Friday, 25 May 2018

A Sunday afternoon drive in the jalopy.

 It's a Sunday, a day of rest.   We are old so we went on a Sunday afternoon drive!
The truth of the matter was that it was so very hot yesterday and today that I didn't want to sit in the sun the whole day.  
So David devised a route to show me all the lovely places he had cycled through this week on his dawn rides and they were lovely.

Out on the razzle.

A gated lane, a most secluded valley and tiny lake surrounded by flowers.

Now I am going to be controversial,  so going back two days when at Waddesham I wasn't exactly horrified at the building of a French chateau in Buckinghamshire well over a hundred years ago.... but here we are in the twenty first century and I don't think we should be building fakes or imitation buildings.
It began here when I popped out the car to open the gate,  now you all know I love gates..  those old fashioned ones, made by skilled blacksmiths and hammered into wonderful curves....  This gate was plastic coated and probably made in China.  

This new manor house or farm house or executive home, has a stone roof, or lookalike stone roof, concrete lintels an open stone porch.  But shouldn't we be building modern contemporary looking forwards in design and invention not backwards but not fake? 

Oh and this gate is plastic coated too.  I wouldn't be surprised if the lawn was plastic.

I would be delighted to hear other views different to my own on this subject.

Moving on, this delightful former chapel has footings form the C12th, The Twelfth Century no less, no other former chapel in the world like it, its priceless to me.  At one end its joined to what is now a cottage, now that is unusual.

Dear little cottage and a C13th archway.

What a peaceful final resting place.

Now we went onto a village called Deddington, it's really near Aynho, we had a walk around and I saw a few more crackers.

Unspoilt ancient house with wonderful door.

Ancient house but I do have issues with the roof and the front porch.

Stone built house but look at the wall to see how it's changed over the centuries.

Oh my what a stunner, I would guess at Queen Anne, but look at the colour of cleaned stone.

Supper was low key after yesterday, poached eggs on toast with roasted tomatoes and avocados.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Don't try this at home.

It was another lovely hot day.  We are still on the meadows and plan to stay longer.  This is one of David's favourite places and he has been looking forward to being here ever since I chose where we were going this summer.

This lady was on a practice walk today in training for a huge long walk in aid of children who are deaf and blind.  I refilled her water bottles and wished her well and made a donation.

We had found a pub near-ish by with highly recommended food, Oh I think we should try that.  I did need a little bit of encouraging to bike it, but then we could both have a drink, as to get to the road to Kirtlington is on a flat ridge all the way but to get to that ridge is a hike up a hill, then another hill which is undesirable in this hot weather.

So it was a most lovely ride, once I got up the hill from Somerton, and it was about 7 or 8 miles to The Oxford Arms in Kirtlington    HERE   oh my what a find.  Its probably a much shorter walk form further down the canal but here we are.  We booked for a Saturday lunchtime, as it was sunny but when we arrived we remembered that it was The Royal Wedding and no one was about, gardens were deserted and telly's were on.

The food is wonderful, the building ancient, the Landlord is a skilled chef and the Landlady charming.
I suggest you go there.

This was spicy duck with watermelon, fantastic combination, seen those chips????

Houses in the village.

We have this tree at home, but this one is far better.

So a little bit of farming news.... at this time of year farmers are going mad with maize planting.  Maize is vital food for cows, but it is a but fussy and likes a very fine bed and dry to plant the stuff.

Maize seeds dropped and a few shoots.

David checking this crop unbidden but he loved the soil.

Coming up a treat, how's yours going on David Lewis?

Sweet Chestnut in full flower.

and my first poppies of the year.

Now have I said that the Meadows are beautiful?  But there is a bit of a drawback.... Cows, free range cows, more of a consideration is the fact they have calves with them, this is a very serious subject and here we don't think that there are warnings enough, although there is a warning here which we (As subject experts) don't think is nearly as focused as it should be.

Oh did I say.... there's a bull here too.

So I watch these cows like a hawk before we leave the boat and walk to the gate, I know exactly where the bull is (I am particularly twitchy around bulls)  BUT the most dangerous thing in this field are the mothers of young calves.  If  a walker or worse still a dog walker should unwittingly walk between a cow and young calves she could well attack, without warning.  

A lady had her leg broken last December here at Somerton.  
If you are faced with a situation like this, first obey your instincts and choose another field or walk right away from the animals on the other side of the field or should you see calves DON'T WALK BETWEEN THEM AND COWS, but if you are attracting the attention of the animals, take the dog off the lead and walk away.  The dog will out run you and any cows.
So all got that?

The Lovely Meadows

See our chairs?  David had just dropped off to sleep, he hates to be woken so I was in a dilemma but they were getting closer, should I wake him or just leave him to it?   I do love him so I woke him... 

Getting closer  You might have noticed that I am now in the boat, yes David is still sat there.

David!!!!! For gods sake come in  "I'm protecting the chairs"


Moving the chairs into safety.

Yep he was close.....

Then as quickly as they advanced, and I had departed, they toddled off but you can see all the calves with them.

So I wish you all safety.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

With all that money he could have built something nice eh?

So on a beautiful sunny day, just the sort I like, we went on an outing, we went to Waddesham Manor.  Now this pad was built by Lord Rothschild.

Prior to his living here, there was nothing here, a bare hill.  

He paid well over the odds for the land from the Duke of Marlborough at nearby Blenheim Palace, but frankly with their dosh who cares.   He wanted it landscaped so did and had mature huge trees transported form all over the county on specially made carts with whole teams of horses pulling.  Luckily for the neighbourhood, there was a depression in farming so all this work created many jobs, in the 1880's he had 120 gardeners and today the jolly old National Trust have 20.

Lord Rothschild left the house with its priceless collection of world treasures to the nation in 1957 I think, however the family in a unique arrangement hold the Chair of the committee running the whole show here.

We had a tour of the house and frankly, its ghastly, every shelf, every wall id covered or smothered in stuff.  Hardly anything I would care to have at mine, David had had enough by the first floor.

We went on a tour of the gardens with the Head Gardner who was really interesting, but the gardens weren't a patch on Hidcote.  Evidently the most visited property the NT have is Clivedon closely followed by Waddesham.  Now we have also visited Clivedon and thought it deadly dull, but the Head Gardner said that a lot of work has been done there recently, so later in the year we may well go back and give it a second chance.

So do you want to see a few photos of ghastliness?

So this is the front drive.

Front porch, drive in.

The current Lord likes modern art not that I saw much of it.  These are empty wine bottles.

So its a fake French Chateau, based on chateaux at Blois and Chambord.  

Dining room, walls of marble, it would put me off my food.


More Reynolds

This I half liked, half.

Hundreds of these.

At Waddesham Lord Rothschild entertained Prime Ministers, Lords Ladies and Dukes, the house was never intended as a home, his home was in London, but it was intended to display his huge collection of French furniture, paintings, china and other items.....
But this room I did like, decorated I think in the 90's, its simple charm, the light was terrific.

These are the spades used by visiting dignitaries to plant trees, sorry but I cut off the Queen on her last visit.

Now what was very interesting was the family's history.  They started out in Frankfurt at the time was in Austria.  One man had five sons.  He was a businessman of the day, lending buying trading etc but did strike lucky with the arrival of Napoleon who wiped out the landowning aristocracy leaving vacancies....  So back to Frankfurt, the man sent his five sons to different cities in Europe, London, Paris, Naples, Vienna and Frankfurt, presumably one stayed in Frankfurt.  They did rather well at business and thrived.

The family symbol is five arrows representing the five sons.  Now the very very interesting part of the visit was to the wine cellars.

Intended for President Thomas Jefferson

So today the cellars are used for wine tasting sessions, they are open to the public and reasonably priced too, I have the dates....

All the different sized bottles.

This cellar needs a bit of a tidy up.

So there are two names that I think you would have heard of Chateau Lafite, and Chateau Mouton Rothschild.  The former has kept the same design of label every year, the other one has a different label designed by an invited artist and paid in wine!  These below were my favourites.

Francis Bacon.


and 2014 David Hockney.

At the end of the wine tour we went to the shop and David brought a couple of rather expensive bottles for our family celebrations later in the year..... can't wait to try them.

This bottle had security.....