Where to begin? Where to begin? I arrived home on Wednesday after my wonderful visit to Germany and Scandinavia and now comes the hardest part – sifting through photographs and deciding which to include and which to discard.
Here is just a taster selection and I hope to expand on some of the visits and walks during the next couple of weeks.
We spent the last two nights of our trip in Girona itself. We had booked an apartment which turned out to be ideally situated for the Historic Centre, grocery and bakery shops and actually faced the starting point of the Girona Walls Walk which had been highly recommended to us as the ideal introduction to the city.
The series of books (originally published in Germany but some titles now available in English) 111 places that one must see includes only the non-famous sights and places off the beaten track. One of the 111 places that we “must see” in Tenerife was the Mariposa Sculpture Garden up in the hills near Arona, about a 20 minute drive from Palm Mar.
Chirk Castle Gardens are as lovely (even in March) as the Castle itself is interesting. As you can see there are lots of yew trees and hedges all clipped to within an inch of their lives. All the hedges and topiary are 130 years old – and it shows in places. They are almost entirely English yew (Taxus Baccata) and it takes garden staff 6 to 8 weeks to cut with electric shears. Interestingly, two tons of clippings are collected each year and these are processed to make a cancer treatment. In the past all clipping was done by hand but there were many more gardeners then. These days there are 3 gardeners plus a full time apprentice and a team of part time volunteers.
Yesterday I picked up friend Ann from her home in Widnes and we’re now spending a few days ‘Sleeping with Books‘ at Gladstone’s Library. After my two-night stay last year I thought it would be interesting to spend a few days in the area and in particular to visit Chirk Castle, which has been on my ‘list’ for a long time.
Widnes is only just over half an hour from Hawarden (home to Gladstone’s Library) and Ann wanted to show me a few sights in her local area. Our first stop was to view the new bridge, The Mersey Gateway Bridge, currently edging its way across the River Mersey.
Earlier in the week I decided that on Thursday I’d head off to Fountains Abbey and have a walk, a bite to eat and be home early afternoon. Thursday dawned very frosty but the roads were fine and the car park almost empty when I arrived. I’ve posted several times about my visits to Fountains including here, here and here. But I visit many more times than I have posted – it is just such a beautiful place to walk and think and enjoy the views and the Georgian landscape and its follies.
Sadly, I have to report that The Red House Museum in Gomersal closed its doors for the last time today. I last visited this former home Mary Taylor, a dear friend of Charlotte Brontë, in July for a History Wardrobe performance and I have visited very many times in the past. We signed the petition but to no avail.
On Friday I’ll have been in the southwest for two weeks enjoying stays in favourite places : Lyme Regis, Ashburton and now Chagford. One of Sir Edwin Lutyens‘s masterpieces Castle Drogo is just a few miles away from our cottage and I decided to revisit on this glorious autumn dayVisitor Centre at Castle Drogo
To break my journey down to the southwest I decided to call at Hanbury Hall in Worcestershire for a few hours. I began my visit with lunch in the Servants’ Hall and spent the rest of my time in the splendid gardens.