A Poet and the Queen of Hearts

Sunday, 10 February 2013

With Valentine's day round the corner, I decided to get ahead of the mobs and take the husband out a few days in advance. Call me cheapskate if you like but it is the recession and we've been married a few years now so I thought using a Groupon voucher was fair deal. As part of his Valentine's pressie, I took Ed to afternoon tea at John Clare Cottage. The cottage in Helpston, the home of the poet,  was acquired by the John Clare Trust a few years.  It is now a creative hub and seeks to celebrate the life and poems of one of England's finest poets.

I like dressing up for no reason at all and our little visit to Clare Cottage for an early, low-key, Valentine's treat was no exception. My favourite fashion find in recent days is Miwa, a lovely Japanese lady, and her Etsy shop. Miwary, her brand, makes the quirkiest accessories ever. I'd been looking for an Alice in Wonderland teacup for ages and Miwa made me the most perfect one. Miwa's creations are inspired by country shabby chic and her love for the Japanese street style, Mori. She produces unusual and delightful hairbands, fascinators, rings and others little items and sells them all with a personal touch. I may have shocked/amused the good people of Helpston with my little hat but I think John Clare would have approved

I must add that the afternoon tea at the cottage was a lovely informal affair. The food had a touch of homemade loveliness to it and the staff (mostly volunteers) were friendly and engaging. And the scones were bloody marvellous! We also went for a little wander around the cottage, explored the gardens and read up on John Clare's life. Given the time of year, I think it is appropriate I share a few lines from his wonderful poem 'A World for Love'

And there to pluck the blackberry, and there to reach the sloe,
How joyously and happily would Love thy partner go;
Then rest when weary on a bank, where not a grassy blade
Had eer been bent by Trouble's feet, and Love thy pillow made.

For Summer would be ever green, though sloes were in their prime,
And Winter smile his frowns to Spring, in beauty's happy clime;
And months would come, and months would go, and all in sunny mood,
And everything inspired by thee grow beautifully good.

I'd recently borrowed a poetry book from our local library and I can't wait to soak up more of John Clare's words. As I've often said, this part of the UK is so under-sold and I think John Clare Cottage, Helpston and surrounding areas are all well worth a visit.

Hope you have a lovely week and go spoil yourselves this Valentines day, whether it's buying yourself a hat that makes you smile or spending an evening with a few poems and a glass of wine. Waiting to be spoilt is so 2012. Ann x

Coat & Jeans: Zara, Top: Cos Reverse Panel Top, Shoes: Vivienne Westwood Anglomania Lady Dragon Shoes , Purse: ASOS .All items purchased in the sale or pre-loved, except the coat


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