Spring Day Out – National Trust Grey’s Court 

We had another fab day out to make the most of our NT membership, this time to Grey’s Court near Henley on Thames. I’d heard about its fabulous spring gardens along with a lovely mansion house and Japanese bridge. I’m a big fan of Spring gardens and hubby loves anything Japenese, so I thought, perfect match really.

It was a little overcast and trying to rain when we first arrived so decided to head straight into the mansion house.

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The mansion is a 16th Century building with 20th Century additions. It was still lived in by the family until 2003, apparently Lady Brunner could be seen cooking in the kitchen as visitors walked through, but she was always ready for a little chat.

There are some fantastic examples of 18th-century plasterwork ceilings.

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There were signs saying no mobiles or photography, which I do consider rather archaic with today’s social media etc, so I did take a couple of discreet shots, but had to be guarded about it.

The views from the windows of the stunning gardens and surrounding parkland were spectacular.

I love to see the old stone mullions around the windows.

and some fantastic stain glass windows too.

There were plenty of rooms open to have a browse around but I didn’t take too many photos in-case I annoyed someone!

The kitchen however was a throw back to the 1960s, and I was quite taken with the style.

It was clearly a well used and well loved family kitchen. A couple of NT volunteers were baking scones in the kitchen so the sights and smells made us quite peckish.

Fortunately for us their onsite teashop, The Cowshed, a modern well stocked NT cafe was the next stop on our visit.

cowshed tearoom Refreshed we headed into the gardens to see all the spring flowers, we were not disappointed with the variety of plants in flower already.

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There were a series of walled gardens, each one giving a different look and feel.

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Feeling energetic, we thought we’d embark on the Estate walk, which was marked as 1 3/4 miles, however un-beknown to us quite a lot of the walk was incredibly muddy due to the recent rains, undeterred we ploughed on and it certainly would’ve been a lovely walk if it had been dry.

img_7072To round off our visit we took the short walk to the moon bridge, A gorgeous japanese bridge.

Another fantastic day out, we’ll be back in the summer to see how the summer gardens look.

Do pop back to see how we get on

Sarah  x

My 72 perennials have arrived!

Just in time for the Easter weekend and my special offer perennials have arrived, those of you who regularly follow my blog know that I am very impulsive over buying plants. When a Thompson and Morgan email hit my in box with a one day special, 72 perennials for £9.99 I couldn’t resist.

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So today they finally arrived, little plug plants a mere 2 or 3 cm tall with with great potential to be full grown flowering plants by the summer.

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All the plants are great for adding lots of summer colour, year on year, to attract insects particularly bees.

My first job was a quick trip to the garden centre to buy multipurpose compost as I ran out only yesterday! Not really looking forward to the prospects of a garden centre on a rainy Easter Saturday, I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t actually too busy.

Back home and straight to the greenhouse to start potting on. I tend to use pots with 6 or 10 cells and at this stage put a couple of plugs in each cell. This is for 2 reasons, mainly because I run out of space if I have too many pots, but also it uses less compost at this stage and if the plants get too big before the summer, I can always divide them again before planting them out.

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Lovely rich multipurpose compost, put into the cells and watered well ready to receive the plugs.

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I use a dibber to make just the correct sized hole, which means the plug drops in beautifully without too much fuss.

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Once in, press the compost around the plug and onto the next, only 71 more to go…..

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An hour or so later all 72 are potted on, with labels added and another good watering done. Now just to check on them daily, watering when needed (every day) and hey presto by May 1/2 term we’ll be ready to plant them out in the garden.

I’ll let you know how I get on……

Sarah x

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Easter holiday – Art Exhibitions not to be missed

I love my job of being a teacher, inspiring and motivating young people to be interested in my subject. Encouraging them to do well in the examinations they take and even to take my subject at university or for a job.

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But of course what I also love is the long school holidays and the freedoms you get knowing you get long substantial breaks from work.

The Easter holiday is approaching with only a week or so left at school and I know the days running up to the break will be long and tiring, finishing off the syllabus for the exam classes and writing reports and collecting target data on all I teach, but I am already making plans for how to spend the 3 1/2 weeks off.

Unusually we are not going away this break, ordinarily we would have a week in a warm country just to relax and rejuvenate a little. This year however we have decided to stay at home and enjoy day trips (with occasional nights in B&B) to enjoy what is around us.

One outing we have planned is a day trip to London. For those who follow my blog know how easy it is for us to take the train. Since they’ve opened the new Oxford Parkway station it takes us straight into London Marylebone in just under 1hr.

I have two exhibitions I would like to attend,

Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse

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Which is being held at the Royal Academy of Arts

and also

Vogue 100 – A Century of Style

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Being held at the National Portrait Gallery

What is brilliant about this is both exhibitions are walking distance from one another and in the Jermyn Street, Saville Row area which are one of husbands favourite places to visit.

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I’m so looking forward to going, I’ll let you know how I get on……..

Sarah

A Spring visit to Upton House – A 1940s vintage gem

The 1940s is one of my favourite eras for its styles, in homes and fashion. So to find out that one of our local National Trust houses has been staged in that style meant a visit was an absolute must.

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The house was the country home to one of the great merchant bank families of London, Lord and Lady Bearsted of M. Samuel & Co. (Heir to the Shell fortune) When war broke out in London and there was a great risk to his art and assets in London. he moved the bank and all its staff to the Warwickshire village to be based at Upton House. the National Trust have homed in on this period of the house’s history to recreate the scenes of the era.

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It is very cleverly crafted and gives a genuine view of the era. Of course with the 1940s providing such inspiration for current vintage trends of homes and fashion, this recreation of the era is very much ‘en vogue’

img_6990 Combined with this is the winter garden walk around some of the grounds which is alive with spring flowers at the moment.

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As the house tours are booked for set times, we started with the walk around the gardens.

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It was a chilly day but with glorious sunshine which reflected off the honey coloured stone of all the wall and brick work.

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It made a nice change to be able to see the architecture of the buildings and walls whilst the plants and flowers are still fairly dormant.

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The walk included some fairly steep slopes and stairs but it meant the sloping levels opened up some lovely vistas.

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A magnificent cherry blossom was just about in bloom when we visited this weekend which was simply beautiful to see

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We continued our chilly but invigorating walk as it took us back to the house ready for the tour inside.

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We have visited the house before, but at that time they hadn’t staged it in the 1940s theme. I did actually prefer it this time as I did think it accurately portrayed the key time in the house’s history.

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So if you have a real interest in this vintage era and have fairly good mobility, it is definitely worth a visit.

Sarah x