Day Trips 2018

Rather than spread this out into a long series of blog posts, I've condensed the various day trips into a single entry. Abbey House GardensOf course there's a visit to Abbey House Gardens, isn't there always? May this time, and the gardens looked good. And yes, it was a clothes optional visit - I've only been once when it hasn't been! Bowdown Woods/ThatchamIn early July I met a former colleague (now good friend) for a catch up and we had a wander round the woods and surrounding area - the edge of the former airbase at Greenham Common, the Kennet and Avon Canal. Rather nice, if a bit warm!Not many photos as that wasn't the real purpose of the day - but the B&W ones were taken on my Fuji X-T20 and an IR filter, so these are genuine IR images not a fake IR effect. Caen Hill LocksThe flight of locks on the Kennet and Avon Canal at Caen Hill are well...
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France 2018

We stayed in Bordeaux on the way down to our holiday in France - I had a Big Birthday shortly beforehand and fancied visiting some vineyards and doing a couple of tastings.We visited Chateaux Siran in Margaux, Chasse-Spleen in Moulis-en-Medoc and Bouscaut in Pessac-Leognan. The tours were interesting, particularly the Siran nuclear bunker... Once at the gite we actually did very little (which was lovely), but I still managed to take quite a lot of photos - we had the usual good sunsets, as well as one morning with a thick fog. There will be more images from the gite in the film update I'll be posting later. On the way home, we stopped off in the Loire for a Chateau visit - Azay-le-Rideau this time. And of course there was a decent selection of meals... As we'd been to this particular gite before, we knew that there would be plenty of opportunity for photographing the stars. ...
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France 2017

We went back to France for our summery holiday, after a slight aberration last year when we spent a few days in a caravan in Cornwall - any mention of that holiday now gets us both whistling the theme tune to Peter Kaye's Phoenix Nights, given the quality of the evening entertainment the caravan park laid on... We went back to a gite we've been to a couple of times before - it's nice, it's a good size for the two of us, it's quiet, it's very close to the local wine producer and it's got very clear views of the night sky. So here's a few different sets: Giverny On the way down through France, we stopped off at Giverny to visit the Monet gardens - we'd been a couple of times about 15 years ago now and thought it time for another visit. The last image is a little different - not taken at Giverny but fairly close by. Slightly inspired by the...
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Hestercombe

A few weeks ago we saw a Gardeners' World feature on Hestercombe in Somerset, so we decided to pay a visit. We've found giving up our National Trust membership quite liberating - we'd only tend to consider going to their sites on the grounds we'd have to pay for anywhere else, so having to pay everywhere means we can go (theoretically) anywhere. Anyway, Hestercombe is lovely, well worth a visit. ...
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Fast Rabbit Farm

On Saturday I visited Fast Rabbit Farm in Devon with friends - a large garden (no rabbits that I saw), almost too large to photograph well! It's not the sort of formally planted garden I often visit - much more of a sprawling wild place. Rather nice though, and I didn't even get round all of it. There's also a plant centre, where I took most of the flower photos. The afternoon was further improved by a viola recital from my friend Rachel, which was particularly lovely in the setting. Oh yes, and it was a clothes-optional day so we were all able to enjoy the garden as nature intended. ...
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