POTC at Hemingford Grey

A good friend, Carol, from Brantford Ontario, visited England last week. Carol took her copy of POTC (my Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses book) with her, and Diana Boston signed it. Diana also confirmed that the reprint of her book, The Patchworks of Lucy Boston, will be available this month. I think you will enjoy Carol’s account of her visit, especially the tip near the end of her message, if you dream of visiting Hemingford Grey some day.

It is amazing that Carol was able to send photos to me with her Blackberry—from a dwelling built in about 1130, which still retains a stone fireplace and a stone window arch built by Normans. Hemingford Grey is magical, which is no surprise to anyone who has read Lucy Boston’s classic books, beginning with “The Children of Green Knowe.”

I will update the shop on my site, as soon as I have a date for shipping Diana’s book.

Thank you, Carol, for sharing your photos with all of us!

Linda & Monkey

Carol wrote:

We’re staying the Cotswolds and it was a 2 hour trip today to Hemingford Grey Manor.  It turned out to be a simple trip, mainly on A and M highways (unlike the narrow back roads we took yesterday to Stonehenge).  Parking is a bit tricky near the manor as on-street parking in much of the village is by permit only.  We left the car at a nearby athletic field and walked the public footpath through a pasture which led to the river and right to Lucy’s front gate.  There were cattle grazing in the meadow and geese & ducks doing their thing on the river.  Very picturesque.

I introduced myself to Diana Boston right away and she very graciously signed Linda’s book for me.  She managed to be quite elegant and poised in her gardening workclothes.  She asked about Linda’s other work and thinks that the reprint of her own book about Lucy’s quilts is on the presses now.  Let’s cross our fingers.

My husband & I walked the grounds & enjoyed the gardens as we awaited the beginning of the tour.  Diana directed us to visit the back of the house which retains some of the oldest features. The gardens are mainly exuberant perennial borders with tall topiaries, several in celebration of the queen’s coronation.  As the time for the tour approached, we sat under a shade tree and enjoyed the company of Sam, a golden retriever who belongs to one of the gardeners/tour guides, Graham.  I understand there is a Jack Russell terrier on the grounds too and it is for him that there is a sign posted at the door: Cave canem

There were approximately 12 in our group.  Luckily one member was a young girl, between 6 and 8 I think, who knew the children’s books and was delighted at every detail in the house that corresponded to the stories – the mirror in the front hall, the rocking horse, Tolly’s sword etc.  Her excitement was infectious.

One tip – in the room on the main floor, the group took seats while the guide, Janet, did that part of the tour.  Choose the red armchair by the fire – that’s where Lucy Boston did her patchwork.

The main highlight of course is the patchwork room.  The quilts are stacked on a bed, folded back half way, ready to be unfolded and displayed.     The guide went through them one by one and pointed out the details of each – fabric choices, materials available, the stage of Lucy’s life when she worked on each quilt, who was the recipient of the quilt, Lucy’s inspiration etc.  All are summer quilts with no batting and only one has quilting.  I think it’s safe to say that Lucy was all about exquisite use of fabric as well as fine piecing and applique.

A few last details: The garden and house tour cost just £6.  The shop has mainly postcards, notecards and books for sale.  A nearby pub serves an excellent meal.  The sun shone all day.  I’m awash with inspiration.

Cheers, Carol

P.S. Don’t miss the photo gallery on Diana Boston’s site too!

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