Later April, down to Dorset for the annual bucket and spade. I wake early to work on my current book project, a history of a remarkable London house and find that I am absorbed in that other world quite easily despite the distance.
We come to Dorset every year, the same house, the same beach. We usually catch up with some good friends who live down here, and often bump into other friends too. I especially enjoy catching up with architect Stuart Martin and his portrait painter wife, Binny Matthews, and we admire the handsome long room which they have added to their remote farmhouse, with a light-filled painting studio above. I hugely admire Binny’s paintings, which I first saw at Castle Drogo many years ago, where she painted the last Drewe to live in the house.
When down in Ringstead, we spend most of time down on the beach, walking the cliffs or playing lawn cricket with the nephews and niece, and am pleased to catch up with one of my godsons who lives down in Devon. Easter service is up on the cliff as every year, and despite some rain it clears up for the Sunday morning. The rain is a pain! Working on the London house book when we get back and investigating the bombing of central London in 1940, and the extraordinary story of the refugees from Nazism who were interned in 1939/1940 – not a great chapter in English history.
Best Fun: Rowing strokeside with the Champs Rowing Club – especially as the weather improves!
Best Pub Visit: I was very lucky to be able to spend a night at the King John’s Inn in Tollard Royal, elegant and comfortable, with a really excellent menu and wine list; the pub is hung with black and white sporting photographs by Charlie Sainsbury-Plaice who also took the photographs for my collecting column in The Field. Service is down to a fine art here, and the pub is popular with local shooting parties (which explains occasional sightings of pop stars here)
Look out for: My feature on Loseley Park, Country Life, May 20 issue.
My next public lecture is on English Ruins, and is on the evening of June 20 at the Little Shop of Horrors in Hoxton, see link for Hendrick’s lecture series