Last year I was overwhelmed with the number of bloggers who managed to find that magical venue in July – the lavender fields; a place where the sun always shines, the scent is heady, the gentle hum and buzz of bees that have been spoilt for choice is the soundtrack and the children can run free creating the ideal opportunity for some amazing photo memories.
During the week I discussed the phenomenon with a work colleague who happened to mention a place he has often driven past on the road from Selbourne to Alton in Hampshire. He mentioned driving past a sea of purples in high summer – a spectacle in an otherwise mundane series of roadside views through bog standard farmland.
I looked it up – it’s a place called English Hampshire Lavender at Hartley Park Farm near Alton, and lo and behold they were holding their annual open days this last weekend (4th & 5th July) and next weekend (11th & 12th).
The hubster was on late shifts (and I wasn’t sure it was his cup of tea anyway) but I had a little brainstorm and realised it would be the perfect opportunity to get together with one of my oldest and bestest friends and her husband – particularly because they are both hugely into photography and the lure of a cream tea!
Not only was it wonderful to visit such a beautiful place on such a glorious hot sunny July day, but it was a treat to be able to have such a backdrop for a reunion with my friends who I haven’t seen for the best part of three years. It’s true what they say, some friends may not be around for a long time, but when you get together you can pick up as if you never left off.
We had a lovely cream tea and the boys had cake and lavender biscuits before queueing up for the main attraction as far as the boys were concerned – a tractor ride. Unfortunately we hadn’t realised quite how long the rides would take and spent ages waiting before finding out that the 30 minute ride would be more of a history of non-lavendery bits of the farm – we couldn’t let the boys down though and endured a lengthy exposition on the state of British farming, quotas, points of historical interest and quite a bit of dust blowback. Several small children burst into tears after the first five minutes. I became anxious that the open day was drawing to a close and we would miss out on the bit we had really come for – a walk through the actual lavender fields.
Thankfully the people running the show were more than willing to let us take our time and we probably had better late afternoon light by the time we hit the fields.
The boys enjoyed blowing off some steam and dust but by this time they were flagging somewhat and eventually we realised that we had been at the farm for over three hours and decided to call it a day and head homewards (me hoping desperately that all that soporific lavender would send the kids off to a sound night of solid slumber!).
Here is a selection of my favourite shots (apologies for the onslaught of purple madness to follow!):
I even got to bring a little bit of the experience home with me…
Linking up to What’s The Story over on Podcast Dove