“Half memoir, half travel, A Yank Back to England...is an absolutely wonderful book, not only about going home again but also about love and family and tradition and the passage of the years.”
—Michael Dirda, Pulitzer Prize-winning literary critic (Washington
To see the entire quote, click here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Washed out in Sissinghurst

Just as we arrived, the sky opened up and poured down buckets. I could barely see anything.
“Go check it out, see if it’s worth going in,” said Frances.
I felt no great desire to get out of the car. “If we go in, we’ll still be outside. It is a garden,” I said, trying for once to use logic on Frances.
After a bit more prodding, I got out to reconnoiter. I peeked over a fence for a free look.
In good weather, the crumbling monastery sprouting plants and shrubs and flower beds must have looked quite delightful, but all I saw was an overgrown, sprawling, crumbling mess awaiting demolition. Only the keenest of enthusiasts could derive any joy from the garden in that downpour. And some did. I saw a flock of old ducks in see-through plastic bonnets, pointing out specimens to each other with unabashed excitement. Oblivious to the weather, they even smiled.
Straddling large puddles, I hurried back to the car and explained the situation to Frances, who was now in the back seat entertaining Kate. I suggested she check the place out for herself. Wisely, Frances declined to leave the warmth of the car. As we pulled out, a coach was pulling in, with obviously hardier types than us.


The Machinist's Wife said...

Oh this really makes me smile. I love checking out gardens - yes, even in the rain. Although we don't receive as much rain as you do, one particular garden which I HAVE to see each year actually provides brollies for it's fans. Oh, and the crumbling monastery you speak of - this garden owner actually built a church folly which looks like it's about to fall down, all covered in moss and ivy.
Maybe you could take Frances another day...

Linda J. said...

I would have opted for stopping at a nearby tearoom instead of trudging through the rain. Fortunately, the weather was perfect the day we visited Sissinghurst.

The Prodigal Tourist said...

Machinist's Wife--you're obviously one of the hardier types I mention, like those ladies I saw in their galoshes! Definitely want to go back though -- and actually go in!
Linda--a tearoom is always a good thought! We'd recently had a lovely English breakfast though... Sounds like you had better luck with the weather, though I mustn't complain--as Frances likes to say, and I must admit, we usually do quite well weather-wise (much to my folks' suprise!).

JamaGenie said...

It's my understanding Brits are quite oblivious to inconveniences like rain when there's a garden to be explored and clucked over. I do hope you go back another day.

Michelloui said...

I love Sissinghurst (as I have previously mentioned!) but Im not sure if I would have loved it in the rain.

BTW, did you say galoshes?? Ive not heard that word since I was in the States. I would have expected 'wellies'. Are you collecting an American word there or is 'galoshes' used in parts of the UK? Made me smile, anyway.

The Prodigal Tourist said...

Did I say galoshes? Definitely time for a trip back!

Maggie said...

It's pouring down rain here as I read this post. I won't go out to the car to get my forgotten book let alone take a stroll through a garden...!