Sunday, July 23, 2006

The new and the old - 23 July 2006

A new twist on the formal Box hedge gardenBroughton Grange garden is a private garden of some 25 acres that is only open to the public on a few occasions per year. Having seen features about the garden, it took us quite a while to locate opening time information and, having finally prevailed in that quest, we were not going to pass up the opportunity to visit when we could.

The ParterreIt is hard to believe that this inspiring garden was bare land in 2000.

The Marble SaloonThe next stop is also one with limited access, Stowe House. It is the centrepiece of the Stowe Landscape Gardens (National Trust) but is now a school – the one Christopher Robin, A A Milne’s son attended.

Stowe HouseIt is a place with a salutary tale of the rise from sheep farmers to aristocracy and then from the peak of opulence and wealth, two generations bankrupted the family resulting in a grand sale as the place was stripped. Fortunately, unlike some other grand estates, the house was spared, rescued by a benefactor, so once again; we took advantage of one of the few open days.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Farnborough Air Show - 22 July 2006

After a stiflingly hot morning, the rain and thunder clouds arrived on cue with the Red Arrows.

There was time to see the new Airbus A340 and then the giant of the piece, the A380,
Inside the A380The new Airbus A380
Ospreythe VTOL Osprey and the Apache helicopter doing acrobatics normally only associated with fixed wing aircraft before the rain set in properly and the temperature dropped dramatically. We had gone completely unprepared for such weather so, regretfully, beat a very soggy retreat home.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Thames Trips - 15 & 16 July 2006

Chelsea HarbourChelsea Harbour
Summer is always pleasant beside the Thames. We spent Saturday walking from Putney Bridge to Chelsea Harbour. Then moved away to explore the shops and markets of Fulham.

The London EyeTower Bridge

St Paul'sSt Katherine Docks
Sunday was another lovely day, so we did a hop-on hop-off boat trip from Westminster to the St Katherine docks. The dock area is so pleasant, almost another world within London.

The Tower of LondonPalace of Westminster

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Ironstone Villages - 8 & 9 July 2006

Great TewGreat Tew is a wonderful little collection of ironstone and thatch cottages spilling down a valley below “the big house” belonging to the Great Tew Estate.

Falkland ArmsWe walked around the village, checked out the Falkland Arms, the church with some rather lovely brasses and a beautiful marble monument, and the remains of an old engine house.

Great TewNext unusual spot was Aynho. Unusual in that many houses have espalier apricot trees on their street frontage walls as rent to the Lord of the Manor used to be paid in apricots.

Great TewThe church is very different, looking more like a grand house than a church. Unfortunately it was locked but given the size of the windows must be quite stunning inside.

Brasses at Great TewMonument at Great Tew

The National Trust property for the weekend was Farnborough Hall, reasonably unremarkable from the outside but with the most fantastic plasterwork ceilings and wall panels in some of the rooms. It also boasts a great terrace walk with wonderful views over the valley.

Aynho ChurchCottage at AynhoSunday saw us at Broughton Castle, the set for quite a number of movies and deservedly so. A full moat surrounds the site and some “castle” bits remain around the site of the old drawbridge but the house is from the 1300’s onwards.

Broughton Castle GardenWe were captivated by an amazing bed in the Kings Chamber, you can see a little of it on the web page. It is a fabulous piece of the modern wood-worker’s art.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Entertaining Family- 1 & 2 July 2006

Stonehenge - Photo: A BurtThe visiting family requested Stonehenge, a Cotswold village and Cambridge so that was the weekend plan. After being delayed an hour taking delivery of the people-carrier from the car renter we got off to a late start and headed for Stonehenge. Devizes

Once they had done the audio tour we left Stonehenge to the tourist throngs and headed north to Devizes. One of the visitors had done a Uni project on Caen Hill Lockscanals and locks so we stopped at the Caen Hill Locks, an amazing flight of 16 locks in a row (apparently the largest climb in Europe) and part of an overall set of 29 locks moving barge traffic up and down 73m.

Lacock - Photo: A BurtFrom there we stopped briefly at Sandy Lane, before heading to Lacock. This “film set” village is truly delightful, not even a TV aerial to be seen, presumably the custodians, the National Trust, have banned them.

Castle Combe
The last stop of the day was to provide a taste of the Cotswolds with a stop at Castle Combe. It was deserted as all the locals we clustered around King's CollegeTV screens in homes or pubs watching England drop out of the (soccer) World Cup: a great chance to get some shots uncluttered by people.

Sunday was the chance for our visitors to re-visit old haunts in and around Cambridge, ending the day with a punt on the Cam.
The Mathematical BridgeBridge of Sighs