Sunday, April 22, 2012

Windsor – 22 April 2012

Following on the stunning bluebell walk yesterday, we drove to Bisham Woods for another bluebell treat. The 'Exploring Woodlands' guide had a tempting photo of bluebells in Bisham Woods, but how, was a mystery to us, as we couldn't find any bluebells. But we did enjoy the views over Marlow, as well as the history of the woods – they were the inspiration for the Wild Woods in Kenneth Graham's 'Wind in the Willows'.

 As this is our last spring here, a final visit to Valley Gardens during azalea flowering was a must. The 'Punch Bowl' azalea garden is stunning, and a really tranquil spot on a sunny morning.

 Around the corner is Windsor, so we made another visit to the castle on our annual pass, after first taking another look around Eton, just over the Thames. Both towns are a snap-shot of historic England.

The Castle had a photo exhibition of 60 years of the Queens reign in 60 photos. Once again, we enjoyed the sumptous Semi-State Rooms, but even more the exquisite dolls' house owed by Queen Mary

Visiting the Neighbours Part II – 21 April 2012

Living in the Chilterns, means we are surrounded by beautiful, picturesque old towns. On the way to check out a new neighbouring town, we called by Denham. When we lived in London, it was a bit out of the way to call in to see how the wisteria was looking!

We discovered Gerrards Cross was probably our nearest movie theatre. As we've never had occasion to visit before, we were pleasantly surprised by the excellent shops there. Once in the theatre, it was an exclusive viewing of 'Salmon Farming in the Yemen'! Never before have we been the only patrons in a theatre!

 By the time we retuned home, the mid-day showers were over, and we enjoyed a walk through Philipshill Woods – bluebell woods on the edge of Chorleywood.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Visiting the Neighbours Part I – 6 April 2012

For the first time in the eleven years in the UK, we had no plans for the Easter Bank Holiday, but planned to take a 'staycation' anywhere sunny in the UK.

Unfortunately, apart from Friday morning, there was no sun forecast for the Easter break, instead it was to be cold, showery with heavy rain on Monday. So we refined the 'staycation' to actually staying at home.

Now that we live in the countryside, this was actually a pleasant option, and Friday morning saw us out starting a circular walk from nearby Old Beaconsfield, making the most of the sunshine.

The drive to Beaconsfield took us through Old Amersham, so we took a few photos on a better day than our last visit, and on to explore Old Beaconsfield. West of Chorleywood are many lovely market towns, which were busy
coaching inn stops on the days of horse and carriages. The towns are full of old coach entrance-ways, into the courtyards of the old inns. Although many entrance ways survive, only a few of these buildings are still inns today.   

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Watts Gallery & Chapel – 1 April 2012

A recent TV programme reminded us to visit Watts Chapel in Surrey. This was a life's work for Mary Watt, the wife of artist George Watts. It is a stunning terracotta building, made with clay found by their home, and every surface inside decorated. This is definitely a place to spend some time for reflection.

From here, we did an eight mile circular walk to Guildford and back. The walk joined the Wey canal for the last part of the walk. Along the canal in Guildford are several lovely pubs, so we were spoilt for choice for an relaxing lunch.

Suitably fortified, we climbed the hill to see the modern cathedral, started before WWII, and completed afterwards. Although plain stone, it nevertheless gives an idea what the major cathedrals must have looked like when fresh and new.

The return walk finished at the Watts Gallery. This gallery was built to exhibit his work, and after a recent makeover, it houses permanent and temporary exhibitions of the art of GF Watt.

Our favourite was 'The Hall of Fame'. This is a collection of Watts portraits of contemporaries. Many had photos beside them, which highlighted his skill as a portrait painter.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Amersham – 31 March 2012

The town of Old Amersham is a real visual treat. Just a few miles from Chorleywood, it has a feel of stepping back in time, with not a single building in the High Street, out of keeping with bygone eras. Much of it is instantly recognisable to addicts of TV dramas.

We did an eight mile circular walk, starting in the centre of town. The walk took us through a number of other smaller towns, apart from the lovely town of Little Missenden, none of the other towns came close to the appeal of Old Amersham.

Spring daffodils are nearly over in London, but out here, spring started later, and the daffodils are still at their peak. English countryside walking is nothing to do with a destination, just the enjoyment of the fresh air, the seasons and walking through appealing villages, and of course a pub lunch.