How many kinds of sweet flowers grow in an English country garden?

18th and 19th August

We packed up our London apartment  at the Barbican and handed in our Oyster cards for a refund. London is such a diverse, exciting and “learned” city that you could spend a year here and not scratch the surface. We have had many happy visits here and are sad to leave but we are looking forward very much to being with Ann’s cousin Joyce and her husband Brian in Frinsted, Kent

Taking  the overland train from London’s Victoria Station to Maidstone East,,a very pleasant journey,  we soon left the suburbs for the rolling hills  and fields of the Northern Downs of Kent. Maidstone East is a major service town and here we picked up our 6 on the floor manual Vauxhall Estate Car, England’s GMH Holden equivalent. It is a curious feeling for me to be driving a Vauxhall because my father always drove Vauxhalls ..four of them over the years. This one looks a bit sharper than our old grey and white family Vauxhall Cresta.

It was wonderful to drive again through the leafy narrow lanes of the Northern Downs through places called Hollingbourne and Wormshill to the Forge House in Frinsted, a tiny village of 18 homes and a C17th church surrounded by cropped fields and bluebell forests (no bluebells in late Summer!).  Forge House is the original blacksmith’s house of the estate of Lord Kingsdowne, of the Leigh-Pemberton family who just recently died. We had met him at a parish dinner on a previous visit. He was a leading British financier and finished his career as Governor of the Bank of England. He and his family have done a great deal for the village and for the church and he is greatly missed here. His wife continues to run the estate with her eldest son John and his family.

C17th? Anglican church in Frinsted in the hills of Kent near Sittingbourne

C17th? Anglican church in Frinsted in the hills of Kent near Sittingbourne

Celtic cross in the Church graveyard in Frinsted Kent

Celtic cross in the Church graveyard in Frinsted Kent

Frinsted and the road to Sittingbourne

Frinsted and the road to Sittingbourne

Village view of one of the fifteen houses in Frinsted..this used to be the pub but now a private home

Village view of one of the fifteen houses in Frinsted..this used to be the pub but now a private home

Frinsted main street!

Frinsted main street!

sweet sign in Frinsted

sweet sign in Frinsted

This is our fifth visit to Joyce and Brian’s lovely home. Joyce is an Aussie but met Brian, a Brit in 1954 on a ship travelling to England. Brian joined the ship in Singapore and they had cabins close by.  Their romance evolved slowly as Brian was a sailor and away many months and sometimes years at sea. They finally married in 1961 and prior to children Joyce joined Brian, a senior engineer, sailing all over the world.

Ann Brian and staffordshire terriers Badger and Harvey in the back garden at Forge House Frinsted

Ann Brian and their two busy Jack Russsell terriers Badger and Harvey in the back garden at Forge House Frinsted

Ann and Joyce with Badger and Harvey in the garden at Forge House Frinsted

Ann and Joyce with Badger and Harvey in the garden at Forge House Frinsted

Brian surveying the next job in the amazing veggie patch at Forge House

Brian surveying the next job in the amazing veggie patch at Forge House

Some 30 years ago they bought the Forge House in Frinsted because they needed a horse paddock for their daughter. It is a magic three storey home including a cellar. Apart from the odd car passing through the village the only sound here is birdsong, occasional church bells (Monday evening practice, Sunday morning and weddings!) and that’s about it.

Forge House, formerly the Village blacksmith's house. Brian and Joyce's home for over 30 years

Forge House, formerly the Village blacksmith’s house. Brian and Joyce’s home for over 30 years

Another view of Forge House with its wonderful gardens

Another view of Forge House with its wonderful gardens

I especially love the lovingly tended “English country garden with its summer flowers, wonderful vegetables and shady trees. Joyce  and Brian are readers, explorers and thinkers and the bookshelves here are full of yummy books on art, porcelain, history and architecture. It is a treasure trove for me in every way. They are wonderful hosts and have sheltered many Aussies far from home over the years. We feel privileged to stay here once again and have a rest from hard core touring. I enclose some pictures of their wonderful garden.

Flowers in Forge House garden with lots of bumble bees

Flowers in Forge House garden with lots of bumble bees

and again

and again

and yet again

and yet again

rear garden at Forge House with potting shed and very well used green house

rear garden at Forge House with potting shed and very well used green house

and more flowers

and more flowers

A shady spot in the Forge House garden

A shady spot in the Forge House garden

beautiful trees and wonderful birds in the Forge House garden in Frinsted

beautiful trees and wonderful birds in the Forge House garden in Frinsted

Wonderful sunroom at Forge House Frinsted

Wonderful conservatory at Forge House Frinsted

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