It was off to National Trust’s Canon’s Ashby today to meet up with Ian and Ann. With a communal picnic arranged and a pukka parking spot for their motor-home just outside the main car-park, we had all the ingredients of a perfect day!
We haven’t been here since (we think) since the early 80s, and (my) Ann thought it would be a good idea to recreate the photograph of me sitting on the steps in the Garden in nineteen-eighty-something. It took a few attempts to get the pose right, but we didn’t do a bad job!
The weather was just perfect and combined with the fact that it was also a Bank Holiday, it didn’t take long for the place to start to fill up. It was quite simply perfect wandering about weather.
As the House didn’t open until 1pm, we started off looking around the Gardens…
…and it didn’t disappoint! Everything was maintained to a very high standard!
Then it was lunch-time. Both Anns had co-ordinated the components of the picnic and we were soon tucking-into pork pie, potato salad, sausage rolls, prawns and much more – all washed down wine, ginger beer (lashings of), sparkling water and Beck’s Blue. And if that wasn’t enough, it was all followed by Profiteroles and Fruit Salad. The gorgeous weather combined with the perfect seating area just to the rear of their motor-home meant that this was an pit-stop before the afternoon session – but it was also the perfect combo for maybe lazing in the sun and falling asleep! – Ah well, maybe next time!!!
Suitably stuffed, our afternoon’s activities took us on a short walk to Canons’ Ashby Church – St Mary’s. Once a Priory, it suffered in the hands of Henry VIII’s (ahem!) ‘review’ and now is a lot smaller in size having lost the majority of its original structure. It still looked solid enough as a Church and there was plenty to see inside.
Our final stop was obviously the House itself. Built in the 1500s from the masonry from the fallen Priory, it was inherited in the 1800s by by John Dryden aged just 19! – lucky bugger! (good article HERE) but was eventually acquired by the National Trust in 1981 after it had lay, deteriorating, through much of the 20th century.
After the grandeur of the Gardens, I was expecting the inside of the House to be similarly impressive (I certainly couldn’t recall any detail form my trip here in the 80s!). As it turned out, the interiors were mostly quite lack-lustre. They were still interesting to look at, but they were mostly all very ‘ordinary’ – no highly decorated ceilings, no massive chandeliers nor impressive paintings.
Not that there’s anything wrong in this, but it wrong-footed me a bit where the most impressive room, by way of exception, was the Library with its gazillions of books (all arranged with enough precision to keep anyone with any degree of OCD very satisfied!).
We finished our day, as we did with lunch, positioned behind the Motor Home and enjoyed a well-earned cuppa. After another hour enjoying the sun, we said our goodbyes and headed for the now almost still completely full car-park.
It had been a great day, although I’m surprised/disappointed that I didn’t recall more from our first visit. I was more than pleased to have re-created the 80s photo though!
Another great day out with great friends!
All the above photos and more without any of my chat are HERE.
We headed off to The Marquess of Exeter in Lyddington tonight to meet up with Mick and Jane S. The Pub/Restaurant/Hotel boasts: “One of the finest restaurants, pubs and hotels in Rutland” – so expectations were high!
On one of the hottest days of the year so far, what could be better than taking the XKR out for Summer evening spin and enjoying a meal with friends in an English ‘local’. Ann was convinced we’d been to this Pub before, but as we arrived and headed for the car-park, it all seemed very unfamiliar (and we soon realised that had in fact been to The Old White Hartjust down the road).
Perfect timing as Mick and Jane had arrived just seconds before us! We strolled into a more-or-less deserted restaurant and were quickly shown to our seats. We were soon perusing the (slightly restricted) menu after ordering our drinks.
There was also a ‘Specials’ board – and it certainly was special if Fish was your fave (as everything on it was fish-based). Eventually, Ann and I settled for the ‘Lamb to share’ option. There was about a twenty-minute wait, but at least that showed it wasn’t being defrosted and microwaved!
..and it gave me a chance to enjoy my Guinness (note to the Menu designer – there are two Ns in Guinness!)
When the lamb arrived, we weren’t disappointed! The supplied carving knife and fork was redundant as just the thought of what was on offer seemed to allow the meat to fall off the bone! The joint itself was massive and could have easily served four or even more!
The food experience was excellent, but as the place filled-up, we were soon flanked on both sides by two groups of ‘young things’ celebrating their respective birthdays – and, maybe not surprisingly, the noise level increased dramatically! At first, we thought that it was just us four being ‘boring old fruits’, but this was more than loud, it was deafening! – and so much so, we couldn’t hear each other across the table. We soon realised that it was simply the acoustics of the restaurant, combined with a very low ceiling. It slightly ‘took the edge’ of the evening, and we skipped dessert and coffee because of the challenge to converse (in truth, we were stuffed anyway, so maybe, for the sake of our health, not a bad thing).
We said our extended good-byes in the car-park and headed home. It had been a great evening – a chance to catch-up with some long-known friends, a perfect drive on some lovely Rutland roads and a good meal too! We love the English Summer!!!
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Today we discussed the layout of a typical keyboard and the subtle differences between different laptop manufacturers. We also looked at the benefits of using the virtual keyboard built-in to Windows 10.
Wow! This was a good one – and I definitely think I’ll re-watch it! Another creepy episode (more than just scary) with twists and turns at every point. It seemed to start quite slowly, but then I learned it’s the first of a three-parter, so I can’t wait until next week’s episode.
For me, this was Who at its best (but I’ll save ‘half-a-star’ in case there’s even better to come!)