National Trust house between Wing and Leighton Buzzard
Desperate to take the new automobile out for a drive, we hit upon a visit to the National Trust property, Ascott House. The interior of the house was not open, but the gardens were. We had booked our visit time and managed to arrive late. Little issues such as setting the house alarm off as we left caused a delay. As is always the case, the traffic then becomes intense, so we could not get back on the road, and when we did we became stuck behind farm vehicles. It is harvest time.
No matter we arrived and were surprised at the number of people visiting, making it difficult to get those people free pictures of the gardens. Maybe I should do street photography where people are the star of that genre of photography. Not to worry, the garden was amazing, despite it being past its best. Lovely and warm, the sun was shining. As the day wore on it did become a little bit hazy.
I have been to this house before, probably in the last century. Rosemary visited with some friends just over a month ago. She wanted to show me around these fabulous gardens. Some very interesting fountains and some unusual ponds and displays in the Lynn Garden. The Lynn Garden is not your traditional garden, it definitely would be a fun garden to be in. I thing rugrats would definitly appreciate the large grassy earth mounds. Thankfully they were absent, back at school.
Sad to see all the yellow leaves on the chestnut trees, not autumn colours, but diseased leaves.
Nice to see a couple looking at our new car as we walked back. Didn’t think I would become a car bore.
Visited Upton House to see it dressed for Christmas. We try a different house each year, staying clear of the busy Waddesdon Manor which has the cheek to charge National Trust members.
The house was nicely decorated and had been done by the National Trust volunteers. Nice to know our money is being wisely spent. We must look to see where the baubles come from, they seem so much better than the ones sold in shops.
We also ate lunch in their cafe. This was rather disappointing. Previous meals have been good. I could not fault on quantity, my baked potato with tuna could have fed a family. It must have had a least two cans of tuna, and a huge potato. The potato was stale, presumably from another day, the tuna lacked enough mayonnaise and also lacked chopped spring onions. Nope, I did not finish eating it, unappetising and far too much. Rosemary did not fare much better.
Rosemary wanted to see a National Trust house dressed for Christmas. The most dressed house is Waddesdon Manor which we have seen many times. Last year we went to another house because Waddesdon started charging NT members to go around the house at Christmas. (This is probably the intention of the National Trust, so they can get more non-members in paying the full price.) R was outraged (even though she’s heard all about people booking free NT members tickets and then not turning up) so she insists we go to another house. So, this year we went to Canons Ashby in Northamptonshire.
The house was decorated in various different styles based on one of the many eras when the house has been lived in. The helpers were all dressed up in appropriate costume for the various eras of the house decoration. We wandered around playing with the children’s toys. Of course, the day ended with tea in the cafe and a search through the secondhand bookshop.
We had an excellent trip to Stoneywell National Trust House. The weather could have been a little better.
Lovely little National Trust house, with fabulous gardens. First off, you must book to come here, you can not just turn up. This is because of planning regulations and limited access. The car park is a little way off from the house, a mini bus will pick you up and ferry you to the house. They were waiting for us in the car park. The same on return.
You see the house with a guide in small groups. There were four in our group. The house was built of stone in 1899 and was originally thatch. After a fire the home was re-roofed in slate. The house is built into the rock of the nearby hill. The house is also a built as a zigzag, is not straight, it has no square walls, no right angles to be seen anywhere. Much of the furniture is original.
Up in the stables there is a small cafe where you can sit inside or outside. Alas we visited on the most miserable and cold day of the year, and we decided not to sit outside, and we also gave most of the garden a miss. We were told it was planted so there were some flowering plants at all times of the year. We did see snowdrops.
We definitely must go back on a warmer dryer summer day and see it when we can relax in the garden.
The staff were amazingly pleasant and informative about the history of the house. While we waited for the bus to take us back we had a great conversation with them.
Rosemary and I enjoyed the annual weekend away organised by the Berkshire Branch of the Cambridge Society. The weekend was in Carmarthenshire from May 16 to May 18. We met up with our friends at the Dolaucothi Gold Mines, old Roman workings, more modern Victorian workings and the 30’s mine. We took a tour through the old workings. On the way to the hotel we stopped off at Talley Abbey, a ruin. I managed to capture a reasonable image of a Nuthatch feeding its young in a small crevice in the ruin.
The evening was spent in the Cawdor Hotel in Llandeilo. The rooms were recently modernised, alas ours was a bit on the small size. The food was very good, and they even had draft real ale on tap. That is almost a first for a hotel.
Saturday we walked through some beautiful woods to Dinefwr Castle and then on to Newton House. Dinefwr was the original castle, which was left to decay after Newton House had been constructed. Some reasonable photographs of nest building Housemartins. After lunch we walked back to the hotel for our cars and travelled to The National Botanic Garden of Wales. This is the newest Botanic Garden in the UK, and was funded by the Millenium project. The site is based on Middleton Hall with many of the old gardens being recreated. The Great Glasshouse forms the centerpiece and was built where the old house used to be. This garden was a highlight of the trip, we really needed more time, there were areas we did not visit. I look forward to the trust raising money to reconstruct some old lakes. The glass house was used in the making of the Dr Who series ‘The Waters of Mars‘
Back at the hotel, another lovely meal accompanied by Welsh Harp music.
Sunday another garden, this time Aberglasney Gardens, another smaller but spectacular garden. All these gardens looked so fresh, and the blue skies definitely made them look their best. A good snack lunch and then on to the Gwili Heritage Steam Railway, where we had a ride up the track and back.