Where I went: West Dean

My Easter break was an extended one – the Friday after Easter was the start of a bi-annual 9-day violin restoration course, which I’d been hoping to attend for some time, and not only because of the fantastic learning environment that everyone who comes back from it talks about. What they also talk about is the almost magical bubble that you disappear into, and the waking-from-dreamland state you find yourself having to deal with at the end of it.

P1190303Remember March, England? That month of sunshine that you weren’t really prepared for (I swear there used to be something like this, it was called “summer”, but wasn’t that later in the year?”) That coincided with the course, and really made the experience all the more magical. West Dean is a big old house not far from Chichester, which is now a college, providing all sorts of arty-farty courses in the holidays. The buildings are amazing, Hogwartsy, and the gardens are fantastic.

So here are a few pictures:

P1190471 P1190472   P1190306Fantastically maintained topiary. The Gardeners really have their work cut out.

P1190367I don’t know how old this Clematis is, but it’s been winding its way around those pillars for quite a while now.

P1190296The end of the Pergola.

P1190495 P1190496Early, misty mornings.

P1190392P1190396P1190405These are original Victorian glasshouses that are in great condition. The original cranks are used to raise and lower the roofs and to open the side panels.

P1190407P1190446P1190412P1190416P1190415P1190455P1190417P1190427P1190419Cold frames to make my mother jealous!

P1190422P1190428P1190431It looks like the trees being trained against the wall are supposed to spell something, but I can only read “OWSSSL”, which doesn’t mean much to me. Perhaps it’s gardener’s code.

P1190509P1190465P1190511And tree training to make my father jealous. On the left is a “pyramid” shape, and on the right a “goblet”. And in the middle a fan. I suppose the shapes are clearer later in the season.

P1190610P1190611P1190609P1190366Definitely a Strad model, that one.


Painting the tree.


You’d swear it was Dolly and her mother…


And possibly her aunt as well!

P1190557P1190566P1190388Just a peek of the inside of the house. If these were in my house I’d be way too tempted to hang coats on them…

P1190729And another participant on an arty course, who wanted to paint our shoes. You get all sorts.


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