At last – brief holidays and outings!

It seemed a long wait before 17 May enabled people to eat indoors – and May was certainly a cold month. One of these two had a hot water bottle under her coat… Meanwhile the children were waiting for weather more suitable for cricket before shedding their coats – or their substitute helmets

The bluebells lasted longer this year – and despite appearances, the children were impressed

And the swans were busy on the lake regardless of the weather

After five attempts (four were cancelled in November and December of 2020) we finally managed a two day break in Lyme Regis, as soon as the Alexandra Hotel could open. En route we stopped for a take-away lunch at a NT beach at Burton Bradstock. Very quiet on the seaward side – heaving near the cafe

We arrived at Lyme Regis in glorious sunshine

The following day it blew a huge gale, whipping the sea into a frenzy

The trees in the hotel grounds had adapted to the prevailing winds years ago….

We managed a walk between the showers in the Undercliffe, the setting of those romantic scenes in The French Lieutenant’s Woman between Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons. It felt strangely familiar.

Finally, the weather settled down – and summer started… or at least cricket did

And the garden burst with colour and lush foliage – old friends re-emerging

And another much bigger and very beautiful garden to visit and play in on a very hot 12 June day – a celebration – and fund-raiser – for some of us (though the birthday boy himself was working…)

The very hot weather continued into the next week for our second, also postponed short break in the New Forest, staying at the Master Builder’s Hotel in Bucklers’ Hard, enjoying an alfresco first-come, first-served lunch at the very popular Pig en route.

We cycled the following day on our faithful Bromptons to a very fine lunch at Limewood, enhanced by Paul Taylor(the sommeliers)’s recommendations. The weather began to turn the following day as we returned from our little sea voyage to Yarmouth to eat in the George, and we spent our final day on hired gravel bikes, moving from Lymmington to Keyhaven and back before driving home.

The weather broke dramatically. As June turned to July, the strawberries excelled, and to date, 75 (I kid you not) Ice-cream punnets have been harvested, roughly 35 kilos; dispersed to all and sundry, not to mention 20 jars of strawberry jam. Subsistence farming must be a full-time occupation.

Hedgehogs – and the orchids – these seen in swathes in Faccombe – are breath-taking

Torrential rain, thunder and sudden bursts of hot weather combine to make July 2021 both lush and unpredictable.

As does the Delta covid variant, which coupled with Mr Johnson’s irrepressible risk-taking habit means that this summer roller-coaster ride is only just beginning…..on 19 July, to be precise.

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