We got up early today, sorted the chores then headed out to make the most of the day.
We drove to Ickworth House and enjoyed a lovely day exploring the expansive grounds.
The day started overcast and muggy but soon broke into beautiful sunshine and another scorcher!
Unbeknown to us there was an Alvis Members Club rally their today – Alvis is one of Richards all time favourtie cars so we were very lucky to be in the company of such beautiful machines as well as such beautiful surroundings.
There's lots more photos in my latest Flickr Set.
Here's a selection of photos taken by Richard…
Richard and I spent the weekend in the Midlands as our friend Rob turned 40 yesterday. He had a small soirée of friends and family gathered at his for a lovely evening garden party. Luckily for Rob and Chris the weather was perfect this weekend and everyone was out chatting, and enjoying the weather until late into the evening.
We took a drive to Upton House which is one of our favourite National Trust properties today and capitalised on the lovely weather. It got to 28 degrees and the cool air near the lakes and the pool were particularly welcome.
I think we've been there in all seasons now but I have never seen the gardens in such splendour. This is a true English country garden on the perfect summers day.
We then drove across to Canons Ashby but we had to stop when we saw this field ablaze with colour as it was full of wild poppies. I have never seen so much red in bloom all at once. We found a verge to park the car and take a few snaps before continuing our journey.
We took the tour of the house at Canons Ashby to enable us to cool off and thankfully we did as much more of the house has been opened to the public.
My parents gave Richard some money for his birthday so we decided to treat ourselves and have a cream tea (Canon Ashby's is particularly good).
As ever time was against us though as we had to head back home (it took 3 1/2 hours to drive back). That said it has been a fairly relaxing weekend and although we haven't been on the beach sun bathing, I do believe we have made the best of the weather.
Long may it continue.
I made the most of the brilliant sun light and beautiful landscapes and was a little snap happy today. You can browse my photo selection on Flickr.
The glorious bank holiday weather continues and today Richard and I spent the day in the company of good friends Rob and Chris.
We drove to Charlecote Park in Warwickshire which is one of our favourite National Trust locations.
I especially like the buttercup meadow and all the wonderful countryside. As you can see we had another lovely day
My run day was shifted to Sunday as we were out in the country with friends yesterday. We did spend about 5 hours wandering around Waddesdon Manor and its grounds and Richard and I spent a further hour or so walking around Bicester Village so it was a fairly active day.
As we were out socialising we did seem to eat more than we would usually and I wondered if this would have an effect on today's run.
I also went out after a morning of doing the weeks ironing and housework so I had used quite a reserve of calories before I got outside.
I decided to put on my new mock base layer as it was 5 degrees out with a wind chill that made it feel like 0 and yes it was cold. I didn't put on my gloves at the beginning and wish I had as my hands were cold to begin with. I needn't have worried though as once I got going I soon warmed up – even when it rained.
I completed two splits of 22 minute runs with one 1 minute walk in between. I covered 8K and had an average pace of 6:30 which is not bad considering all my worries!
Fastest song of this run was Acapella by Kelis but I am sure a few other songs helped motivate me through this run.
I'm going to try to do at least one long run mid week this week as I want to be certain I am happy with my progress for the MoRun. I know I can cover the 10k distance but have not run it continuously yet.
Best of luck to those I know who are running #RTTB and The Great South Run today. I am sure you all did very well! Maybe next year I might join you… Maybe…
If days were measured great by the sites seen and the food consumed today would be “Excellent”.
We planned to have a drive around Warwickshire, taking in a couple National Trust properties as we are currently interested in properties we have not seen before.
Our first port of call was Baddesley Clinton which is an atmospheric house which from the 15th century. It was full of priests holes and stories of murder and ghosts. The moated house was modest in size and had a fantastic garden full of wildfowl and numerous specimens.
Actually our first port of call was the tea room where I enjoyed a cheese scone and some tea – Richard preferred filter coffee and a flapjack ;0) This was walked off whilst wandering around the grounds only to be supplemented with a hearty lunch of leek and potato soup (for me) and salad (for Richard).
A very short drive lead us to another trust property – Packwood House. It was a stark contrast to Baddesley but just as interesting. The house itself was very interesting to wander around, packed full of oddities picked up on a world tour in the early 1900′s. The house dates from the 16th Century and features a wonderfully Alice in Wonderland-esque topiary garden.
We were very lucky to be serenaded by a chaffinch and I managed to get a fab shot of him mid song (I love the zoom on my Lumix camera!)
As we were in the area we decided to drive to Warwick – a place neither of us knew very much about. Arriving in Warwick it felt like we wouldn’t learn much either as most of the place looked closed.
There are grand roads of Georgian houses, a very grand church (although no cathedral as we had expected) and of course the castle. The castle which is owned by the Tussauds group which seems to the disgust of the locals. Whilst photographing the castle tower over the wall we were informed of ways to get in whilst saving money or how to get the best shots of the castle without even paying to visit (drop me a line if you want to know how!)
After an hour or two we decided to stop for dinner and made our way to Prezzo (one of my favourite high street chains). As ever the food was excellent and we returned home fat and full.
A truly wonderful day out. especially when we didn’t plan very much. Amazingly it’s all within 90 minutes drive of us too. We must visit again soon.
Well it’s turned out to be a lovely Easter weekend – the weather was no where near as predicated or as expected for a UK bank holiday.
We made the most of it on Saturday and took a drive up to Northamptonshire – a part of the UK neither of us have been to before.
Our first stop was Canons Ashby House and thanks to our new combination of TomTom Cradle + iPhone + Navigon, we got there very easily and efficiently (in fact I would say the Navigon is leaps and bounds better than our old TomTom).
Canons Ashby was first built by the Dryden family during the Elizabethan period, using stone from the Augustinian priory which previously occupied the site. The private church is all that remains of the priory and it does look odd as you really feel there is a huge part of the church which is missing. Of course we have Henry VIII to thank for this as it was ransacked during the dissolution of the monasteries.
After exploring the wonderful house we had a wonderful home made lunch before asking a volunteer what else she could recommend in the area. She kindly suggested Upton House so we made the 30 mile drive across to Warwickshire.
I don’t think we could have had such a big contrast in houses if we tried.
Uniquely among country houses owned by the National Trust it was acquired almost entirely for its art collection, and it is presented more as an art gallery than a private home. The collection was assembled by Walter Samuel, 2nd Viscount Bearsted, who owed his fortune to the fact that his father Marcus Samuel was the founder of the oil company Shell Transport & Trading. The collection includes paintings, porcelains and tapestry that you would normally find in a museum.
I was particularly taken with a Rembrandt hanging above the main stair case and a Venitian scene by Canaletto in the gallery.
Upton really was a 1920′s playground and this is captured wonderfully by the National Trust w ho make you feel very welcome here and invite you to take in the spirit of that time (but not in a corny reenactment way – we leave that for English Heritage!).
As you can see from the photo above, Richard took full advantage of the “Nook” – I must admit it was lovely to be able to sit back in front of the open fire and listen to the 1920′s tunes playing on the valve radio.
Yesterday we went into London where we met up with friends in Soho for drinks and then onto Cafe Emm for Sunday lunch. None of us were expecting much from the lunch but it was lovely.
I couldn’t believe how quiet it was in town yesterday. Of course most of the large shops were shut due to some bizarre law that the Catholics managed to get passed that means any shop over a certain size cannot open on Easter Sunday. This didn’t stop people trying though as smaller boutiques were open and there were plenty of people window shopping.
Apart from buying a birthday card in DV8 I don’t think we actually did any other shopping so the law works.
Yesterday was lots of fun and as always it’s great to catch up with good friends (even if they were checking out the “talent” in the Duke of Wellington!).
I did use Foursquare quite extensively yesterday so it you want to stalk me now you have an opportunity! (That’s my way of saying I am still not sure of the use of Foursquare but feel free to follow me if you want).
So the sun shone again and we left London bathed in spring sun and long shadows were falling across the ground. I guess it was the inspiration for me to take this shot of Richard. Just a simple snap on the train but I think it captured the mood perfectly:
So today is Easter Monday and this long weekend will soon be over. We’re not planning much today – I think we’ve achieved quite a bit this weekend and it’ll be nice to have a rest prior to heading back to work tomorrow.
What ever you do or did for Easter I hope you had fun.