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Friday, 28 July 2017

Something Found Underground

I have been collecting various photos for the Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt while I have been out and about. No. 20 is Something found underground. My thoughts immediately went to the vegetable garden. The summer vegetables are coming on nicely now. So which would qualify for this category?
The onions are ready to use but technically they are only half way under the ground.

We are now regularly having beetroot. 

The beetroot are delicious at this time of year. I honestly don't think they need any additions such as vinegar because the taste is just so delicious. I encourage the farmer to bring them in like this.

I then cut the stems a couple of inches up and pop them in the pot like that. They "bleed" if they are cut too low. I like to roast them too. 

However they also grow only half underground. You make have spotted another root vegetable on the garden table

Carrots truly do grow underground. Don't they just look scrummy? They will be lucky to make it to the pot without me sampling one of them raw. No comparison to supermarket carrots! 
I think they are my best choice so far for the photo hunt.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Take Three Thursday: The Dovecote

On a Thursday I join Mary Lou with choosing 3 of my photos with a theme. This week I have been showing photos of the National Trust property Chastleton House that I visited on Sunday. Today for you I have chosen three photos of a prominent feature namely the Dovecote.
1. The first view you have as you descend across the parkland from the car park is across to the dovecote.

2. Looking back through the gate as you arrive at the house.

3. Looking over the wall as you approach the church.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

The Garden

I am taking you back to Chastleton House again today to show even more of the garden. There are lots of doorways and arches to peep through.


And some doors that are not for opening.

The brightest part of the garden was the kitchen gardens.

With a great display of sweet peas.

Runner beans on an angle.

Plenty of insects on the dahlias 

And cardoons.

A lovely garden to wander round.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Another Sun Dial.

Yesterday I showed a little about Chastleton House so today I thought I would concentrate on one particular garden set to the North-East of the house. Best Garden as it is known was first laid out in 1833.

It consists of a circular yew hedge with 4 entrances. There are topiary box hedges in rather random circular shapes and then in the centre a rather tall sundial.

Here are a few pictures taken looking through the various entrances and some looking outwards.

Perhaps one of these will be my Summer Photography Scavenger Hunt choice for No. 22 A Dial.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Where Time Stood Still

Yesterday we accompanied some friends in visiting a house in the Cotswolds. Chastleton House is situated north of Stow on the Wold in typical Cotswold rolling countryside.

It is a Jacobean house built in the first decade of the 1600s by the son of a wealthy wool merchant called Walter Jones. The house remained in the same family until 1991 when it passed to the National Trust in very poor repair but essentially unchanged since it was built. It has now been preserved in a restored but essentially unchanged state.

The house is approached through an archway into the forecourt garden.

The Cotswold stone exterior has been extensively restored by the National Trust.

The front door is hidden to one side of the steps. I would imagine this would be as a weather protection.

The church although it is adjacent to the house is not owned by the National Trust and is maintained by the local parishioners. 

It is possible to see almost the whole of the interior of the house. The information available in the rooms combined with the room stewards give a pretty full picture of many aspects of the house's history. Notable parts of the house included the secret room where a royalist supporter hid from Cromwell's soldiers. It is said that his wife drugged the soldiers by putting laudanum in their beer allowing him to escape from capture by horse.

Another point of interest was that the last family member to live in the house had 20 cats and a parrot for company. They lived with her in just two rooms of the house.

One family member Walter Jones-Whitmore in the 1860s had croquet lawns made and it was he that made the rules to which croquet is played today. These lawns have been reinstated and are there for all to use. Badminton was also played particularly in the long gallery at the top of the house. Shuttlecocks were found when clearing the house under the flooring. Badminton can also be played on one of the lawns.

In the words of one of the room volunteers "If only the house could talk".
Tomorrow I will show a little of the gardens.

Sunday, 23 July 2017


Over the last few days we have had some much needed rain. Friday in particular it seemed to rain all day. This is a fairly typical start to the school holidays and must be a bit depressing for parents with school age children.

The next morning everywhere was still dripping which actually gives quite an attractive effect on the flowers in the garden.

Some look positively soggy!

It quite changes the look of some leaves.

All the rain has freshened the garden and will help the fruit grow.

Now we are ready for some sunshine again!

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Further Back in Time

Stonehenge is an ancient monument which has worldwide renown. It sits on the hills outside Salisbury known as Salisbury Plain. I have visited this World Heritage Site many times over the years. I am lucky enough to have been able to walk right up to the stones and touch them. These days the visitors have to stay behind the ropes. Both the girls have grown up a bit since our last visit seen here below.

 We used to frequently pass Stonehenge when visiting relatives and on my travels back and forth from college and it was always looked smaller every time you see it. It was also a good comfort stop being about halfway there and having a good size car park. These days you can't do that.
The road passing directly past Stonehenge has been closed although you can still spot it from the A303. The car park has now been moved up the road away from the historically sensitive area and is situated with a brand new visitor centre. A bus service then conveys visitors on down to the site.
 On our trip back from Old Sarum we were in need of a cup of tea. The farmer had already bemoaned the fact that Old Sarum didn't have a tea rooms and that being after 4pm most tea shops would be closed. The truth is the farmer was hoping for a cream tea... So we decided to stop at Stonehenge visitor centre which stays open until 8pm. A cup of tea was achieved and a very tasty signature rock cake as well. There were only a few moans at the absence of the cream tea and the cardboard cup from the farmer!
Before continuing home we had a quick wander around the visitor centre where there is a collection  of replica Neolithic houses giving an idea of how people would have been living 4500 years ago.

I was amused to see that I had inadvertently caught something more modern in the background. The English Heritage bus transporting visitors to Stonehenge.

Another exhibit is a model of one of the stones being transported to Stonehenge.

Although it may look authentic it is only made of fibreglass or something equally hollow.

There was no time to stop and visit the stones themselves but we were quite amazed to see that the admission price is £17. It certainly wasn't putting the throngs of visitors off. In reality we would be able to visit for free as National Trust members. No doubt we will be coming this way again one day soon when we have more visitors. It is indeed a must to see if you go that way.