Basildon Park

  

These photos are from a visit to Basildon Park a National Trust property in Berkshire, which we visited on Sunday. I’m glad we went before the storms of this week, as I reckon the petals of the rose garden might now have been blown away!

The interesting thing about this is that Lady Iliffe didn’t die until 2007 and so there is a video of her speaking about how she and her husband came to buy the property after the War. It’s not very often that you have the opportunity to see and hear the last inhabitants of an NT house, for obvious reasons. They had seen it before, in the late thirties, and hadn’t forgotten it. One day they passed nearby, wondering what became of the place, and ended up joining Men from the Ministry of Works on an impromptu tour. It had sat empty for fifty years, apart from being requisitioned during both the First and Second World Wars. As you see it’s a solidly impressive building. It must have taken a big pot of money to renovate and restore; but as Lord Iliffe was a newspaper magnate, photographed with Winston Churchill and Lord Beaverbrook amongst others, that probably was not a huge issue….

 I loved the view from the gardens at the back. The Berkshire (pronounced “bark-sher”) countryside rolls beautifully on. We had a good walk in the woodland and looked around the house. It was good to revisit as I had memories of some horrible 1950s decor in the house in the early noughties (I think): a plastic bed-surround with a white plastic teasmaid and polyester bedspread. The lovely gallery guide told me the house was now much improved and we’d find it very altered. I was much younger (practically a child) that first visit and expected faded grandeur, not a pink telephone by the bed! 

When I win my pot of Lottery money I shall buy a Lifetime Membership of The National Trust. It’s always a great day out, with chances for a good walk too. (This reminds of a film we had a recommendation to watch: Golden Age, it’s fun and has a fantastic British cast.)

Outdoors

A lovely walk with a friend and her smiley baby, past the meadow and along the canal
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The whole meadow is yellow with buttercups, people who have moved away apparently come back to take photos every year

010One of my favourite parts of walking along stretches of canals is peeking into others’ spaces as you stroll past narrow-boats and the ends of gardens

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This end of garden canal view studio looked perfect; paintings on the walls, jars of paint brushes and an easel set up in the light and airy room. I turned a shade of green wanting to possess this space

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For me a table with a gin and tonic and a good book next to the lawn chair would make it a perfect spot015

Commute to work by boat?

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018The last thing (or perhaps the very thing?!?) you need after a 5 mile walk is to come across The Candyboat! Naughty but very, very nice. Sweet jars filled to the brim with goodies on a narrow-boat which travels the country’s canal system.

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Geocaching is nerdy but great fun! I always fancied trying to be a spy and this fulfills the secret mission and trying not to look furtive elements while you’re scrabbling about looking for the cache. Admittedly it didn’t work well in London the other week; a tour bus ticket seller sidled up to me and said “It’s here, I’ve stood here for years and see you people all the time. You’re right next to it.” Ooops! So maybe I’m just too rubbish to be recruited by MI5 then?

It was the  Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Triathlon weekend at Blenheim Palace and my role was enthusiastic supporter of some competitors, and baker for an afternoon tea celebration – great fun in other words

IMG_2461Spotted. This photo sort of fulfills the remit of a ‘mostly crochet’ craft blog (ish)IMG_2490

The transition area

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Mmmm there were many nice views like thisIMG_2494

IMG_2502We all had a lunchtime picnic overlooking the start of the swim section. You can really work up an appetite watching, and of course the cheering really takes it out of you.

Home to sit in the garden with cups of tea and many goodies including my morning baking – cheese scones and a coffee & walnut cake

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