A couple of weeks ago my husband and I took advantage of the lovely mild September weather and headed off for a day out to Suffolk. A friend of mine recently described the county as "creamy" and I can't think of a better word to describe this lovely corner of our Island. It looked beautiful and quintessentially English in the warm September sunlight with the tree leaves just starting to turn to their autumn colours.
We decided to go to Long Melford as although it is somewhere I have visited a few times, my visits have always been in much colder weather and when the beautiful Melford Hall was closed for the winter. This also allowed me to squeeze in a quick trip to my favourite shop in Suffolk, Rosehip in the Country. I bought a very pretty white metal chandelier with toleware rose rambling through it's arms destined for our dining room as well as a nicely detailed glass vinegar or oil decanter.
After leaving the fair we turned up the road and walked towards Melford Hall, it is sheltered from the road by a high brick wall over which I could just see the tops of the towers. As we walked through the entrance and along the drive through the landscaped grounds we were presented with this beautiful view which looked particularly moody and atmospheric with the grey cloudy sky which the sun was trying to pierce through. I can't help but try to imagine how visitors from the period must have felt when approaching these grand homes.
The grand and imposing entrance must have seemed very impressive for the gentry bumping along the drive in their wooden carriages, but rather awe-inspiring and foreboding for the humble peasant or farmer come to pay their due to their lord. The pretty gardens round the other side of the hall have the effect of softening this imposing building, I could imagine ladies from all eras walking around and taking the air outside in this feminine space.
In fact, one particular lady who enjoyed this past time very much was none other than Beatrix Potter who was a cousin of the family and regularly came to stay. Apparently she gained inspiration for the Jeremy Fisher tale from the pretty little pond in the gardens of Melford Hall and sketched various pieces of furniture and architectural details for use in her books. (One of the fireplaces features in the Tailor of Gloucester).
It was a lovely day out and reminded me that we have only seen the very tip of the iceberg with Lavenham, Bury St Edmunds, Framlingham and so many other tempting places left unexplored for another free weekend!