Whistle Stop April & May

Well hello again.

What a busy couple of months it’s been around here (hence I’m afraid to say the lack of recent posts). I’ve just sat and listed the main events and it runs something like this…

  • Visit to Croft Castle 
  • Visit to Builth Wells
  • Visit to Bath
  • Visit to Glastonbury
  • Visit to Wells
  • Visit to Hampton Court Palace

Now, in my ideal world – you know the one – I’d sit and write something interesting about each of these places – goodness knows there’s plenty to talk about. But the sad reality is that I am a flaky blogger, and I know that even with the best intentions, I’ll probably not get around to it. So, instead, lovely readers, I’m just going to toss them all into this post in a kind of emptying the fridge recipe and hope that will be alright.

Croft Castle
The view from the walled garden over the back of the castle – definitely not symmetrical
Difficult to photograph because of the low light, but this is my favourite room at Croft Castle.

First, there was Croft Castle, Herefordshire. Anyone who’s read my posts for a few years will probably be yawning now and saying oh no, not that one again. But as I shall just have to keep saying, this is my pretty much all-time favourite house (there’s just one other potential candidate for that title – a discussion for another day perhaps).

Croft Castle has everything that I think makes a perfect historic house. It’s old – although its exact date is something of a mystery. It’s called a castle, but it feels more like a country house. It has links to lots of historic events and people – from Owain Glyndwr to Prince Arthur and it’s only a short walk from the castle to Croft Ambrey, a magnificent Iron Age hill fort that deserves a post all to itself. Oh, and a walled garden where they grow vines!

It happens to be situated almost halfway between my brother’s home in Wales and ours, so makes a great place to meet up every few weeks – fine by me.

The fabulous news from our most recent visit is that both the cupola on the church and the glasshouse are both now being repaired. Hooray!

WonderWool Wales – Builth Wells

Next was Builth Wells – or more precisely WonderWool Wales, held at the Royal Welsh Showground. A fantastic day out indulging in all things wooly. I came home with a variety of new threads to add to the stash, including some terrific acid greens which I seem to have become addicted to using. A brilliantly organised event, not least because they clearly recognised that the audience would be 95% female and therefore reassigned most of the toilets for women for the event. What a treat not to have to queue for hours.

Speeding along, our next trip was to Bath, Glastonbury and Wells.

Bath, Glastonbury & Wells
Looking out from the George & Pilgrim
The Chalice Well – simply wonderfully calm and peaceful

What shall I say? Well, Bath was wonderful, nicely bustling, and still a delightful town to walk around, just gawping at the general feel of the place, whilst also spotting the film locations for our favourite version of Persuasion, (the one with Ciaran Hinds and Amanda Root). Number One daughter and I finished our afternoon in Bath with the time-honoured game of crazy golf. It’s a family tradition, we have history and it wouldn’t really be a trip to Bath without it. Glad to see that there’s been lots of work on the course and the gardens were looking simply gorgeous. Oh and I won…only just.

We then traveled on to Glastonbury. A first visit for N1D who quickly fell for its unique charms. I think it’s safe to say we ‘did’ Glastonbury. We walked up the Tor, we visited the Abbey, the Chalice Well Gardens, and the George & Pilgrim – and we shopped. Two days in the town is enough to give yourself a basic introduction, but I guess you could happily spend an age getting to know its various facets. Anyway, we loved it. For me, the Chalice Well Gardens was the highlight. A place of perfect peace.

Vicar’s Close, Wells.

On our way home, we stopped off in Wells (or Sandford if Hot Fuzz means anything to you). A fairly quick visit, but we still managed to enjoy a stroll through the cathedral, watching the clock do its thing as it has for over 600 years, and marveling at the hourglass crossing tower. If you go to Wells, don’t miss a short walk up to Vicar’s Close. A remarkable lane of medieval cottages, another little gem. N1D and I ate a Cornetto in the Crown at wells pub – we are Hot Fuzz fans, before making for home.

Hampton Court Palace

Finally, my daughters and I met up last week to visit Hampton Court Palace. N2D had been on a school trip a few years ago, but neither N1D nor I had ever been, so off we went. Admission isn’t cheap so we were determined to make the most of our day there. 

What shall I say about it? To be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect. I’ve seen it on TV so many times, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel, but my main reaction was a series of breath-taking ‘wows’.

It’s huge – that’s the first thing to say. It seems to go on and on. The next thing that felt odd and also rather lovely, is that so much of it is familiar, but in the flesh, just so much more impressive. I thought I’d love the Tudor parts, and I did. But I was surprised by how much the William and Mary and the Georgian sections impressed too. The Georgian rooms, despite being large, felt remarkably calming. I loved the atmosphere in there. 

The gardens were just as impressive as the buildings – although we were fortunate to be there on a very warm and sunny day which made strolling around a pleasure.

Also impressive was the way information was given. The audio tours were well-judged, giving you details without boring and allowing you a decent amount of time to take everything in. The written information was equally well supplied and informative. And how refreshing to be treated as adults and given interesting content. Our only slight disappointment was not getting to spot Lucy Worsley. We all love her.

So, there you have it. A whistle-stop tour of April and May events. Phew.

There has been needlepoint in the evenings and occasional trips to the hidey-hole for cutting and gluing, but perhaps that will wait for another day.

And finally….

 Just one more thing. If you use Instagram you may want to find me there on my new account A_Mingled_Yarn.  I had a kind of mental falling out with Instagram some months ago and I decided to stop using it at all, but the truth is that I like taking photographs when I’m out and about and occasionally the art that I’m making – and posting to Instagram works as a kind of simple visual diary. I fancied a fresh start though, hence the new account. I haven’t yet really adopted a regular posting practice there, but I thought I’d mention it here anyway. If you are interested, please take a quick look.

So that’s it for today.

Until next time…

Anny x