A knight’s tale

We ventured out yesterday in the torrential rain and howling gale to visit yet another NT property – something to do with my cultural education.

We found ourselves at Knightshayes an estate just outside Tiverton in Devon. Despite the weather it was beautiful. A rolling view with ancient oaks which must look spectacular on a sunny day, a gorgeous house which had already been decked out for Christmas with a towering tree, oodles of presents and miles of greenery festooning every available surface. The kitchen walled garden also looked a treat but we didn’t quite get there due to the driving rain – however we had such a nice, albeit short, time we’ll deffo be back in the future. Here’s the most uninspiring photo of the car park in the rain which marked our trip!

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Handy-wilfred

Today was odd job day around the house so I took my trusty step ladder for a tour of all the light bulbs that needed replacing. (Please rest assured I was supervised during the climbing of the ladder – the big M has after all attended a health and safety course on safe step ladder ascension and descension in the work place).

A rose amongst thorns

Yesterday we were invited to lunch with my friends Xanthe and Thalia. They had their cousins and some friends staying; all of whom were girls. We got to eat earlier than the adults and I was therefore the only boy at the table of 7! I was the perfect gentleman and minded my manners. I helped Molly eat her fish fingers when she was full, chose the biggest yogurt for pudding (only chivalrous after all) and polished off all the left over pear. Yummy. I think I’ll dine with company more often as you seem to get more food!

Wilfred of Locksley

Another weekend, another castle! Luckily I’m rather partial to a ruin (it’s the archaeologist in my genes). Today we went to Old Wardour Castle nr Tisbury.


This is the only hexagonal castle in the UK – although a popular design on the continent. It was destroyed during the civil war. However, a number of staircases still exist and you can climb up to the fourth floor.
  
It was the castle used as the Locksley household in Hollywood blockbuster Robin Hood Prince of Thieves

There was also a grotto very similar to the one at Stourhead. I liked the grotto, but it was too cold to hang around. I think we’ll come back in the summer for a picnic.

Choo choo

I currently have a bit of an obsession with trains, which given the topic of the big D’s latest project is quite fortuitous

Consequently, on Sunday we took ourselves off on a day trip to Swanage Railway. We boarded the steam train at Corfe Castle and chugged our way slowly to the coast.


At the end of the line they uncoupled the loco and then reattached it to the other end and back we went!

 After a hugely disappointing lunch we had a wander round Corfe. Whilst I love being outside and exploring what was Enid Blyton’s inspiration for Kirren Castle in the Famous Five (the books the big M reads to me at bedtime- we’re currently on book 8 and Dick has just been kidnapped), the train was definitely the highlight of the day!

Purrfect

We’ve got some new additions to the household – two Siberian pedigree cats called Milly (brown)and Mathilda (grey), although we’ve nicknamed them malty and shedalot. Shedalot only has three legs, having lost an argument with a car a few years ago. Her back end’s a bit lopsided but other than that she copes remarkably well – jumping and climbing just as well as her four-legged sister.


We’ve inherited them from friends whose new son is incredibly allergic – despite them being hypoallergenic. That’s irony for you Alannis Morrisette.

They seem to have settled in well and are making themselves at home. I am enjoying looking after them which involves trying to catch them and stroking them when I can. They love it and me!


A very lucky boy

Yesterday I was an exceedingly lucky boy. For my birthday my godparents organised a private tour of Longleat Safari park whilst it was closed to the public. We consequently had the run of the place.

First of all we visited the tapirs. This is Eddie. He likes being groomed. I was too small to have a go myself.


Next up were the giraffes. Thor, the tallest, is 18 feet high! They have blue tongues and one tried to lick me. I think it was Gertrude.


We then jumped back in our landrover and went to see the lemers. There were ring tailed ones and brown ones. They were very naughty! Once we were back in the car Dougie the camel and Ethel the Ostrich tried to get in with us!

  

A cornucopia of animals s followed including the infamous monkeys, deer, flamingos, pelicans and wildebeest. But the next bit was AMAZING we were allowed into the lion houses. The first one only had 3 lions, but the second housed 33. The noise difference was immense. The lions followed me everywhere. I think they were licking their lips…



We also went to the petting zoo, where I held a snake, touched a tarantula, stroked an armedillo, fed a porcupine, trode on some meerkats and touched an anteater. I loved every minute.

In the evening we were invited to the champagne reception launch of the Festival of Lights. It started in the Great Hall where I saw the biggest Christmas tree I’ve ever seen. I still don’t know how they got it in! Then with the other 100 guests we made our way outside to watch 2 planes doing acrobatics and set off fireworks from their tails and wings. All I could say was ‘wow’! The lanterns were then switched on after a count down (which I was very good at!)

There are over 1,800 lanterns in total and they were built by a specialist team of 500 Chinese people. We saw some similar ones in Hong Kong, but these were better! There was a monkey kingdom, a 75 foot dragon, a coral reef (I tried to feed the fish my supper but they didn’t seem to want it) welcome gates, a pagoda made of 80,000 plates, a terracotta warrier homage, to name but a few.


  



A truly magical day and evening!!!!

(I will post more photos once received from my godparents)