The Game Fair was at Ragley Hall this year. We believe this is now a permanent venue. The show ran from 21st July to 24th July. This year we arrived on the first day the campsite was open, Wednesday. Most of the site was fairly empty. Thursday was a peaceful day reading books on a hot sunny day. We luckily had decided to take the awning for shade.
Friday the show opened, and we took the tractor towed trailer up to the show to save walking. There was a short ceremony in the main arena at 10.00 am with a shotgun salute.
We spent Friday looking around the show, finding somewhere to eat. I’m sure the show was smaller than usual. Many gun shops had decided not to attend, the cost of the stand and the potential of Covid restrictions forcing social distancing made many think the risk was too high. The food area was a bit of a disappointment. In the past you could pick up a nice lunch, this year seemed few were selling meals while loads were selling gin.
We did spend quite a time looking at the dogs, and their retrieval performance. We left after lunch on Saturday. Sunday was going to be the Kingswood Gun Club 40th anniversary celebration.
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.
Today we travelled to Fillongley to scatter Margaret and David’s ashes. It had been arranged with the new owners of Margaret & David’s former house that we could scatter their ashes in the garden. Very gracious of them.
We arrived in time for cakes and coffee in the neighbouring farmhouse belonging to the Bagleys who had been so helpful to Margaret and David in the days before M&D left their house and went into residential care. Ron and Mary, Gilly, Dan and Audrey, plus Brenda also came.
Suitably fortified, we made our away across to M&D’s house & garden and chose two trees to scatter the ashes around and marked the places with a scattering of carnations.
After the scattering we all went for a very enjoyable Sunday lunch at the Cottage Inn, where we toasted Margaret & David.
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.
A last-minute invite for a weekend away by Bill and Viv. (We are always available at the last minute!) We were to meet them, plus Valerie and Norman at the National Trust’s Upton House and Gardens. There was to be music on the lawn. We arrived ahead of schedule and sat on the lawn in expectation. Eventually a solo singer female singer with backing music track came on. Not particularly inspiring. We then had a wander around the groundsbefore going into the house on our booked ticket. We had been to Upton House back in 2011. The theme of the house had been tragically changed. In 2011 it was very much themed on upstairs and downstairs. This time the theme was on how Lord and Lady Bearstead had upgraded the house. It was not so inspiring, and this time I could not play on the snooker table ☹. There were also an exhibition from the Country Life magazine, with one glaring error, where The Flint House on the “Waddestone estate” was located in “Bedfordshire”! Rosemary appalled. I must hasten to state this was not a National Trust error, but Country Life’s error.
Our friends arrived, and booked their tours, we all had tea and I don’t think anyone saw the solo singer on the lawn other than R and I.
My pictures this time were all from the garden, which we never looked at in 2011. The Garden is on a steep hill with some sharp drops. From the house you don’t see the valley and the ponds, when you walk out over the lawn you come to a six-foot unfenced vertical drop which then continues on down to the ponds. It is all rather fabulous.
After leaving the house we went on to the nearby pub / hotel of The Castle at Edghill where we sat and drank some Hook Norton ales, and looked out over the battlefield. Revived, we set of to Leamington Spar to stay the night at Bill and Viv’s where I was entertained with a Negroni and we all ate an excellent fish stew. Oh, and I was entrusted to choose the music!
Compton Verney and Rowlands Emett’s Marvellous Machines
So on the Sunday we all went to Compton Verney which we had visited with Bill, Viv, Norman and Valerie back in 2016. This time, there was an exhibition of mechanical devices, ranging from a minute, walking Faberge Elephant owned by the Queen to larger room-sized Marvellous Machines constructed by the artist Rowlands Emett. All highly entertaining.