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Yes, We Have No Bananas | Monday early afternoon (Open)

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The great glass windows supported in their metal frames let in the weak winter sun whilst keeping out the brisk breezes, lending a luxurious warmth to the outdoor-indoor space that was the orangery. The air was moist as well as warm, the great orange trees in their large pots carefully tended so that they would produce their treasure-trove of exotic fruit in the summer, unhindered by lack of water or blight of frost. A few orange flowers lent an exotic citrus scent to the air.

Between the great pots, stone benches were set so that courtiers might come and enjoy the sunshine without the need to brave the outdoors, and in the centre was a statue of a nymph and two sets of wrought iron tables, painted white, with matching chairs, that one might sit and take tea and enjoy the ambiance of the orangery.


As soon as she stepped into the orangery with Crystal under her arm, Anne-Elisabeth closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Palm trees and beaches danced before her eyes and for a few short moments, she almost believed that she was back in Barbados. Sometimes she missed her home dreadfully. It was so much more beautiful than England. Instead of snow, it had pristine white beaches. Instead of endless cold and rain, it had the heat of the sun. The smell left something to be desired in both places, but she preferred the sharp scent of fish over the disgusting stench of the river.


When she was more established at court, she planned to visit the island again, but she doubted she would ever live there again. Court life was too appealing and she she knew that she would find herself longing for the excitement before too long. Maybe when she was a jaded old woman, she would trade the hectic pace of court for the leisurely tranquility of Barbados. For now, she would seek places like this orangery when she wanted a taste of home.


The kitten squirmed and Anne-Elisabeth set her down. She immediately bounded away to explore. This was not the first time she had brought Crystal to the Orangery. It was a great place for her to run around and get some exercise without the danger of wandering off and getting lost. Her white fur was easily seen among the green of the exotic plants. During yesterday’s visit, the young Countess had to retrieve the little feline from a tree that she had climbed, and she doubted that Crystal would try that again. The only other trouble she had gotten into was using one of the larger pots as a litter box. As it was free fertilizer, she didn’t think the gardeners would mind even if they saw it buried in the soil.


Anne-Elisabeth walked down one of the pathways, every now and then stopping to gaze at one of the plants. The banana plants always caught her eye, for they grew quickly and were always larger each time she saw them. As she reached out to touch one of the leaves, she wondered if this one would defy the odds and produce edible fruit. Though she knew next to nothing about gardening, the orangery was inspiring her to learn more. She was thinking about asking one of the gardeners for a few assorted plants to put in her garden in Cornwall. It was a bit warmer and sunnier there and her estate was right by the sea. Maybe they would have a better chance to thrive there.


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