BYO Picnic Basket Party!


gate to gardens of stourhead

September 18, 2016: And finally the big day arrived, Sunday dawned bright, blue and sunny . . . the day we’d been planning since last February . . . our BYO Picnic Basket Party! Where the question would finally be answered, “Would anyone be Painting Beatrixthere besides us?” Either way, we knew we’d have a wonderful time! A picnic is a picnic, after all, totally a win-win, but we were really hoping to meet people we’ve only known through the Blog, Facebook and Twitter ~ our faraway friends. We knew we had three important things to remember in a toast. First off, we wanted to make a little salute to Capability Brown . . . who designed this dynamic garden at Stourhead ~ it’s the 300th Anniversary of his birth! And of course, it’s our darling Beatrix Potter’s 150th Birthday Anniversary this year . . . and we also wanted to raise our glasses to missing friends, to all of you, to Deb in Wales, and especially our Twitter Girlfriend Karen💖.a gardenimg_0668I could almost taste the fragrance of fresh-mown grass as everyone began arriving to the constant refrain of wood pigeons cooing musically, “My-toe-huts-Bettee.” Families and friends, husbands, sisters, and children, expats, newlyweds, Birthday Girls, and 50th wedding-anniversary-celebrators were here ~ counting everyone we had 55! It was a sit in! You can see Siobhan way out there in the hat, and Ray is closer, in the middle, kneeling in a blue dress with her white hair. We think it was about 40% Americans.  Can you believe this setting?  I know! It’s amazing. I promise not one speck of Photoshop was used in the preparation of this blog! (Actually it never is, but this one is especially hard to believe! You would think, “Let’s put a grass bridge here, add a lake, pop in some ducks, frame it all with lawn and trees, add Apollo’s Temple in the way back, film Pride and Prejudice here, and voila!”) img_6621

We were lucky because just as the sun was getting a little too bright and warm for comfort, it dipped behind some English clouds and stayed there, making it perfect sweater weather for the rest of the day! We wandered from blanket to blanket visiting and sharing food (and I have photos of all of it 😜!).  Some people brought books for me to sign and yes, there were gifts, like this delicious homemade muffin these little dolls were giving me . . . that’s Siobhan in the hat behind them, looks like she is telling a good story . . . and that’s Paul there on the stool, in his British picnic finery.img_6666

Petey and Mini JackOur Blog Girlfriend, Nicoline, came from the Netherlands with her husband Gabriel, and brought Petey’s brother with them! We were laughing because they thought he was scary looking and we think ours is too!  We don’t like to have them in the room with us while we sleep! But we both brought them with us anyway!friendsimg_0679

Here we are, class of 2016, assembled in this magical place like a fairy tale come true . . . I know some of you will recognize some of them.  It’s impossible, but here we are, from Colorado, Salt Lake City, and Oregon, from Oxford, Cheshire, York and Kent, Scotland and Wales and Holland, and all over the place!  It’s a fact!words fairytale dream

img_6652See that smile on me? It never left my face, my cheeks ached (in the very best way) at the end of this day! Here I am with our Girlfriend Janette (who made the most darling little book bags for everyone) ~ this is how it was, blanket-to-blanket, sitting, eating, and gabbing for Englandhours . . . I have so many more photos, pictures of us toasting, of Rachel handing out the freshly baked Sugar Moon salted caramel (and some even gluten-free), homemade Brownies she made for everyone! . . . there are pictures of cute quilts, tea sets, and picnic baskets, of Ann and Alan, Carrie and Stuart, Heather, Gabi, Susan and Bob, Morwenna, Cadie, Joann and Rod, englandnames you recognize if you’ve hung around here long enough! Kindred spirits all, Bernie, Karen and Rosie, Katrina, Paula and Burnell, Olivia, and Joy were all there . . .  to name a few . . . I’ll have to save these photos for another time.