I spent the end of 2015 and the start of ’16 at my grandparents. On New Year’s Day we went for a ‘walk’ at Stowe. As well as the school it’s an enormous estate complete with sunken gardens, lakes and loads of monuments.
It is so big that we hired a buggy due to the big M having a baby in her tummy. It was well fun! I got to drive a little bit (shhhh don’t tell the national trust man). It meant that we got to see a large chunk of the gardens and be home in time for lunch!
The pox have scabbed over so we deemed it safe to escape the confines of the house. We went to Barrington as the big D wanted to look in their 2nd hand book shop for train books. He found loads.
It was good day to go. I got to make paper chains
Play with a model railway, make and throw paper aeroplanes and given the mildness of the weather play a game of tennis
And have a stroll round the grounds.
It was crazy the daffodils are blooming and there was a spring like feel to the gardens. Apparently the warm weather has been a contributing factor in the significant rise of chicken pox cases this winter – my interesting fact of the day!
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!
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!
Or to more cultural readers “Ou Phrontis” (am I bothered/why worry in Ancient Greek). I learnt this little motto today at Cloud Hill cottage near Bovington. It is etched above the door of Lawrence of Arabia’s front door.
He rented the derelict cottage and subsequently purchased the freehold in the 20s as a den to write in. He eventually moved in and renovated the downstairs to create a modest abode. He stayed there for the rest of his life until it was tragically cut short following a motorcycle accident. He entertained famous people like Thomas Hardy and George Bernard Shaw feeding them a blend of tea he made himself and picnic food. Today the national trust keeps this tradition by offering tinned olives, baked beans and snacks in return for donations. The big D tried a cup of tea. The big m wasn’t so brave!
It’s a cute little place and well worth a trip if in the area. I liked the bathroom the best. He installed the luxuries (a bath, shaving mirror, book stand) but not a loo! Nutter.
Oh we do like to be beside the sea! And hence when the sun shines we do what any self respecting Brit would do and don our shorts and head to the beach (along with the rest of the world and their dogs).
And what a jolly time we had. We got sand in our cous cous, sand in our shoes, sand in our drinks, sand on our blanket and everywhere else – when I had my bath tonight I found loads of sand somehow still attached to me – but nonetheless sand notwithstanding we had a great time digging holes, people watching and paddling. We had taken our swimming togs but decided it was a little bit too cold – we’re not that crazy – although a lot of people were! Maybe next time.
It’s the weekend and that means yet another National Trust property. Today we visited Shute Barton, and were very fortunate to do so since it only opens once every 100 years or so (well 3 weekends a year) as its predominately a posh holiday let.
It has the largest fireplace in England – 22 foot wide- bigger than the one at Hampton Court. Fire boys apparently would have lived in it ensuring that it was always stoked – here I am in the fireplace pretending to be a fire boy
For some reason you have to go on a guided tour around the house which lasts for 45 mins. I got REALLY bored and consequently didn’t get much past the kitchen. We had a very quick peek at the bedrooms but then went to play in the garden. It’s probably a really nice place to stay but I prefer the houses and gardens you can wander around at your leisure.
To take advantage of the beautiful weather, we took a jaunt to Lytes Cary Manor, just off the Podimore roundabout near our house. It was the first time we’ve been. It’s a gorgeous tudor house and with my new found walking skills I explored (in great detail) every bit.
We then went for a stroll in the garden. My favourite bit was the front garden which includes topary known as the 12 Apostles – 12 shaped hedges. I was hoping to have a picture taken walking amongst them… however, useless parentals left all photo taking devices at home.
So i’ve had to make do with this photo of me wearing the sticker I got.