Once Upon

Once Upon

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Feature Imperfect...

Along with uncalled-for recreational visits to the garden centre and unnecessary sojourns in B and Q, periodical 'nice day outs' to National Trust properties and their gardens have insidiously become an occasional feature in my mortal existence. I am ashamed.
Twas a sunny day, and we had determinedly made vague plans to 'do something'. So off we went.
First, we went to a local popular beauty-spot and lake-side recreational area. An inland stretch of water bordered by broadleaf deciduous woodland, that despite it's busy human visitation and 'managed' operation,  still retains a character of pleasant 'natural' environment.
The sparkling waters were well decorated with a surprisingly large number of Mute swans gliding serenely about......un-concernedly approaching us and clearly expecting us to add to their natural diet of sandwiches and crisps as we sat at the water's edge.
A fair smattering of Canada geese were also dotted around, along with a few Greylag. A solitary Tern flashed about, and some busy Moorhen were dabbling.
Further ornithological observations were somewhat hindered by the constant audible enjoyment of brightly plumaged happy families seeking THE perfect spot for their swing-ball and picnic.
Anyway, as we circumnavigated the lake through the sun-dappled woods lining the shore, I mentally tick-listed the large variety of mature trees that made up the multi-greened mantle that surrounded the blue glistening water. All the usual suspects, and very nice too.
As we returned to the woodland car park, and the facilities were visited, I noticed a small flock of sun-hatted elders sitting in a semi circle amongst the beeches. Intrigued, I quietly approached not wishing to spook this potentially timid gathering,  and as I neared the assembly, realized they were all dabbing away at artists easels. An art group's day out. A rare and pleasing sight. I backed away without disturbing them.
A short drive through blissfully stunning countryside, all lushly verdant and sun-soaked, being worked by sleeve-rolled farmers, whitened sheep newly clipped, and all rural cliche beautifully
 pictured and framed in a hedge-rowed English country idyll.
We arrived at the National Trust estate and were funnelled into the car park area, which I suspect boasted an acreage equal to the actual featured site.....and were parted from a substantial amount of pocket money as we queued for entry to view what we were told was our historic and social heritage.

 We made our way past the historic tea-shop/cafe complex and gift shop and with many others, headed for the well signposted
quiet beauty of the peaceful walled garden.
To be honest, the walled garden and its approaches were actually very much to be enjoyed.
The walled garden itself magical and beautifully tended, with just the right amount of 'wild' meadow type areas balancing the more formal parts.....glasshouses, water-features and subtle statue-ism......stunning floral displays......all very, very  pleasant.

Made me want to be dressed in crumpled linen suit with sun-hat and pince-nez,  louchely wandering with book of poetry in hand.....all in soft focus.......with an underscore of Purcell.
Anyway........we had tea and scones by the potting shed in the shade of a loose-limbed Rowan.......(after parting with another bucketful of pocket-money).
We then determinedly entered the Country Seat and principal purpose of the N.Trust activity.......and again were actually genuinely captivated by the experience. The manner by which the grandiose premises were presented, and the information imparted was very well done.  Interesting and engaging, the whole self-guided visit around the 'other world' of the gentrified, was thoroughly enjoyed.
Even more disturbingly, my covert liking for Imari style porcelain was reinforced after viewing superb examples housed therein.
I know, I am gradually turning into an old lady.......which is unsettling for all concerned......as I am actually a bearded bloke.

We emerged from this historic and culturally absorbing architecturally stunning Country Hall into the beautifully evocative lawned garden, overlooking a wonderfully landscaped and peaceful parkland estate vista.......to be met with families playing football on the lawn and bored teenagers squatting on the garden stonework, texting or plugged into I.pods.
We made our excuses and left.

1 comment:

Stewart M said...

Great pictures - the depth of the colours is splendid!

Used to live and work in this part of the world - but that was a long time ago!

Cheers - Stewart M - Australia