Saturday, 28 February 2009


It is a damp and drizzly day in May 2008. We have arrived at Cliveden and just eaten a picnic lunch sitting in our car in the rain. We have come to visit the gardens only, as this magnificent house is now let as a hotel and only open to visitors at limited times. Today is not one of them.

The gardens overlook the River Thames and were once the exclusive haunt of the rich and famous. Cliveden was the glittering hub of society as the home of Waldorf and Nancy Astor in the early part of the 20th century.

We will begin by walking around the outside of the house and then on through the formal gardens before entering part of the woodlands that will take us down to the Thames.

Looking out across the parterre towards the Thames

Down into the formal gardens

Easy access to the gardens from the house

Looking back towards the house

We are now about to trample through the woods towards the river and are not aware at this point just how steep the bank is. We are promised beautiful riverside walks at the bottom.

After our riverside walk we decide to take the longer but more civilised route back to the house

We are nearly there!

Cliveden dates back to 1668

We go through the gates and walk the length of the drive

before turning right to the car park
hope you enjoyed your visit

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Stourhead Gardens,Wiltshire

I was out walking yesterday morning and the sky was blue, the temperature a pleasant 55f and I ended up having to take off my jacket. Much appreciated after the weather that we have had recently. As soon as I arrived home I took the opportunity to prune all the Clematis as February is the best time for this. The baking that I had planned did get done, but not until 5.0 pm.

Today the weather is dreary so my thoughts turn to a Summer post. Here we see the beautiful gardens of Stourhead on a June afternoon. Stourhead is a world famous landscaped garden and Palladian mansion.

It lies in the secluded privacy of its own valley and is one of the finest landscaped gardens in the world. Mathew MacFayden proposed to Keira Knightley in the film Pride & Prejudice here.The garden was designed by Henry Hoare II as a place to entertain and was laid out between 1741 and 1780. The magnificant lake is central to the iconic garden of classical temples and follies while the Palladian mansion houses unique collections of Chippendale furniture, magnificant paintings and an exquisite Regency library. Amongst the wider estate Two Iron Age hill forts can be discovered.

However, for me in this instance it is the garden that holds the most fascination. So, come walk around the lake with me and see what I mean.

The mansion and entrance

One of the follies

Another thing I have been getting up to this week is setting up my first i-Pod. When I think that this has 120 Gigabytes of space and my first computer only had 12 Megabytes - how technology has changed in that 16 years. I am working on installing my music,probably thousands in the end and then I will get to grips with installing all the videos I have taken of my dear Grandson. I am so pleased with the sound I get from this tiny speaker sound system - much better than our music centre. So, having taken months to make the decision to buy one, I am very pleased with it.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

The Bishop's Palace, Wells, Somerset

On our last visit to Wells in Somerset we visited The Bishops Palace which is situated next to the magnificent cathedral. It is a moated Palace surrounded by beautiful gardens and dates back to the early 13th century. It is said to be the most memorable of all Bishops Palaces in England.

We were doubly blessed as Phillip Jackson, a well known British Sculptor was staging an exhibition at the time. It was quite amazing as everywhere we went we came across these very unusual sculptures. Do come on round and enjoy them with us.

Double click photos for finer details

The Cathedral from the Palace gardens
An underground well springs forth out of this tranquil water at 40 gallons a second and gives the town it's name of Wells.