Tyntesfield

In lieu of a "proper" summer holiday this year, I had a couple of weeks off and we pottered about a bit. We had a week in Wales (pics to follow), but started off with a visit to Tyntesfield The National Trust have done a massive amount of restoration since they acquired the property in 2002, and the whole building is currently covered in a mass of scaffolding. Interestingly, they've built a viewing platform, so you can actually go up and see what's going on. It's fascinating to be able to look out over the roof! The garden had an excellent array of flowers in bloom, so out came the Panasonic compact camera in macro mode. I'm told they're dahlias. To me, the natural world consists of lilies, roses, tulips and "flowers". ...
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Beckford’s Tower

Just before going to photograph a rugby match (see next post), I stopped off at Beckford's Tower on the edge of Bath. Far easier to climb up than Alfred's Tower at Stourhead - apparently Beckford built it when he was in his 60s, so that might explain why it's so much wider and less steep! The views from the top weren't anything to write home about, but I did quite like the spiral stairs. ...
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King Alfred’s Tower

I've been to Stourhead a couple of times before, but have never got round to going to the nearby King Alfred's Tower. It's 205 steps up to the top, so Mother decided against it and sat in the car and snoozed. When I got up there (wheezing slightly, legs like jelly), it was cloudy and with rain clearly falling nearby. Within about 20 minutes, it all cleared up, so I was able to take photos of dark skies and blue sky & fluffy clouds within a very short time! ...
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Stourhead

Mother came to stay for a few days, and while SWMBO entertained her for most of the time (Tyntesfield and Concorde [only open until the end of September]), I felt morally obliged to take a day off work and take her somewhere. We ended up going to Stourhead, somewhere she'd not been before, and one of the best known landscaped gardens. Fortunately, we managed to avoid the rain - the heavens opened just as we got back to the shop & tea room, which was a perfect excuse for a slice of cake. I think this is one of the nicest views there is - it looks completely natural, but you just know that a landowner with a firm opinion of his place in history combined with a egomaniacal landscape gardener probably uprooted several small villages and converted a small hill into a substantial lake. He probably then decided that he didn't like the colour of the water and had the landscaper...
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Welsh Wales

We've been spending a few days in Welsh Wales - the weather has been pretty good, but it's been damn cold. It's bloody May - it shouldn't be this flamin' cold! First up was Manorbier in Pembrokeshire. We've heard how lovely it is - it wasn't. Might have been something to do with the Arctic gale blowing, but we didn't hang around for very long. There's a surprisingly pristine castle, but it's not National Trust so we were buggered if we were going to pay to get in... After that, we went to Colby Woodland Garden, which *is* National Trust. Quite nice, with a reasonable walled garden, but nothing desperately exciting. When we were in Wales in September, SWMBO was trying to find a beach on the Cardigan Bay coast that she visited as a child. We've been to about half a dozen of the damn things now, and we still haven't found it. I suspect that the passage of 30 years has...
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