St. Mary’s House

Before all this Covid craziness began, my sisters and I used to get together, two or three times a year. Thursday, a fortnight ago was just such a day. The difference being that this was the first time since mid 2019.


As we live around ninety miles apart our normal routine is to select some historic pile, at roughly the halfway point between our homes.

St. Mary’s House

Most times we will select a location known to us. Not this time. Thursdays choice, St. Mary’s House at Bramber in Sussex, was unknown to any of us. A true mystery house.


 St. Mary’s is an historic pilgrim inn (c1450) featuring approximately five acres of beautiful gardens including animal topiary, the ‘Secret’ Garden with original Victorian fruit wall and pineapple pits, a rose garden, King’s Garden, circular English Poetry Garden, Landscape Water Garden and Rural Museum.

Achillea Filipendulina – Cloth of Gold
Example from the Rose Garden with English Lavender
Helenium Autumnale – Sneezeweed
Part of the Terracotta Garden

Not sure what this curved ladder could have been used for.

Curved Ladder

The weed on this pond gives the illusion of solidity. I turned down the opportunity to test it out.

Water Garden

This path was not suitable for my wife’s wheelchair.

Leafy Waterway

Slow Sunday In Serandon

Today, Sunday, was designated a no drive day. Not quite a duvet day as we were both up and dressed. Not even a pottering day since we are not in our own home.

A bit of toast with a cup, or two, of coffee.  Meandering around the gite and grounds, a bit of blogging and a sunday roast.

Blogging and /or checking in via Facebook has proven to be problematical. We haven’t had any WiFi and mobile signals have been very much touch and go. Back home I am on Vodafone but here in France my mobi switches  providers, seemingly by the hour. Randomly connecting to Orange F, F Bouygues and F SFR. All with very little signal strength.

Still, we chose to come to a remote gite, so no complaining from me.

Gerry was happy for us to be home based as she wanted to watch the tennis. Andy Murray vs Novak Djokovic in the French Open Final. That left me to cook the dinner and potter around with my camera.

So,first of all, here is the gite ……

Gite, Serandon, France

It is perfect for our needs.Bedroom, bathroom and kitchen on the ground floor. Two steps up from the kitchen to the living / dining space. There is also a second bedroom and lounge area, up on the mezzanine, which we are using to store our suitcases.

On the other side of the gite there is a nice terrace with table and chairs and a stone built BBQ. The terrace has a triangular canvas wing to provide shade along with the grape vines and the Wisteria.

View East from the Gite, Serandon, France

The gite is surrounded by fields and forest. The photo above shows the view to the east, where the sun rises and also where a storm was rolling in  from on Saturday afternoon. Although the thunder rumbled we only received a few spots of rain.

Flowers – Gite, Serandon, France

There are some lovely flowers around the grounds. These lilies greet us by the door to the lounge. There are some beautiful roses under the kitchen window with a lovely scent.

Of course, lovely scents attract flies and bees and other beasties. This fellow decided to take up residence. Unfortunately, for him, I was prepared.

Wasp ?

He was like a British Wasp on steroids and I have since discovered that there are many more like him around here.

After our roast dinner I left Gerry watching the tennis and went for a walk down the lanes in front of the gite.

Weather Vane

The following were all encountered on my gentle stroll down from the gite into the forest.

Of course I forgot that what walks down has to eventually walk back up. The route into the forest got steadily steeper. When I eventually turned about, I had a twenty-minute steady climb back up to level ground. It was very nice, what with the birds singing away, their calls echoing though the trees.

Even better was the glass of Pelforth Blonde waiting for me in the fridge. A fitting end to a good day.

Unfortunately not so good for Gerry. Andy Murray lost !!

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