In these strange and surreal times, when the world has been put out of kilter by the terror of an unseen enemy, we feel very lucky to be able to hole up in the Dog & Dome headquarters in the glorious Peak District National Park where it is all too easy to put the horrors of this virus to the far reaches of our minds. With the gorse flaming yellow on the hillsides, the curlews gliding and warbling their wonderful calls overhead, the peewits squeaking and pirouetting and strutting in the slowly grassing-up fields and the lambs bleating and cavorting, it seems more like a rural idyll here than a refuge from the horrors of the world outside. We feel very blessed to have a garden surrounded by moorland in which to stretch our legs and admire the Spring growth and feel keenly how awful it must be for those holed up in high-rise flats with no ready access to fresh air. We have been ringing and writing to isolating friends, relatives and colleagues and re-connecting in this way has been rather lovely and an unexpected positive of this crisis.
Yards from our house is a wonderful footpath onto the moors, lined by wild blueberry bushes.
Hamish is the resident cat at the Dog & Dome headquarters. He enjoys prowling around the garden and is quite agile walking on the walls.
Being based in the same house (Flora fled her gardenless Marlow flat before the lock-down), we have been able to discuss new projects and ideas and admire together our new range of cushions, or enjoy the satisfying crisp rustle of our newly delivered Dog & Dome orange logo tissue paper in which our products are now going to be carefully wrapped before sending.
We are excited that Arthur Parkinson, who we avidly follow on Instagram for his wonderful posts of his exquisite bantam hens and fabulous flowers, has graciously agreed to let us collaborate with him on a range featuring his hens. Arthur has a marvellous pedigree and has worked at Kew Gardens, with Emma Bridgewater at her factory garden and works often with Sarah Raven, the celebrated plantswoman.
Arthur Parkinson's chickens sitting with our Golden Syrup Cushion
We are looking forward to adorning the garden with some of her plants once this crisis has passed. Catriona has been putting Flora to work on digging some of the overgrown flowerbeds whilst she shins up the fruit trees for a spot of pruning.
When we first came to this house after leaving London 22 years ago, there was no garden, just a scrappy bit of weed-infested land which we planted up and laid out and seeded, but after rather too many years of allowing it to do its own thing, the garden is looking in need of a bit of attention. However, it is a haven for wildlife and the birds that flock here are the main inspiration for so many of Catriona’s pictures. In our gardening, we haven’t yet discovered the ancient tunnel that supposedly joins our house to a neighbouring hall where priests were able to come and go secretly to say mass, but we have found some lovely bits of old china, and old bottles and we still hope to discover the monks’ treasure as the house was built in 1663 on the site of a monastery. The china and bottles may make their way into some of Catriona’s pictures. She has been enjoying featuring the Spring flowers and found a beautiful abandoned nest whilst pruning which is sure to feature in a picture soon.
We are delighted that our followers are growing and kind people have been visiting the website and purchasing and we fervently hope that the awfulness of coronavirus will soon be over and we can all focus on a brighter future.