This morning I had to drive over to The Jessica Muir Gallery in Long Melford to collect one of my framed prints for a customer. I found Jean, the owner, unpacking a box of the most wonderful quirky little hen, cockerel and cat ceramic and wire sculptures – if you would like to see them dash over to the gallery, I'm sure they'll be selling fast.
As you can see it's a glorious sunny day here in south-west Suffolk, my route between Long Melford and my studio follows the Stour Valley and the lovely villages which nestle in the gently sloping wide river valley. I needed to do some shopping, so decided to take the opportunity to stop at the small town of Clare and call in to some of the many small shops in the streets around the square and churchyard.
This unpretentious shop is the bakers, it uses Marriages flour to make its dough – and that means the bread is extra flavoursome (just ask my under-gardeners – they eat Marriages mixed corn and Layers Pellets).
After filling my big shopping bag with vegetables and fruit from the little open fronted Greengrocers, I headed around the corner to the ironmongers. I love this shop! It's much bigger than you expect as it extends on and on at the back. It's the sort of shop where you wouldn't be surprised to see Ronnie Corbett behind the counter. I bought one of the brushes you can see in the photo and a big ball of garden string, the sort that smells of garden sheds.
Suddenly we're here in the season and sunny days and fetes on the village greens, tourists in camper vans and on bikes . . . the Chelsea Flower Show is about to open and summer has begun – Hurrah!
PS: My garden desperately needs some rain, but I don't want to spoil the party atmosphere!