Return to Canon’s Ashby

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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.

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