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The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence -

‘Be­gin on a midsummer evening. Let them have ev­ery­thing that is pleas­ant. The win­dows are open on to the ter­race and the lawn, and droop­ing bunches of wis­te­ria deepen from a washed mauve pink to pur­ple. The roses are in bloom. The meal is draw­ing to a close. The bowl of fruit has been plun­dered. A hacked yet noble slab of Ched­dar cheese, a flat­ten­ing liq­uid disc of Brie cir­cu­late slowly on a heavy round grey veined mar­ble slab. The salad wilts a lit­tle in its var­i­ous oils. There are crumbs and stains on the dark pink loose-wo­ven cloth. Dishes are stacked high by the Aga, in full view, should one wish to look that way, for this is a farm­house din­ing-room, and it is open plan, on the 20th-cen­tury, more or less ser­vant­less model. The painted moss-green walls glow in the fad­ing light. This is Eng­land, but Spain and Italy have coloured the dishes and dis­played their bowls and plates upon the wooden dresser, adding their cobalt Mediter­ranean blues and their hot mus­tard yel­low.’

MAR­GARET DRAB­BLE THE WITCH OF

EX­MOOR (1996)

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