I waited with anticipation near the cafe in a little spot of sunshine. I saw a blond woman in fantastic pumps walk up to the caf and I called her name. She turned round and it was Susan, the first of my wonderful walkers to arrive. She was followed by Elaine, who I feel I know but we still haven’t worked out where from. She’s a bubbly, vivacious woman, full of chat. Susan followed (known as Blue Susan by Antonia as two Susan didn’t seem as polite ?). Susan and Susan booked together and Sarah and Elaine booked together. They wanted to share the experience as gifts as a way to catch up in a different environment where they could truly relax and be present for each other. Sarah arrived shortly after and the air sparkled with chat. We could have stayed chatting all morning but there was exploration to do! We walked together to the roses, smelling their late-summer perfume and marvelling at their delicacy.
We passed through stunning pine trees and breathed in the aromatic essential oils discussing the immune boosting properties of the forest’s air, outdoor spaces and the simple habit of walking regularly. The sun shone on our shoulders and faces and all felt well with the world. We chatted about the ground beneath our feet and it’s connection to Huntley. My excitement built as I anticipated their reaction to Huntley. We arrived to Oohs and Ahhhs, just what I’d hoped for! It really is a surprising place! As we wandered around the back to the new private bathroom to wash our hands (the hot water had just been connected the night before!), their eyes sparkled at the prettiness of the ancient barn and neatly stacked logs.
Appearing through the potting shed Antonia greeted everyone warmly (from a safe distance, naturally) and brought us through to the garden where lunch was laid out, colourful and enticing. Antonia served us and we moved to sit at the outside table. Chat and laughter rippled into the odd guffaw as we ate and chatted about Huntley, the garden and these challenging times. We walked barefoot on the warm lawn and mused on gardening, plants and the meaning of life until it was time to leave and lose ourselves once again in the beauty of Lady Dixon Park.