A Return to Mottisfont

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IMG_0965IMG_0924  In a previous post; Endings and Beginnings, I wrote of a rather chilly visit to Mottisfont last December.  It was lovely, even in the depths of winter, and my family were eager to return in the summer, and yesterday, we did just that.

We arrived just before the gardens were due to open as it gets very busy.  Walking boots on, we had a chat with the friendly staff at the entrance before heading straight for the Coach House Cafe for tea and a scone, which set us up nicely for a few enjoyable hours of exploration.

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The flowers had taken a bit of a battering the night before in a thunderstorm but the colours were still strong and the smell of lavender added to overall calm sensation of the gardens.  It was hard to know what not to photograph there was so much to see!  My mum impressed me with her plant knowledge and my brother took inspiration for his patch of garden back home.  I don’t have a garden so it was lovely to wander among the foliage and listen to the birds flitting back and forth overhead; so healing and inspiring.

After the walled garden, we made our way into the house itself, which my brother and I had only seen part of at Christmas.  You could easily spend a good hour or more exploring each of the rooms, which have so much detail; I loved the old wireless radios and cameras.  Returning to the garden we made our way along the river bank and marvelled at the salmon jumping upstream.  It was so peaceful; just the sound of water and the trees, with the occasional splash from the fish.  The route back to the house cuts across some fields which were knee high with grasses either side of the path, and ended up at the circle of trees which I had photographed back in December on a sunny winter’s day.  Unfortunately, although much warmer yesterday, it wasn’t sunny, so I couldn’t re-create the shot.  However, I tried to do so with as many as possible.

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It was lovey to see the gardens in their summer greenery and we’re planning to go back in October in order to see the trees in all their autumnal glory.

If you’d like to visit Mottisfont, here’s a link for more information:

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mottisfont

I visited at my own expense.  All photographs are ©VCUzzell2017

 

 

 

Endings and Beginnings

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The time between Christmas and New Year has always felt a bit odd to me; the main event has passed and now I feel I’m in limbo-land, waiting for everything to get back to normal again after New Year. I sometimes feel a little low as I reflect on another year passed and what I have yet to achieve in life, whilst at the same time feeling eager for the following year to begin so I can hopefully bring some more dreams to fruition.  2016 is certainly a year which many will be glad to see the back of, and for a number of reasons, both personal and global.  As mentioned in my previous post, 2017 is the first of the next nine-year cycle, and therefore it is vital that you get off to a good start.

Over the last few months, as 2016 has come to close, many feelings and situations in my life have also changed or ended. Maybe the same has happened for you.  I’ve already made plans for goals I wish to achieve next year, and am really looking forward to putting them into action.  Have you taken the time to reflect on what dreams you would like to see realised in 2017?  Try to get out and about in nature, especially if it is sunny, and use that as inspiration for your reflections.  I went to a lovely National Trust property today; Mottisfont in Hampshire, for a very cold but enjoyable walk around its house and grounds.  Having felt a little tired and down-hearted when I woke up this morning, I left feeling 100% better after strolling around, camera in hand, marvelling at the trees and winter light casting long shadows across the frost covered grass.  Seeing gardens in winter often makes you appreciate them all the more when you see them again in full summer colours.

It clearly had the desired effect as I’ve come home inspired to write a blog post, something I haven’t done in a while. I’m sure many of you who are reading this may be looking back on this past year with a mixture of emotions, so I suggest a dose of Mother Nature to ease any sadness or melancholy.  It has certainly helped me.

A word on Mottisfont; it became busy quite quickly, so I recommend getting there for when it opens. There are two cafes but they too filled up fast, so you may want to take your own lunch, although I can highly recommend the scones!  The grounds are lovely, even at this time of year.  However, the person who recommended Mottisfont to me said June is the best time to visit because the roses are in full bloom and smell wonderful; so a return trip is a must!  At this time of year, the house is only open on the ground floor but it had been beautifully decorated.  I look forward to seeing more of it on my next visit.

For more details, follow the link below. I visited Mottisfont at my own expense.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mottisfont

Photographs©VCUzzell2016

Stunning Stourhead

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A misty day with drizzle in the air might not inspire a trip to a country house and garden, but that did not deter me and my family as we set off for Stourhead House and Garden this morning. In fact, the weather being a bit ‘iffy’ worked in our favour, as it wasn’t too busy when we arrived and the rain brought the lush greens, browns and reds of the trees to life.  Not only that, but the smell of the dew covered grass and the damp earth was breathed in deeply as we made our way through the tree lined paths, constantly amazed by the view around each corner.

Green is often said to be a healing colour; being immersed in it today I received a good dose of its health giving properties as I strolled along, camera in hand, trying to do justice to the scenery but feeling like I couldn’t quite capture its beauty. Every few minutes my brother and I would stop and go ‘oh wow!’ before experimenting with different angles, framing and trying not to get in the way of one another’s photo.

The house is both interesting and beautiful; the tasteful furniture and numerous paintings are particularly impressive, with each room immaculately arranged and knowledgeable staff on-hand to tell you more about every element of a room. We weren’t able to see everything today, which is brilliant as a return visit in the autumn will be a must!  Having seen Stourhead’s landscape in all its green glory, I can’t wait to see it covered in reds, oranges and yellows.

For more information, follow the link below:

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stourhead

Photographs©VCUzzell2016

I visited Stourhead House and Garden at my own expense.

Relaxation and Minions at Kingston Lacy

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I never tire of Kingston Lacy; in all seasons it has something for the visitor. Rich colours in the autumn, exposed structures of bare trees in the winter, flowers beginning to emerge in spring and the glorious greens of summer.  It was the last of those which I experienced yesterday, as myself and a friend strolled along the paths and through the gardens, welcoming the scent of rhododendrons and freshly cut grass as we waited for the sunlight to filter through the canopy above, to be (hopefully) caught in the lens of our cameras.  Many of the flowers had started to go over, but in the case of alliums, what remained was a beautiful exposed structure where the petals had been.

It was my companion’s first visit to Kingston Lacy and I had the honour of showing her around a place which has become quite familiar to me, and a welcome space to relax and recharge my batteries. The last time I had been there was the weekend after Christmas on a somewhat grey day with plenty of mud to squelch through, so the dry paths and array of colour yesterday was a welcome sight.  We stopped for a delicious slice of lemon drizzle cake in the kitchen garden, and admired the imaginative scarecrows protecting the precious produce growing in the allotments.

Despite having spent four hours strolling and snapping, we still hadn’t covered the whole estate, nor looked round the house. So a return visit is guaranteed!

Photographs©VCUzzell2016

For more information on Kingston Lacy, follow the link below:

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kingston-lacy

I visited Kingston Lacy at my own expense.

Kingston Lacy – a winter walk

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Summer is probably one of the most popular seasons to visit the countryside, but its opposite on the wheel of the year can also be just as rewarding. Winter reveals the structural beauty of woods, with patterns; shapes and forms of the trees come to the fore.  They are also less busy, and you can almost have a place like Kingston Lacy, which is just outside Wimborne in Dorset, all to yourself.

It certainly felt that way as myself and my family arrived there this morning in light drizzle, wondering if we’d done the right thing in venturing out, but decided we might as well make the most of it, and we were glad we had because the grounds were much quieter than in the height of tourist season; and although the house itself was only open on the ground floor due to the time of year, it was the woodland around it which most interested us, so we didn’t mind.

If you’re going to visit during the winter months, or even after plenty of rain, beware as the paths through the woods can be very muddy in places, making accessibility for some difficult. However, the walk around the grounds, which include the woods, Japanese garden and Kitchen garden, is generally level and easy going.  It took us about an hour and a half, but we didn’t rush and took photos along the way.

There’s a good café and toilets at the start, in addition to a kiosk and more facilities for a comfort break near the Kitchen garden and allotments. There’s also a National Trust shop and a few further buildings to explore, which have changing displays according to the season.  The house itself is lovely, and well worth taking your time over.  As it was low season, it had been shuttered-up, and the statues which surround it were also covered.  So if you want to appreciate the building at its best, then wait for the spring.

Being among the various browns and deep greens this morning, with leaves mulching under foot; the damp smell of the earth filling the air, was just what I needed to continue re-charging my batteries ahead of the coming year.

For more information follow the link below:

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kingston-lacy

Photographs©VCUzzell2015