Thursday, 19 October 2017

Basildon Park Inside


Thanks for popping in.

Basildon Park, one of the National Trust's beautiful houses, had created a charming atmosphere for my visit, as well as for others too of course.  Everything throughout the rooms was set out for 'Dinner at 8'.  It sounded rather glamorous and indeed it was.

The first thing that struck you was that instead of entering via  the outside stairs to the reception room, we were ushered into the door on the ground floor and visited rooms in the reverse direction to usual, which felt a bit odd in a not knowing where I am sort of way.

The 1950s kitchen was the first room and I always find something that reminds me of my childhood on the shelves.

Then we were up the stairs, passing a painting of the Park before the additions were built, to the bedroom floor.

Each room had its curtains drawn, cutting out those draughts and making the place feel cosy, and with the lights on. Do forgive my subdued photos taken without the flash.

Items of period clothing ready to be worn to the dinner were on show.

The shells in the shell room took on different colours in the artificial light.

Given room to shine, was the Coromandel screen, picked up by Lady Iliffe in a country house auction.

Descending the stairs into the hall with the Grand piano, the rooms on the ground floor looked so atmospheric as music came from the old fashioned wind-up record players.  All the gold bits twinkled in the chandelier light.

The table was all ready for the guests.  I was beginning to feel quite hungry and could just imagine the chatter and laughter as everyone waited in anticipation of the splendours conjured up by the chef this time.

The library looked so inviting too.

Painted by Graham Sutherland, who was a friend of the family. The Sutherland Room has many other paintings.

As I left for my carriage, my last peek was at the golden glints from the reception ceiling.

I was surprised to find it was so light outside and those glamorous days were just a figment of my imagination .


Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Basildon Park Outside


Thanks for popping in.

At the back of NT Basildon Park, is a beautiful, well-manicured garden set in a landscape full of wooded hills.

Usually, cows graze on the grass  in the fields beyond the garden wall but at the moment they have bern replaced by diggers busy preparing the ground for a new heating system.  Once the work is done, it will be returned to normal.  The notice below was quite interesting explaining how the heating will work.

The roses were still doing well, enhanced by the rosehips all bobbling about in the wind.

There was an art exhibition in one of the rooms accessed through a courtyard.  This column looked interesting, especially as you could look inside.

Not quite what you'd expect. The exhibition displayed a selection of Grand Tour paintings from the collection of Sir Brinsley Ford next to furniture beloning to Lady Iliffe which complemented each other well.

The Autumn shades looked beautiful next to the golden stonework.

Heading back on to the road, who could fail to be charmed by the statues on the gate.


Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Meeting the Legend


Thanks for popping in.

I've stopped for a cup of tea and a cheese scone at the restaurant at Basildon Park.  The courtyard door was just open wide enough to give the glimpse of a gorgeous garden.

To the right, the door leads to the restaurant proper, with its murals on the walls.

Suitably refreshed I was off exploring.  I've been here before and have mentioned it on the blog but you may also have heard about this wonderful property from Amy at Love Made My Home as she volunteers here. It was great, as the day I visited, was the day that she was there.  It was so nice to meet the legend in person and see that she was just the same as I expected her to be.  Over the last three years, I've thoroughly enjoyed reading her blog and joining in with Five on Friday, as have many of you have too and I'm glad to report that she was looking well although a bit surprised to see me! Ha!

All the best to you, Amy, with all your projects and many thanks for all that blogging inspiration, so nice to see you and your shawls.

Next time we'll have a peek around.


Monday, 16 October 2017

Public Transport


Thanks for calling in.

Do you use public transport or do you jump in the car?  Walking or using the train or the bus requires a whole new philosophy on life.  You have to plan ahead if you have appointments to keep or a schedule but if you have a free day, you can just go with the flow and if you miss your train or bus, you can just get the next one, relax, don't fret.  Of course it's useful to have a book, a crossword or a woolly project with you for those in between moments.

There's a camaraderie at the bus stop, people always have something to say about the state of the new building work, traffic, Christmas in the shops already! As you hurtle round the roads, you have a bird's eye view. Time to enjoy those beautiful Autumn trees.

My train journey to Basildon Park required a half hour walk to the station - there's no room to park at the station any longer,too many cars, and a train to Reading. At Reading, there's time to enjoy the new station structure, time to go down and up and down again to the next platform. Ooops!  Time to peruse Hotel Chocolate's new Halloween stock and try a free bat. Then we're off to Pangbourne alongside the river. Little boats bobbling about outside the window, glorious countryside abounds.

You can walk from Pangbourne station to the National Trust property Basildon Park, it takes half an hour but there is a pavement all the way apart from a few yards.  The Swan pub by the weir looks a pretty place to stop.

Passing the black and white buildings with their pretty gardens on the other side of the road to them by the river, you reach Child Beale, an animal park.

Crossing over the railway on the bridge, you know you've just got to walk up the hill and round the corner and you'll be there. They are building a brick and flint wall at the moment, so interesting to see their work as we go by.

Of course you'll have to do it all, again in reverse on the homeward trip.  Walking along, the wind gusting, sycamore helicopters whizzing all around, it seems shorter on the way back.

Back on the train but breaking my journey at Reading gave me the chance to scoot round the new art exhibition at the museum - Critic as Artist.

Most importantly of all though, there's time for another caramel and chocolate cornett at Tutti Frutti on the station concourse before heading off again on the last train.  Well, you have to support homemade enterprises don't you!

Ahhh another enjoyable trip.


Friday, 13 October 2017



Thanks for popping in.

The weather has been fairly mild for the last couple of weeks and despite having to sweep up a compost bag full of leaves each day for a week, the leaves on the trees are hanging on here now, eeking out the rest of the Autumn days before the cold sets in.  We have been bombarded by acorns and chestnuts though as they thud onto the roof or the car and I've collected two of those squashy plastic garden carriers (purple) full of those.

Flowers are going strong here and there.

The eucomis seeds are ready and are surprisingly easy to grow.

The end of the garden has had a good tidy up, holly and rhododendrons have been pruned, sticks chopped up ready to light the stove.

Mr CK is planning to paint the fence with a coloured wood stain soon. Exciting.

Have a good weekend.