Sunday, 16 August 2015

Dyrham Park

Greetings! Tuesday saw me whizzing off in the direction of Bath to visit Dyrham Park with a friend. It's a Baroque country house and deer park run by the National Trust. The roof is currently being renovated and so there was a lot of scaffolding in evidence. It did mean, however, that (acrophobia permitting) you could don a reflective jacket, take a wobbly lift and do a tour of the renovations. It was mostly enclosed with tarpaulins, so wasn't in fact too vertiginous. 
 We were rather fond of this griffin:
 .... and Mercury:
 The view from the unenclosed bit:

 After a collections tour around the house itself - my favourite part being 2 mummified rats named Martin and Colin after the builders who discovered them - we went for a walk round the gardens. We stood watching this coot's nest in the middle of the lake for ages. I never realized that coots were such good parents. The father scoured the lake for bits of food and took them back to pass  to the mother. She broke it up and fed it carefully to the cute offspring. We could only see one chick (they were quite far away) but she may well have been sitting on more. All the while we were watching, neither parent seemed to eat anything; it all went to the chick.
 Then it was off to the deer park to watch the amazingly tame deer:

 They were divided into 2 herds - the males in one part of the park and the females and young in another. The males were in the process of losing the velvet on their antlers. I'm sure it's not, but it looked quite painful as the velvet hung down in bloody strips in some places. Then it was a long scenic route back to the car park and home.
Other happies this week are non-photo ones - E did herself proud with her AS results and also managed to pass her driving theory test this weekend. Despite all that, I've been feeling a bit blue for the last few days, so there is a sad lack of other photos I'm afraid. Hope to be back to normal next week.
Toodle pip for now. x

Monday, 10 August 2015


 Hello there! Well, as requested, we did have some more blue sky at the weekend. It was very well timed too as we had theatre tickets booked at Stratford upon Avon for Saturday evening. We set off early and, after finding our usual car park full (it seemed as though the World and his wife were in Stratford this weekend!), managed to find another one, almost as convenient for the river and theatre. Weather permitting, we always like to hire a rowing boat on the Avon and as L had been in the Ladies first boat at Merton, we made the most of her skills. All I was required to do was man the rudder and I could just about cope with that.
 This is E having a turn:

 R rescuing a bee:
 A local heron - for a while we thought it was an artificial one as it stood so still, but it eventually took off.
 After a little potter round the shops - I was very restrained, only buying a birthday present for E's friend - we went for a pre-show meal at 'Thespians'. It was delicious and very handy for the theatre afterwards. Here's my Vegetable Thali:
 Then we just about managed to stagger here:
To see this: 

 E is studying Othello for her English Lit topic 'Love Through the Ages', so we were fortunate to get tickets. It was a brilliant production with a few surprises - I won't say what they were in case you're planning to go and see it!
Other 'happies this week':
Visiting a local Classic Car Show with R (it was slightly better than last week's tanks!)
This was R's favourite:
 ..... and this was mine!
Lastly, L spent a day making a Minecraft Cake for her boyfriend J's birthday:
We managed to transport it to Oxford, where he now has a flat and a shiny new job, with only the slightest of mishaps - the rabbit lost its ears and we had to do a quick repair job before presenting it!
That's all for this week. The summer holiday seems to be galloping by - I hope you're all making the most of it. Have fun!
Toodle Pip for now. x

Thursday, 6 August 2015


Well, weren't we the lucky ones? After a week of dismal weather, the day of L's Graduation dawned to something that actually felt like summer. The sky was blue, the sun was shining and (despite the fact that I had eaten something that disagreed with me so that I spent most of the day with abdominal pain and a rather strong urge to vomit) a fine time was had and we couldn't have been prouder of our girl. 
We started the day with coffee at her college followed by the ceremony itself at the Sheldonian Theatre. Then it was back to college for a canape reception and the traditional throwing up (not me this time!) of mortar boards. Here are just a few snaps of the many taken on the day:

 The top of the Sheldonian - see that blue sky?!
 A few photos inside before it filled up:

A memento of the day:
.... and a cake from the amazing cake shop in the covered market - every time we visit Oxford we watch them decorating the cakes so graduation seemed a good excuse to buy one. It was yummy!
 Other happies this week:

A visit to Bovington Tank Museum in Dorset. The girls bought a family ticket for R for Father's Day and this was our first opportunity to go
 Yup, there were LOTS of tanks!
 Not quite my cup of tea but there were a few things that I enjoyed: the music from the 40s and 50s playing in the background, the ride on a tracked vehicle, the artwork done by POWs and a war time kitchen:

 I quite like the sound of Soup for Air Raids:
 Sorry, no idea who this chap is - I just wanted a photo of our vehicle! It was a very bumpy ride around an extremely dusty track but great fun.
 On the way home we stopped off briefly at Tolpuddle. If you click on the photos, the writing may be large enough to read:

We went raspberry picking at our local fruit farm: 
 Enough for a pavlova and some for the freezer:
 E bought some quail eggs from the farm shop:
 My tubers from Poundland grew - money well spent I think:
 .... and the passion flower is thriving:
Sickness aside, not a bad week. Fingers crossed for some more of that blue sky at the weekend.
Toodle Pip for now. x