Deliriously Whimsical

Tynley Hall – sweet memories from our Wedding night.

Author Philippa Gregory has me caught in a deliriously whimsical state of mind with dreams of roaming the English countryside and visiting National Trust properties and other country homes. But this isn’t one of those ‘grass is greener’ / I’m feeling home-sick posts. I simply love British history and reflecting on so many wonderful places I’ve visited in my youth. My passion for history evolved from my parents love of the British countryside. Many a Sunday was spent walking, combined with an historical angle of interest and pub stop for lunch. In addition, I was fortunate to have the most dramatic, engaging history teacher. She literally brought the Tudors and Stuarts alive in the classroom and I studied that period with a passion at G.C.S.E. I considered going on to do A-level history on that period, but choose Modern History instead. Again, I had the good fortune of passionate teachers and studied some gruesome and painful episodes of European history in the 19th and 20th centuries.

But back to the nostalgia for roaming National Trust properties and the ancient byways, which criss-cross over Britain’s landscape. Next time we visit we shall definitely be making a few pit-stops at some of my favourite haunts. Though we have no concrete plans to visit, at this stage, we are thinking of traveling before baby number three gets too mobile. I’d preferably like to fly before the messy introduction of solids too, as exclusive breast-feeding saves us having to carry a whole lot of paraphernalia, but we’ll survive if necessary (equipped with several changes of clothing for us all!).

The last time we lived in England was back in 1998. We lived in Hampshire for a year and I had the good fortune of working in Winchester, one of England’s most beautiful cities, packed with historic buildings and tranquil green spaces. My lunch times were spent walking past the magnificent Cathedral, hearing the choir boys singing, and meandering down to the River Itchen. I worked for Hampshire County Council and part of my job involved organising civic events in The Great Hall, ‘The first and finest of all 13th century halls, with the greatest symbol of medieval mythology, The Round Table of King Arthur‘. The weight of history was with me wherever I walked.

There is something so overwhelming about walking footpaths or through buildings that have stood for centuries and seen so much history. My senses are always heightened and my heart feels the beat of those that have walked before me. One of my favourite places to visit was The Vyne, in Hampshire, which was visited by Henry VIII on at least three occasions. And I’ll never forget visiting Hampton Court in Herefordshire, with the maze of a thousand yews, with a gothic tower at its centre, particularly memorable.

Ah well, tis late now. Book and bed beckon. We’ve all been feeling a little off colour this past week or so with colds and both girls have had days at home to recharge. It is just as well I have a good book to keep me amused! Wideacre here I come!

    ‘Wideacre Hall, set in the heart of the English countryside, is the ancestral home that Beatrice Lacey loves. But as a woman of the 18th century, she has no right of inheritance. Corrupted by a world that mistreats women, she sets out to corrupt others.’

Wideacre is full of Beatrice Lacey’s passion for the land and descriptive passages of seasons changing. It is those passages that have really stirred me, particularly as I think of England now entering the beautiful colours of autumnal leaves, whilst we welcome the blooms of spring.

From our garden:

I wasn’t sure if any would make it, as I’d sent the girls out with a bag of bulbs each to ‘try their luck’. There is no formal pattern to their planting, which kind of adds to the magic or where they will flower next!