15 Sep Oh Lordy, how I love lavender!
Lavender makes me really happy. I love the smell of it. The way it dances in a summer breeze. Its colour as it deepens to the richest purple before fading to grey.
Not for me the associations of stale lavender-scented talc in old ladies drawers (of whichever kind!).
To me, lavender screams SUMMER as loudly as fresh basil, swimming in the sea and lunch-time barbeques that finish at midnight.
As rosemary is to the spirit,
So lavender is to the soul.
So, visiting the Lordington Lavender farm was like taking a mini trip to heaven. Lordington is 17.7 miles from my house. I didn’t need to get on a plane/train combo to the South of France. Just a short Sunday morning car ride and we were there.
I could smell the field before I saw it. The tractor-trailer that had bumped us up from the bottom field car park to the lavender field deposited us in a surprisingly untidy farmyard. They knew we were coming. Lordington Lavender Open Week had been advertised on grass-verge signs for weeks. So, we had come – lots of us – and yet the farmyard looked as lived in as it would on a rainy November Tuesday. Which is because, I then realised, when you own a field of lavender, no one (well no one normal) will remember anything else.
Out of the farmyard, down a muddy slope and towards the scent… that unmistakable smell of ripe summer.
The field, and it is just one, lay on the side of a gently sloping hill. Even 15 minutes after opening, its rows were dotted with people. Children ran between the lines of lavender, hands trailing to release the scent, not caring about the bees enjoying their nectar brunch.
This was one field. We had all paid £6 to see it. Tea and cake was extra. Yet all I saw were smiles. Lavender makes people really happy. Not the stale stuff in cheap Christmas talc. The real stuff, the lavender that smells of lazy days in the South of France and summer at its most ripe.
We feel summer pleasures more intensely because in the rain-soaked days of an English ‘summer’ they are so often just out of reach and when present they can pass so quickly that their September memories feel more like a dream – as it was with Lordington. My mother-in-law returned two days later and the field had been cleared. Every stem of lavender harvested to be pressed and squeezed and generally drained of its essence to produce oils and balms.