At least five days a week I take Hooper for a roam around Froginwell, through the vines, around the orchard and back up to the Barn. Before we made the decision to close the cafe and before we had Hooper I rarely had time to go for a stroll around. Obviously I was aware of the passing of time but I was certainly a lot less connected to the more precise changing of the seasons than I am now. I have noticed that this Spring the leaves on the trees and the wisteria on the decking are budding a month earlier than last year, probably due to the relatively warm spring compared to the snow dump in late March last year.
I have mown an actual path from the bottom of the vineyard down to the orchard gate which now represents a physical link between the two major attributes of Froginwell. It also occurred to me that although couples get some stunning photos meandering through the hay meadow hand in hand, perhaps not all brides want to deal with multiple insects caught in the layers of wedding dress and perhaps a path would eliminate this happening.
As I write this, the orchard is about a week away from bursting forth with blossom, the vines have begun the process of bud break and the first sign of green emerges in the form of tiny shoots. The fruit trees along the drive and around Froginwell have blossomed and following multiple April showers it looks as though the countryside has had a really good wash. The colour of beech tree leaves against the dark bark always make me think of lime green chocolates, although I’m not sure I have ever seen a lime green chocolate?!
With all the coverage the state of the planet is receiving at the moment it’s hard not to think about nature and what small difference each of us can make. At Froginwell we are doing our best. We have banned plastic straws and confetti, we use zero to landfill waste disposal and we plant as many trees and plants as our budget will allow. I’m aiming to do a bee-keeping course so we can have a couple of hives in the orchard and I’m trying to work out how best to fund turning approx 5 acres of fields into a wildflower meadow. Both Dani and I cycle to work as often as we are able and our electricity is supplied by a company that sells 100% renewable energy. However, every time I turn on the tractor a big black cloud of smoke belches into the atmosphere and my heart sinks when deliveries arrive wrapped in an unnecessary amount of plastic.
I consider myself extremely lucky to have grown up in the countryside in a beautiful part of the world. On Easter Sunday I took the girls down to Branscombe beach for a picnic breakfast with friends. On Easter Monday my eldest and I cycled around Haldon Forest while my youngest flung herself out of trees in Go Ape. The warm weather was very welcome and just being out and feeling the warmth on our skin made it feel good to be alive but following the heat of last summer when the grass turned brown and grooms sweltered in their 3-piece suits perhaps seriously hot weather isn’t always what we need to wish for?!
I hope that all the people in all the world can bring a halt to the damage we have caused already, for the sake of all the generations yet to come. In the meantime, if summers carry on getting hotter, we at Froginwell might just have to invest in a larger walk in fridge – big enough to fit in brides and grooms as well as all the booze!!