There are some places I visit that seem to have vials of intoxicating contentment dripping everywhere.
Saturday was my fourth visit to Burtown House since I first stumbled across it last June. Last September they let us know that they would be open for two weeks in February to show off the first flowers of the year. Needing a planned day away from the city, I rang a couple of friends and invited them to join me. We made it the final open day of this short season.
The lawn of grass and snowdrops softly circled the large old trees as we walked up the drive. Suddenly there was realisation that spring is on its way.
Last year the worst of the winter was the cold. This year it has been the storms as wind and rain whipped devastation around the country. They rattled and drummed against the windows and howled in protest at refused entry. One morning last week I opened the curtains of my apartment to see blue sky looking back at me and calm … the sound of calm. It was the snowdrops though, that whispered happy “welcome to spring” to me.
As with every time previous, we were warmly welcomed into the Gallery Cafe by friends and family of the house. We sat by the warming fire enjoying our coffee before wrapping up and joining the gathering small crowd for a tour of the garden. With a clear love of the garden, Lesley introduced us to the varieties of snowdrops, hellebores, and other flowers that I can’t remember the names of. One of the women with us kindly commented, “You don’t need to know the names of flowers to enjoy them.” What were once just snowdrops to me became a family of flowers with distinct differences to be noticed from their leaves to their petals.
Between all of us, we completely filled the small cafe for the most delicious lunch. The three of us choose the mushroom, chicken and leek pie for lunch, followed by a warming pot of tea. Several hours after arriving, it felt like my soul was completely sated. The art, the gardens, the sounds of Ludivico Enaudi, the food, and the decor mixed in a perfect soul soothing harmony. If that was all, Burtown House would be a beautiful place to visit. What really made the difference though was the atmosphere – a family of artists loving what they do and welcoming us wholeheartedly to join them.
I left feeling blissfully content and ready for the week ahead.