It was dusk in the Peak District - more dusky than we'd planned due to the looming rain clouds - those ones that stuck around for the next six weeks and have been affectionately termed 'Summer'. I arrived at the house of Lesley and Dave feeling quite nervous as I was sans plan and hoping I'd be able to whip some 'family photo' inspiration out of the bag for when daughter Helen arrived. I needn't have worried about that. The instructions were clear - slice of life, not posed, with plenty to capture the garden in bloom. Phew. No need to panic about how to structure the evening. Nope - instead I just had to deal with that familiar friend of a worry - the one that accompanies 'slice of life' - that in the blessed state of relinquishing control - will I still find something to see? Luckily Lesley's work on the garden and her attentive touches did much of the work for me, and all three performed brilliantly at chatting away as naturally as is possible when ultimately you still know you are being watched.
I'd heard tales of Lesley's legendary hospitality, and was treated to a most generous sampling of it, with cups of tea (in family china) and elderflower cordial accompanying the tales of wider family whose presence was felt throughout the tour of the grounds. The green did my soul good - as it so often does - and I was even sent home with some lilacs and roses cut from the tended beds (to the delight of the bearded one who gets deliciously excited about fragrant blooms).
All images ©KateCooperPhotography2012