Wednesday, 28 August 2013

In glorious Technicolour

Like most people who have moved house, we are getting to know our new surroundings and nosing out the local attractions of which there are many. Here are pictures from a couple we've just visited while the moths have a rest: Brimstone butterflies on the 70-year-old dahlia bed at Rousham, one of the best William Kent and Charles Bridgeman landscapes in the UK; and wasps at that magnificent pile, Blenheim Palace.

Both are very well run in different ways: Rousham a quietly uncommercial haven with a stupendous walled garden as well as the Arcadia on the steep banks above the river Cherwell; Blenheim a huge tourist attraction but with easily enough room (indoors as well as in the great Capability Brown park) not to feel crowded.  There is a particularly good animated history starring that sturdy character Sarah, first Duchess of Marlborough, who called the place 'mad Vanburgh's lurid dream'.  She had to look after it for years after the death of her husband, mind.

Rousham has an interesting rule of no visitors under 15 which must deny it a lot of custom, including our pending grandchild who won't be able to go until 2028. It is well worth waiting for; the gardens are open every day of the year, with every inch of the grounds available - not a morsel reserved for the resident family's use - and the pleasant instruction when you arrive: 'Bring a picnic, wear comfortable shoes and it is yours for the day.'


Banished To A Pompous Land said...

I must say Martin, that the second photo reminds me of one thing from over there that I don't miss over here, a late summer plagued by untold numbers of wasps! There are lots over here of all sorts including the 'good' old yellow and black vespula called Yellowjackets on this side But even they don't spend their day being plain annoying and trying to get in your outdoor refreshments. They all seem very busy with their own serious business and leave us quite alone.

MartinWainwright said...

Hi there B!

I was going to say 'Lucky You' but on reflection, late summer wasps are an essential part of a traditional English tea...

I'm an advocate of the 'Don't bother them and they won't bother you' school but I have to admit that sometimes they are so numerous and so persistent and so determined to share your jam scone, that you have to start devising decoys, traps and deadly blows with a knife.

This too is rather absorbing (without sounding sadistic) and also a part of the English summer, specially for the ruthless young

all warmest (and it's nice and warm here again, I'm glad to say)