They said it was the last summer day of the year. And we were jubilant about Henry’s newfound willingness to Eat Some Things Some of the Time (his own fork, and a seat at the table. That was what he was holding out for. The cad). So, a Saturday picnic? Obvious.
We went to The Vyne. It’s an old Tudor manor house in Sherborne St John, though really we went through the house as an afterthought. We were there for lunch on the front lawn. The sky was a Van Gogh swirl of white and blue, and we sat under the shade of a big oak to eat sandwiches and grapes and ice cream. They had a walled garden with a little hut full of children’s toys and a croquet set, and deckchairs at strategic places to admire the view. Henry did not fall into the lake even once, though not for lack of trying. What a victory.
Later, in the house, I played Gymnopedie No. 1 on a piano from 1840. When Frederic Chopin – my favourite, favourite – toured London in 1848, he played two pianos of the same kind. Rather better than I did, I suspect, and I don’t have the excuse of lung disease.