Tuesday, 28 April 2009
On the Bloomsbury trail
Whenever we visit my parents, we drive past an enticing sign advertising 'An Artist's Home and Garden'. This is the markerpost for Charleston, home of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant and an absolute gem for anyone who enjoys unusual decor and exuberant gardens. We visited on Easter Sunday - terrifically busy but since Sundays are the only days you can take small people around without a guided tour, we had little option.
The house is quite startling - every available surface is painted or decorated, and the whole place is filled with colour and painting and fabric and sculpture. Hugely inspirational - but no photography allowed inside.
The gardens have borders overflowing with cottage garden-y plants, sculptures and lots of places to sit and play hide and seek, and a mean cup of tea served in the little cafe. This leads me nicely on to the Bloomsbury link we're lucky to have far closer to home: the Orchard in Grantchester, where many literary types allegedly took tea and lounged around in deckchairs.
We did the same last week, obviously pretending to have deep thoughts in the sunshine but in reality wondering whether we ought to skip supper after such a generous afternoon tea.
For fascinating literary details of the Bloomsbury group, I direct you to MrsM. All I can do is show you pictures of Vanessa Bell's flowers and reassure you that the enormous scones at the Orchard are definitely worth the extraordinary prices they command.
This post is for Alice, who would really enjoy a visit to Charleston.