Celebrating in the Potting Shed

In my 'Walled Garden' blog in June I recorded stopping off at Pythouse near Tisbury for a wonderful lunch served in the orchard of their renovated kitchen garden. The Potting Shed - a low brick building running adjacent to the garden wall - had just started serving suppers on Thursday evenings and I was determined to go back and sample them. So I am delighted when the flower shop girls suggest it as the venue for a get together to say goodbye to Rosie - the best Saturday Girl in the world - since she is heading off to university. As it is also my birthday my daughters come along too and we make it a double celebration.
When I arrive at the garden the evening sun is just tipping off the low branches of the apple trees turning them a deep scarlet. I am very tempted to take a photograph, but everyone is gathered in the orchard for a glass of Champagne and so there are more important things to do!
We have all tried to think of things that Rosie might like for her room at uni; there is pretty bed-linen from Cath Kidston, a big wooden 'R' for decoration, a calculator that looks and smells like a chocolate bar (essential!), a vintage wooden box full of sewing things (a typically thoughtful Jennifer present ) and a survival kit compiled for her from Kate.
Those who have read my books will not have been introduced to Kate, Sarah and Claire who are new additions to Ted's team ....but give it time ...
The food is wonderful; there is balsamic chicken served with Pythouse kale and crushed Fir Apple potatoes, followed by; meringue nests filled with cream and plums. The plums are heavenly, and wonderfully fragrant from cloves and - we think - a touch of licorice.
Walking through the farm shop later on (someone has told me there are beautiful dahlias in the Ladies!) I hear an unmistakable laugh and pushing at the half-open kitchen door I find Fiona, who used to run a deli in Tisbury, who is helping cook this evening. I tell her how much I loved the plums and she explains it was a last minute choice as she saw them on the way to feed her pigs that morning and couldn't resist them.
And the jug of garden flowers in the shed, that is the Ladies, is a great vibrant autumnal mix in perfect keeping with the season.

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