Saturday, April 07, 2007

7 April: Easter holiday

DH has had a week off work, so I haven't had time to sit and compose my usual literary gems - well, postings. But I'll make up for it this morning.

We've been going out on day trips and local outings. One morning we went over to Gibside for a walk; the house is ruined, the stables have been restored and the orangery is in the process of restoration, and the chapel is very tiny. When we go there, it is for a walk along the river and up through the woods, and then a coffee and cake in the tea-room.

The woods were particularly lovely in the sunshine, but sadly Blogger will only upload the beautiful photo sideways, so we shall move on.


Washington Old Hall is another NT property quite near, and somehow we have never got round to visiting it until this week. It is a small house, furnished in a 17th century style, and has been extensively restored after being divide into tenements in the 20th century, It trades on the George Washington connection, which is in fact extremely tenuous - the family originated in Washington, from which they took their name, but George's branch of the family had moved to Lancashire centuries before his ancestor went to America, and he was the second or third generation born in America.

The main hall of the house is large, and the kitchen is reached through two pointed stone archways from one end of the hall - looks as if it was an early version of open-plan living. At the other end of the hall is a wonderful oak-panelled parlour, with some very handsome furniture. And there's another storey, with another large and well-windowed room, given over to the American connection. There are also bedrooms, one converted into a display of photos of the house before restoration, and the stories of the people who used to live in it; another bedroom is now a small tea-room.

The gardens are not extensive, but I found a view of an interesting knot garden -

And there were stone eagles (Sam, the American Eagle, probably) at the top of a flight of steps -

Then one day we spent walking in the Yorkshire Dales. The weather was perfect for walking, the lambs were gambolling in the fields (even though the spell checker thinks they should gamble), and there were primroses and violets on the extremely steep banks as we climbed down into Arncliffe.

Here's one of DH's photos, showing the rest of us after climbing out of Kettlewell and pausing to remove jerseys, catch our breath, and admire the view.

I discovered that I am still frightened of falling on rocky bits. Still, better to be slow than having to wait for the Mountain Rescue team.


And yesterday we planted 2 apple trees in our new border in the back garden (photo in earlier posting); one is Fiesta and the other is Ashmead's Kernel. Then in the empty bit in the middle we planted the potatoes that have been chitting in the conservatory (also earlier photo). I was particularly pleased to be able to plant them on Good Friday, the traditional day for planting potatoes, though that was probably because it was the only holiday people used to have in the days when traditions were made.

4.15 p.m. Spent the afternoon in the garden, spinning some black Shetland; lovely and peaceful. Lots of bees in the borders. But where are all the neighbours? The MetroCentre or Disneyland, probably.


Granny J said...

That sounds like a perfectly lovely week's wandering. The knot garden is a fascinating item -- as for the eagle, he's a little too scrawny in the neck and should have his wings somewhat spread to really class as an American eagle.

Murph said...

I hope that knot garden was frayed. What a gadabout you are Stitch!

stitchwort said...

Hello granny j - wandering a little further afield than normal because of the holiday. The eagle is probably the best they could find, though of course there may be a connection to the Washington family which I didn't read; the family's coat of arms has stars and stripes on it.

And welcome back murph from your own far-flung holiday.

Lucy said...

Shame on spellchecker for inciting those sweet innocent creatures to enter on a life of vice in that way!
Glad you had a lovley hols!

I, like the view said...

what incredible topiary!