Chateau and D-Day

Rather than ruin all that relaxation by dashing back through France in one go, we tend to take our time and have a couple of overnight stops on the way home, which also enables us to do a bit of sightseeing. On the Sunday morning, we went to the château at Chenonceau, just east of Tours - actually on the Cher river rather than the Loire, which is where you tend to think the famous châteaux are. As well as being the one with the arches over the river, it has two excellent formal gardens. And on top of that, it also has a magnificent vegetable, herb and flower garden, which it would be easy to miss - and which you really shouldn't! On the Monday, we were further north and visited Arromanches, Gold Beach on D-Day and where the Mulberry Harbour was - and where bits of it still are. We were lucky that the tide was out, so we were able to walk around some...
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Waterlilies

While at the gite in France, we took just one day trip (we basically spent two weeks sat in the shade of a large oak tree, reading) - this was to the "Jardin des Nenuphars", Latour-Marliac, at Le Temple sur Lot, a few minutes from Villeneuve-sur-Lot. This is where hardy waterliliy hybrids were first grown and from where Monet bought the lilies for his garden at Giverny. They house the French national collection. A lovely place, really interesting (and with a good cafe), although the greenhouse containing the exotic/large lilies was unbelievably hot and humid - it took me a fair while to recover from just a few minutes in there! ...
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Abbey House Gardens, Again!

Last Sunday was the latest of the clothes-optional days at Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury - and perhaps one of the last. Sadly, the owners are getting divorced and the house and garden are up for sale. The remaining clothes-optional days this year are the 17th and 31st August and the 21st September - depending on what happens with any new owner, they could be the last. Not many pics though - I've been so many times that there isn't much new to take any more! ...
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Abbey House Gardens

What's that, another set of photos from Abbey House Gardens? Well, yes - but this visit was a little different. SWMBO came along for the first time, and it was also the first time I've visited with my kit on - this wasn't one of their clothes optional days. I've not been this early in the year before, and unfortunately the masses of tulips that were out over Easter were past their best - we weren't able to get there when they were in their prime. However the rhododendrons were out and the gardens were a lot quieter than on the naturist days - which made taking photos a lot easier! I need to visit when the Laburnum arch is in flower, preferably with someone to pose in it.  ...
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Hidcote

The last trip of the week off was to Hidcote in Gloucestershire. SWMBO had never been been, while I last went over 10 years ago - having been a few times as a child. The lily pond is part of a family legend - from the time that The Brother managed to fall into it... The "bathing pool" had great photographic potential, if I'd had a step-ladder. The water was gently rotating, and a long exposure of the whole pool would have worked wonderfully with the circular blur....
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