By far the hardest part of moving away from the area where our children were born and where they went to primary school was moving away from the friends who’ve chugged along with us on the roller-coaster parenthood journey. I miss their easy company, the laughs and the camaraderie. Luckily we do still live near enough to meet up halfway and we try to arrange to get together as often as possible. One good friend and I have been steadily working our way through various gardens and places of historical interest that are roughly equidistant to walk, discuss our children’s exploits and life in general, and have lunch; the most recent one was Great Comp Garden near Sevenoaks.
The garden was glowing with autumn colour from salvias, dahlias, asters, grasses, shrubs and trees, and I kept stopping to take photographs while my friend stood waiting patiently. We caught up on our news as we meandered along the woodland paths and through the garden areas. The grounds apparently cover 7 acres but we didn’t have time to see it all. We also didn’t have time for cake so we’ll have to meet there again in spring to see the magnolias and hellebores, which are meant to be fantastic.
The garden was created by Roderick and Joy Cameron who moved to the 17th-century manor house in the late 1950s. It’s now run by a charitable trust which relies on the entrance fees and donations for the garden’s upkeep. The house isn’t open to visitors but the garden is from 1st April to 31st October, plus a few other days. You can find out more here. If you’re interested in salvias, this is the garden to visit – there are loads of different and unusual varieties and you can buy most of them in the nursery.
Ok. I’m about to have a rant. Skip to the end if you wish…
If you’re on Instagram, you can’t fail to have noticed the increase in ‘sponsored content’, otherwise known as adverts, and the fact that you don’t get to see what the people you follow post when they post it. Sometimes a pic will appear a few days after the event. I’ve also noticed an increase in ‘advertorials’ among the accounts that I follow. I’m getting extremely cheesed off with this. I loved the immediacy of Instagram, the inspiring photo with a bit of text, little windows onto other parts of the country/world, little insights into others’ lives – it’s quicker than blogging and a lovely way to get a dose of inspiration when you have a few minutes to scroll through photos. I like being able to quickly share how gorgeous the sea/sky/etc is looking today, or cake, or things on my mind, etc, without many words. And, as through this blog, I’ve found a lovely community of like-minded people.
If I choose to follow someone, I want to see what they post when they post it; I do not want my feed curated by some algorithm. I also do not want to see adverts and I find it irritating/disappointing when people mention their stats, how many followers they have, how their grid is looking (or changing their content in order to appeal to more people) and I really don’t like people trying to promote stuff because they’ve been paid to do so. I don’t care what type of coffee they’re drinking (because they’ve been paid to promote it), I don’t care what their kids are wearing because they’ve been sent a load of clothes, I don’t want a review of an event or book because they’ve been given a freebie in return for promoting it. They’ve sold out to the man. I’m so cross about it that I’ve unfollowed some accounts and I ‘report’ every advert (when I have time!). Do they think we’re fools? Or sheep? Or both?
What I want is honest, authentic, genuine recommendations (‘I’ve just read this book from the library, it’s brilliant!’), or just beautiful photos. I’m thoroughly fed up with Instagram being commercialised. It’s obviously Facebook’s fault. Bloody behemoth social media companies; I hope they eat themselves. I used to love Instagram and now I don’t.
You may wonder why I don’t just take myself off IG altogether. Well, I might but there ARE some genuine, funny, charming and inspiring accounts that I’d miss. For the time being I’ll try to ‘curate’ my own account!
If you’re still reading, thanks. I feel better for getting that off my chest. Hope your week is going well.