The guilt-trip

At 10am this morning I went into Daughter’s room and asked her what she was up to this morning. “Marking,” she said. I’d thought so. Besides her day job she also lectures for the Open University and this year she has third-year students which means extra work as it’s dissertation time. Although she came to stay  “for about a year” at the end of last summer, she now spends more time away than she does here, and is off to Bedfordshire later this afternoon where she’ll be for around ten days. I’d hoped that she might suggest a coffee somewhere – a bit of mum and daughter time – so  tried not to look too disappointed and took myself back downstairs and settled down with the Sunday papers.

At 10.30 my phone pinged with a text: Daughter. If I’d done that she’d have told me I was lazy!  ‘Want to go out for a bit?’ asked the text. Yes I did!

“Where are you going, “asked Husband.

“On a guilt-trip,” I told him. Daughter claimed that it was nothing of the sort but I think it was a little bit – she was just being kind!  We decided on Mappleborough Green Garden Centre, just a couple of miles or so away. It used to be a run-down little place of the old-fashioned nursery type (not that there’s anything wrong with that – you often find that the staff in such places are more knowledgeable about plants which, after all, is the purpose of their existence). Then, a short while ago it was taken over and a big renovation programme took place. You could say that it began to blossom! Despite its proximity to home, Daughter had never been there.

MG 1

In the coffee shop the cakes looked divine, the salad bar fresh and and the meals sounded very good. We resisted and just had coffee and then went for a look in the shop. Not dissimilar to many garden centres (what a misnomer that has become, though to be fair this one has a good sized outdoor plant area), the merchandisers are still to be congratulated on how attractive it all looked. Both Daughter and I love to look at so-called artisan foods, a term used to describe that which is not mass produced, using traditional methods instead.




We picked up a few bits and pieces including Spiced Garlic Pickle. I’ve bought this before and it’s hot-hot-hot as it contains a large quantity of sliced garlic cloves but soooo good! I’m looking forward to it with cheese and crackers. There were also locally produced wines and cordials



A display of tableware caught my eye. I was very taken withe the lemon dish (in the bottom right hand corner) and could picture it filled with lemons and limes. Then I thought about the 1930s green glass dish which I use for that purpose and how that one would end up sitting unused in a cupboard and that would be a shame because I like it. I have too many dishes already thanks to a habit of buying chinaware that I’ve fallen for in Spain or Portugal, so reluctantly, I put the dish back down,


A little further on we came to another feature of the modern garden centre – the clothing area. You have to wonder why they started selling clothes. I do find, however, that they are often quite nice clothes! Nothing in particular  appealed enough to make a purchase, though I did admire a long flowing cardigan but daughter said it looked like a dressing gown and I decided that she had a point!

Another standard feature seems to be the books and card section. I think these 3D cards are great.


Back home Daughter ironed a few items, packed her bags and left me to miss her again.


  1. I love garden centres like that. There’s the plants which are always great to look at but also so many other pretty or interesting things and they’re usually good for a card or two. Browsing is such great fun.


    • I could spend hours in a good garden centre, spend a small fortune and yet still come away without a single plant!


  2. I’m glad you got to spend a little time with your daughter before she had to go away, again. I am intrigued by the concept of a garden center that sounds more like a cross between a cafe and a regular store! I don’t think we have anything like that, over here!


    • It’s interesting that you should be intrigued by what is very common here. There are several such places on the outskirts of our town, some much grander than others. Even small plant nurseries often have a cafe. There are places that just sell plants (and less expensively) but most are moving towards the food/gift store style. Some even have playgrounds for the children and picnic areas. People tend to use them as somewhere to visit at the weekends and maybe buy a plant whilst they are there. The plants are almost incidental.


  3. What a lovely time you had with your daughter, something I can’t have as we have two sons! And what a lovely garden centre. I think I’d have been temped with the lemon dish!!!
    Margaret P


  4. I’m late with this comment, but I’d enjoyed your post where you talked about how shopping was in the past, where you’d go to individual stores like Boots, Timothy Whites, hardware store etc. and it would be more of a long outing. It reminded me rather happily of the past. I do enjoy the supermarket experience with everything in one store or on line nowadays, but I did enjoy the past where we would catch the bus with a list and go from store to store and end with a leisurely coffee and toasted tea bun and bus home. I enjoy your blog. I’m in Canada, but grew up in the UK.


    • Yes, there is room for both kinds of shopping, Jean. I like supermarket shopping (in a good supermarket) but also love a market town with individual shops though they’re few and far between today. Unfortunately I don’t think they will survive. Thank you for your kind comments on my blog. I am always touched and surprised that people are happy to read my witterings! I have never been to Canada, but I have friends who have visited and loved it, and my daughter has been to Vancouver and enjoyed the experience.


  5. I could happily spend a couple of hours browsing in a good large garden centre. Husband’s not so keen, he’s more of the ‘grab what we need and go’ type. Glad your daughter felt a tiny bit guilty and you both had a nice bit of quality time together!


    • Me too, Sue. We have a very large one in Wychbold, about 10 miles away and honestly, I could spend a day there (though I’d like lots of monty to spend)! Husband occasionally shops with me but I’d have to say that it’s not his favourite activity. Yes, I think she did feel a tiny bit guilty.


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