The Latest News here at Well House
Rotherfield Park was open for is one day per year, notable among other things for its well preserved ice house. You can see by the photos how its built into the hill and how small the opening is. You creep along a short passage to the huge underground vault, brick-lined and, when in use, a second lining of huge blocks of ice. A ladder would be the only means of access to the food you might have stored there. What a cold and creepy job, if you were tasked with bringing some ice-cream or suchlike up to the main house. Not only that it is at least 100 metres down hill from the house in a little valley with no lighting. In Summer the food would be warm by the time you got it up to the house. But of course it was a great luxury to have an Ice House before refrigeration.
The mansion house was used as “Manderley” in the film of “Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier… and the 12 acre gardens just go on and on. Its only open to the public once a year.
We have just had the hugely successful Folk Festival a mile down the road at Powells Farm…it gets bigger and with better acts every year. Fairport Convention was one iconic band who played this year along with many great new artists. Our visitors commented on how interesting and varied the food options were. Camping is free but our visitors like to come back to home comforts after a long day. Tomorrow is the legendary Beggars Fair, now in its 26th year…a day of music, food, crafts and street revelry in Romsey. Its like a giant street party and free to attend. All the music venues are free as well and it there is a carnival atmosphere all over town.
March 2nd 2018
We are open again for guests…hope to welcome some old faces as well as newcomers to the area. The weather is still patchy down here but daffodils are poking their heads up nevertheless. The forest is greening up and I have spotted deer and rabbits in the garden. Its all slowly coming back to life after an uncharacteristically cold winter…
Hardy’s cottage and Max Gate
Thomas Hardy, the author and poet lived in Dorset, an easy drive from here. His works are based on his life and experiences in Dorset and Wiltshire and you can feel it is “Hardy Country” as you drive through. Approaching Salisbury you see the spire of the Cathedral rising above the hill as described in “Tess of the D’Urbervilles” when Angel Clare and Tess’s sister observe the time of her execution…
The thatched cottage is his birthplace in lower… Bockhampton and where he spent his formative years. It is Spartan and primitive and yet was a much-loved family home, his siblings choosing to live most of their lives there despite him buying them a “better” house. The brick house is Max Gate,which he designed and had built for himself near Dorchester and was the scene of much entertaining of other famous literary figures and artists…Lawrence, the legendary “Lawrence of Arabia” was one of his best friends..It was a very eccentric household according to letters from visitors. The first wife insisted on having her 2 cats sitting either side of her plate during meals. The 2nd wife had a little Yorkshire terrier that was allowed to roam all over the dinner table trying to get food off the diners plates. No one was could say a word against it but it was generally disliked for its habit of biting peoples ankles, the unfortunate staff included.
These two homes are preserved by the National Trust and make a fascinating day out. You will “see” the scenes described in his novels and probably want to read them again.
Our lovely summer hanging baskets..
The Romsey Arts Festival is soon to begin with a bigger and better than ever selection of local events. Music, art, drama, crafts, and events for children all going on over a 2 week period from 1st to the 16th July. The annual quilters exhibition in Romsey Abbey is not to be missed, quite extraordinary what these artists create and displayed in such a wonderful setting. So much music of many and varied genres. Every day there are several events taking place, For information about whats on and where, visit the Romsey Tourist Information Centre or visit www.romseyfestival.org
Worzel Gummidge fans…did you know that the famous TV series was filmed all around here, in the nearby villages of Braishfield, Lockerley and Timsbury, also the coastal town of Lymington? Nor did we, until this year when we were visited by 2 Worzel Gummidge fans. They stayed with us and visited all the filming sites they could find in the area. They were thrilled to find a field near Braishfield which featured in the programme, as they had been trying to find it for 10 years….finally tracked it down with the help of Google Earth. As you can imagine, they had an encyclopaedic knowledge of every episode. It seems there is something of a cult following for Worzel Gummidge and this corner of Hampshire is its hub.
The flip side to this verdant landscape with all the lovely trees is the overwhelming cascade that is the autumn leaf-fall. It has only just started and each day brings an avalanche of leaves not only from ours but from everyone else’s trees all around for miles. I did think of leaving the leaves until they had all come down but after about a week it was difficult to access the house and opening the front door meant a gust of brown leaves splattering the inside of the house.
It is a constant battle against the forces of nature which seem to be trying to smother us in leaves and the wind that undermines attempts to clear them. Like an ant I toil away trying to mop up this tsunami …..
This week it is the annual Open Studio event in Hampshire. Just around the corner from us in Awbridge we found the studio of Grace Meijer, a world-renowned quilter. She has work in exhibitions in Denmark and the United States at the moment and has won recognition and top prizes in international competitions. her quilts are intricate and varied in style, from small wall hangings to commissions covering huge wall spaces. She does quilts for beds as well..Find out more about her by emailing email@example.com or just google gracequilts.com. A charming and talented artist. who has been quilting for 30 years.
June is the best month for visiting the world-famous Rose Gardens at Mottisfont Abbey. They are 3 adjoining walled gardens with the most stunning variety of roses, every colour, scent, variety and in such profusion…it is an overload of the senses. Mottisfont Abbey is a fascinating visit in itself with the spring which was a meeting place in the medieval times…it is mentioned in writings as far back as Saxon times…the name “mottis” means meeting place and “font” refers to the spring. Also the house which was once a priory , then became a private home. It houses a rare example of Trompe l’oueil painting (trick of the eye)by Rex Whistler, the last commission before his tragic battlefield death in France. The marble walls are actually painted as are some of the curtains. Its National Trust and in June has evening openings in addition to the standard times, to accommodate the extra visitors wanting to see the Rose Garden. Everything in the garden seems a little late this year so you may get a bit longer to see the roses at their best.