  Horrifying developments at Rye. All the antique shops gone and turned into horrible little pink frou-frou knick-nack outlets of supreme uselessness. Terrible smell of pot pourri. Good banter with a random woman outside Henry James’s house re: how it’s never open when you want it to be. Then we left Rye for Prospect Cottage, where the late Derek Jarman had an extraordinary beach garden of great fame. It was much further than Val thought but worth it. Bleak doesn’t describe it. Utterly featureless war-zone type of place, flat beach, sea not visible, some broken fences, cement items left over from the War possibly, a tarmac road with hut-like dwellings lining it, Prospect Cottage one of them, ferocious wind even in summer. Prospect the only establishment with intended garden and spruced up, the others all rusty and wonky. Plainly the presence of Gays. Quite obvious. There was a notice on the door so naturally one approached to read it. It said, ‘Fuck off’ in as many words. Don’t peer through the windows. This is the home of the late Derek Jarman… private property … etc.’ Odd attitude. Whoever acquired it must have known that it would be a place of pilgrimage.

Val did gougere for lunch with rocket and chicken liver. He’s still wanting those Coeur a la Creme dishes back. He says 4 of the 8 I have are his. Thirty years ago Val stayed with me between flats (or something) at my old place in London’s West (the one that had the avo bathroom suite) and we gave a dinner. Tremendous acquisition of Coeur a la Creme dishes to make Coeur a la Creme. I don’t suppose you even know what that is. You do something with cream and cream cheese perhaps, then put it in individual heart-shaped dishes that drain. Muslin also called-for. Results not terrific after a day’s draining. Not awfully thrilling cream, vaguely heart-shaped, to have with strawberries. Never done it again, despite possession of eight Coeur a la Creme dishes for thirty years, 4 of which in disputed ownership. Maybe time for a revival, if I’m spared for next strawberry year.

Val’s not getting his Coeur a la Creme dishes back.

Dixter in the Spring

Dixter in the Spring: What you See Behind becomes the jungle by August 

Unusual Tulips, Deliciously Horrid at Dixter in the Spring

Unusual Tulips, Deliciously Horrid at Dixter in the Spring

The Madness of the Tiger Lilies at August Dixter

The Madness of the Tiger Lilies at August Dixter

Crocosmia Outrage with Violent Frond of Orach

Crocosmia Outrage with Violent Frond of Orach

Such Composition

Such Composition

What you See When Seated

What you See When Seated

Oh Dixter - The Colours! Such Freedom

Oh Dixter – The Colours! Such Freedom

Val's Knitting

Val’s Knitting: His Tension is Second to None 

Prospect Cottage: a Gay Home

Prospect Cottage: a Gay Home

Beach Garden at Prospect Cottage

Beach Garden at Prospect Cottage

Prospect Cottage: Don't Go Near the Front Door

Prospect Cottage: Don’t Go Near the Front Door

Prospect Cottage

Prospect Cottage

 

Posted Thursday, August 22, 2019 under Adrian Edge day by day.

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