Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Packwood House…

Yesterday I took a break from sewing samples for class and preparing notes and went on a mini field trip with two friends.  We visited the beautiful Packwood House in Lapworth, Warwickshire.  I don’t often get the opportunity to visit National Trust Properties, so this was a treat.

The original house dates back to the mid 1500’s and was owned by the Fetherston family who were there until 1876.  In the early 1900’s it was bought by the Ash family and in the 1920’s it was stripped back and restored back to a Tudor styled home by Graham Baron Ash.  As a result many of the features of the house were brought in from other sources.  There is a fireplace from Stratford-upon-Avon and some of the furniture was bought from the near by Baddesley Clinton.  There are portraits around the house that are Tudor, but the people in them have no connection to the property.  Although a beautiful place, it felt a bit like it was missing something as it is one man’s collection of Tudor items…more like a museum than a home.

I think what impressed me more was the gardens.  There is a lovely kitchen garden and a topiary garden with yew hedges that are magical.  Walking between them I felt like at any moment I would see the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland or turn and find the Queen of Hearts! 

I would love to go back with a better camera in hand to capture all the details.  So much character in the doors, in the woodwork and the stones.

We had time for a spot of lunch in the beautiful cafe.  I had pumpkin, coconut and coriander soup and fresh was delicious and judging by the pumpkins in the garden made very locally!

Until next time...♥

Monday, September 01, 2014

Last of the Summer…

Warmth? Sun? Holidays? Any of those words could sum up this post! I debated about splitting this post into two halves as it is so picture heavy, but I think the pictures together sum up our final holiday for the season so perfectly that it would be a shame to leave you in suspense.

In August I shared pictures from our trip to the New Forest, where it was HOT HOT I’m sharing pictures from our second getaway which was the complete polar opposite... “polar” giving you a BIG clue!   Well…I guess it’s not too much of a surprise as we we did decided to visit North Wales.. Any of you that have been reading since 2009 might remember what happened the last time we were there….

Set within the Snowdonia National Park and only a 10 minute walk from Bala, our campsite (seen on the edge of the map below) was “home” for 10 days.  The owners were lovely and always around to give extra local information and guidance while at the same time running a super site that was immaculately clean.  Even though the site was almost full for much of our stay we never queued for toilets or showers..and that’s always a plus in my book! :o)

Along with a wonderfully clean site there were also a few tucked away surprises like these glamping caravans…

…and some stunning wood carvings by Simon O’Rourke.

The weather forecast for the week was never going to be that great, but just the same we still managed to find the dry patches just when we needed them.  One of our first day trips took us to the coast to Barmouth which gave us the true taste of “sand”wiches as the wind gusts came across the expanse of sand.  That haze in the picture below is sand! 

The winds carried on for the first day or so and then came a bit of calm but cold, always with a mix of rain, so we were geared up with our waterproofs that were bought 3 years ago for our trip to Scotland (which if you recall was scorching hot!).  We have been so lucky with the weather for the past few years that the tags were still on the waterproof trousers…but no more.  DD2 was permanently in her blue coat, which as you can see from the pictures became a bit of a feature.

Along with dodging raindrops, we visited Harlech Castle which provided stunning views.  The town itself is very quaint with little shops.  The beach was deserted, but we still went and stood for awhile, until another cloud of rain threated to soak us.

Of course, a trip to that area isn’t complete without a trip to Snowdon.  Honestly the pictures just don’t do it justice as you just can’t capture the scale, but rain or no rain it was stunning…

After hiking wandering around on Snowdon we were ready for a cup of tea, so we travelled on to Beddgelert.  The sun was trying to peek through the clouds, which gave us an excuse to stop at the ice cream shop too…I know really naughty having a cream tea and ice cream, but we had been hiking wandering on Snowdon after all.

The rest of the week was much the same…up a mountain (or a hill depending on your point of view) down a mountain, dodging raindrops and bundling up warm…

We discovered our little caravan does a really good job of keeping us dry…

…and that it is possible to bbq and keep warm in the rain…over…

…and over…

…and over… again!

One bonus to rain is that I did go prepared and managed a bit of hand-sewing.  I’ve been working on class samples and I’m really excited about the new program I’m teaching.  I hope there will be something for everyone.  My plan is to share some of what we do along the way here too, so I’ve been taking pictures and planning some tutorials.  Should be good!

Until next time...♥