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Monday, 2 April 2018

Grabbing a moment to sketch at Hampton Court Palace - Wilderness Garden

And this was the drawing I managed to quickly do in the Wilderness Garden. We visited with friends, so lots of chatter and not much time to draw. I managed to get some time to sit when everyone else was in the maze - mazes stress me out!! - and I can't tell you how lovely it was. Daffodils as far as I could see and just people mooching about. Lots of people photographing themselves and their children surrounded by the yellow flowers. Its so important to plug into nature I think. I had to rush the pic.....sketch out of focus sadly! Ooops! 




Isnt it just beautiful.......
Snapped by my husband.......

I finally get to visit Hampton Court Palace!

    
So we went to Hampton Court Palace yesterday! I've never been. Wanted to but never managed to get there. Driving from North Herts, its a bit of a way through the horrible Heathrow section of the M25 so I suppose its always put me off. And its half way home to Salisbury too so we would always feel the pull of travelling on.

    
                                                            
                                                                            Knot gardens and fountains.....

Hampton Court Palace is not as you imagine.  I thought it would feel a lot like the National Trust, more so as its a royal palace. I thought it would feel very formal with staff that either 'shhhh' or tut or eye suspiciously a lot! But it wasn't! The staff were a real mixed bunch, friendly and helpful and were happy to interact and chatter. I loved the red coats uniforms. Maybe its because there are much less valuable artefacts on show...its more about the buildings than the stuff in them.

What's really fantastic though is that the palace is very human sized. The rooms have an odd intimacy. The sense of it being a working palace for hundreds of years, a place where people have really worked and inhabited, is so tangible. It doesn't feel a dead place at all. There aren't many artefacts to see. Its the building that's the gem. The architecture for me. And the gardens were such a treat even on a very cold April Fools Day. 

Through the hedge........

Acanthus Leaves & Scrolls in the William 111 Banqueting House

This would have been a magical tucked away garden to be away from the crowds.......

Wrapped statues looking eerie...


Hampton Court Palace has beautiful formal gardens! 



The other thing is that you can just freely go in and out into Hampton Court to see the river, visit the shops, then back in again. There were a lot of people there but it never felt jammed in. Lots of local Londoners clearly visit the Wilderness Garden with the stunning daffodils as far as you can see but there are nationalities of all sorts, languages you hear from far and wide as you walk round the estate.

Tips for visitors: take food with you to eat as the cafe's get really busy, or you can just walk less than ten minutes to the local shops and have a meal out at lots of the local restaurants or grab sandwiches and drinks from the M&S or convenience stores. You can then just go back in to the palace again by getting your ticket scanned. And you can get access to parts of the park without entering for a full ticket too! 

I really must visit again..........

Thursday, 1 March 2018

I got the chance at long last to visit Fountains Abbey!


I got the chance to visit Fountain's Abbey at long last! I was very near visiting it about 30 years ago when I stayed nearby but couldn't get to visit. Tangibly near! What a beautiful place - even in the darker months, its a beautiful place. Its got a very particular feel to it. It feels enclosed and peaceful but full of echoes of the past. You can really sense it was a place of a lot of activity. A place of prayer and growing, commerce and making and visiting and interactions. It feels like all that is embedded in the grass and the buildings. I really loved it there. The bricks and masonry are so weathered. So layered and worn. I could have stayed there for hours, but I have to admit it was a bit chilly!! I could have done with a flask of hot chocolate or strong coffee. main thing though was to visit and I really hope I can again.


Beautiful bee hives.....
Trees growing in the hardest places.....



Worn steps.....